June 23, 2012

Astronomy Open House

The 32 inch (0.8m) telescope atop the University of Victoria's Bob Wright Center. This is the telescope we use for our weekly open house on wed nights. In the picture you can see the main telescope itself. The eyepeice is the black tube sticking out the back of it. Above the main telescope there is also a 5 inch (12.5cm) finder telescope. In itself the finder is a very nice telescope, but we rarely use it because the tracking of the main telescope is so accurate.

In the background you can see one of the computer screens we use to control the telescope. That screen has all the vitals of the telescope displayed, and the other has a "map of the sky". The computer is connected to gps so it knows exactly where it is and what time it is, and from that it keeps track of exactly where everything is in the sky. We simply click on whatever we want to look at, and press go.

Since the earth rotates, the stars seem to move through the sky. If a telescope is pointed at something, that thing will slide out of view in just 10s of seconds. This telescope tracks through the sky. It has an incredibly accurate tracking system, the object you are looking at never moves from the exact center of the eyepeice.

The dome covering the telescope has a slit in it which opens so that we can see out. In order to look in all directions, we can rotate the dome all the way around to point the slit in any direction. The telescope is the largest on campus telescope in Canada, and the 5th largest in Canada overall.

At the open house we also have several smaller telescopes on our roof, as well as a projector for looking at pretty pictures of space stuff. We are open every wed night from 9-10 during the summer. We take september off, but then we are back in october 8-10 every wed night. Feel free to come join us rain or shine on the 5th floor of the Bob Wright Center.

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