Astronomical research at campus-based observatories is undergoing a rebirth, thanks in part to CCD detectors and other multichannel devices aimed at reducing the effect of atmospheric variation. The SFA Observatory is employing a two-pronged approach to this problem and attracting many students, both graduate and undergraduate, to astronomical research. Our aim is not to train professional astronomers, but to expose our students to the process of scientific research. The 46-cm telescope uses a Photometrics, Ltd. Star-1 CCD camera and a CompuScope filter wheel as the primary instrument. This paper reports on three projects recently completed on this telescope. The aim here is to allow students to sample the full range of areal photometer. Projects include: 1. Color-magnitude diagrams of open clusters; 2. Variable star photometry of a newly discovered eclipsing binary in M29; and 3. Tri-color overlays of the Ring Nebula. The 104-cm telescope uses a three-channel photometer based on the UT-Austin design of Ed Nather. Our implementation is computerized so that undergraduates or terminal masters' degree graduate students can operate the system with minimal training. The W Serpentis binaries are being monitored in an effort to detail the complex modes of variation in these interesting systems.
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 1996