THE GRENFELL OBSERVATORY
Inside the 6-metre aluminum dome of the Grenfell Campus Observatory, which is visible from all over the city, there is a precision-made reflecting telescope. At the heart of the telescope, designed and built by DFM Engineering of Colorado, lies a 60 cm (24") mirror with almost 10,000 times the light-gathering ability of the human eye. The faint light from distant objects such as galaxies will be collected in this "light-bucket", then focused through an eyepiece for direct viewing or into instruments for analysis.
The telescope is used primarily as a research and teaching resource for physics and astronomy faculty, staff and students, however community outreach programs are also an important part of its mandate. Public tours and observing nights are scheduled, as well as remote-observing programs for provincial schools, and astronomy and physics-themed "camps" for high school students - such as the SNAP camp for Level II students held in the spring.
The telescope is fully computer-controlled with tracking motors on an equatorial mount to compensate for the motion of the Earth, allowing it to maintain objects in its field of view. Within the dome, an 11 cm refracting telescope and articulated relay eyepiece (ARE) can accommodate the viewing public of all sizes and abilities.
A small solar telescope, piggybacked on the main telescope, allows safe viewing of the Sun during the daytime. Sunspots and beautiful prominences along the Sun's limb are revealed through the special solar filter.
A separate "warm room" allows observers to point the telescope and control its instruments - such as the high-performance Apogee U6 fan-cooled CCD imager - from relative comfort.
A display area in the vestibule of the observatory is open to the public during the day. Displays and posters will change often. Now in the display case:
- "The Exploration of Mars" and
- "Telescopes: Sensing the Universe with Different Eyes".
The astronomical research group at Grenfell will use the instrument to study galaxies, star clusters, variable stars, supernovae, asteroids, and extra-solar planets.
The telescope was installed in October of 2011 and was officially opened in May of 2012. See how the observatory came together on our Building page.
For more information, see our FAQ page, or contact Dr. Doug Forbes, the Observatory Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.