Telescopes and Equipment

16" Boller & Chivens Dome Telescope

16in RC The dome telescope is a 16" Cassegrain reflector with Ritchey-Chretien optics, which means it has hyperbolic mirrors, instead of the traditional parabolic. This is the same kind of optics used in the Hubble Space Telescope and 10m Keck telescopes. This instrument has an unusually long focal length, which leads to a narrow field of view.
  • Type: Ritchey Chrétien
  • Diameter (primary): 16"
  • Diameter (secondary): 4"
  • Focal length: 7879mm (estimated)
  • Focal ratio: f/19.4
  • 50mm eyepiece: 158 power / 17' field of view
  • 25mm eyepiece: 315 power / 13' field of view


12" 1942 Reflector

This is the original dome telescope, which appeared on the cover of the October of 1942 issue of Sky and Telescope. It was built by the physics department's instrument maker, Otto Rasmussen. After the arrival of the current dome telescope it was used scarcely, and fell completely out of use in the 90s. In 2007, Rob Reeves rewired the electrical connections to the motor, and it can now be used once again.
  • Type: Newtonian Reflector
  • Focal length: 1651mm
  • Focal ratio: f/5.4


5" 1883 Byrne Refractor

This telescope is a historic brass refractor bearing the signature of telescope maker John Byrne - 1883.  According to some records found at the library and online,  the RAS had several telescopes donated in the 1940s.( see "Reports of Observations", Astronomical Journal)  One was a 5 1/4" refractor given by Mr. Gabriel R. Solomon '02 around 1942. It is believed that this is the Byrne refractor we have today.  Mr. Solomon was a distinguished graduate, a professional engineer and businessman.

As far as John Byrne himself, he started as an apprentice of telescope maker Henry Fitz in 1847 and worked with him until Fitz's death in 1863. He then began making Byrne signed telescopes.  Earlier telescopes were f 15, and the later models were an innovation in being f9 to f10.5. A 5 inch Byrne similar to this one was used by the well know astronomer Edward Barnard to discover several comets.  Also, George Hale's second telescope was a 4" Byrne refractor. Hale went on to found the Yerkes, Mount Wilson, and Palomar observatories. This instrument is currently in a state of disrepair. It is missing its original pier mount and some elements of the focuser. It is hoped that is can be restored into working order.  (brief bio on Byrne)

More pictures: (taken by Michael Cantore)



SBIG Camera This CCD camera is used in conjunction with the 16" telescope and computer system to take electronic images. An SBIG filter wheel attachment has RGB filters to allow for color images as well as an Oxygen III and Hydrogen Alpha emission filter to help imaging of nebula and reduce noise from light pollution and other sources. Download the manual.
  • ST-8E chip: 1530 by 1020, 9 micron pixels
  • ST-8E plate scale: 0.2356"/pixel
  • ST-8E field of view: 6' by 4'

Starlight Express MX-5C CCD Camera

This is a single shot color CCD camera, which was was in production in the early 90s.

Meade LDX55 6"

Meade Telescope Electronic Control System The RAS invested in this Schmidt-Newtonian telescope in 2005. The Schmidt-Newtonian design is catadioptric, which means it incorporates both lenses and mirrors. The telescope comes with the Autostar Dual-Axis Electronic Control System (seen at right), which can automatically locate over 30,000 database objects. For more information, see the Meade website or download the manual.
  • Type: Schmidt Newtonian Reflector
  • Focal length: 762mm
  • Focal ratio: f/5


Meade Celestron CPC 1100 GPS 11"

Celestron 11-inch This is an excellent wide-aperture Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, which is also catadioptric. It has a built in GPS locator to simplify aligning and will automatically attempt go to either 1, 2, or 3 stars for alignment. Slight corrections by the user at each star perfect the alignment. Similar to the Meade Autostar, it has a "Nextstar" controller which can locate 40,000 objects from its database. Download the manual
  • Type: Schmidt-Cassegrain Reflector
  • Diameter: 11"
  • Central obstruction: 3.75"
  • Focal length: 2800mm
  • Focal ratio: f/10


Meade 6"

This is a high end Newtonian reflector, on a polar mount. It is believed this instrument has the best optics in terms of resolving power. It is a great scope for star hopping.
  • Type: Newtonian Reflector
  • Focal length: 1220mm
  • Focal ratio: f/8


SolarMax 60 Solar Telescope

The club decided to buy this solar telescope in the spring of 2009, and it arrived Fall of 2009. The SolarMax 60 is a dedicated hydrogen alpha solar telescope which allows for views of surface granulation (convection cells), sunspots, and real-time solar flare activity, including prominences, spicules, and loops. A small tuner knob allows for control of the bandwidth of the hydrogen alpha filter etalon. Larger bandwidths allow for easier views of solar flares, as the hydrogen alpha line is redshifted and blueshifted depending on the velocity of the gas. Smaller bandwidths allow for better views of surface features. With a standard bandwidth range between 5-7A, this telescope strikes a healthy balance between the two. This telescope is similar to the popular Personal Solar Telescope (PST), but has a larger aperture (60mm instead of 40mm) and smaller bandwidth (<.7A instead of <1A).
  • Type: Refractor w/ single stack Hydrogen Alpha filter
  • Diameter: 60mm
  • Focal length: 400mm
  • Focal ratio: f/6.6
  • Bandwidth: <0.7 A

Orion ShortTube 80mm

This is a small portable refractor telescope used for solar observing with a basic energy rejection filter. Energy rejection filters only allow for viewing of sunspots and limb darkening, but are also very useful during transit and eclipse events.

  • Type: Refractor
  • Diameter: 3"
  • Focal length: 400mm
  • Focal ratio: f/5

Homemade 13" Reflector

This is an home made reflector which is in need of repair. It features a home-made Dobison mount for ease of use and portability.
  • Focal length: ??
  • Focal ratio: ??


Meade LX200 EMC

This is another polar-mounted telescope, with electronic motion control.
  • Type: Catadioptric (Schmidt-Cassegrain)
  • Diameter: 8"
  • Focal length: 2000mm
  • Focal ratio: f/10

Meade ETX-125

This telescope comes from a well known line of small amateur telescopes.
  • Type: Catadioptric (Maksutov-Cassegrain)
  • Diameter: 5"
  • Focal length: 1900mm
  • Focal ratio: f/15