AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 151 Instruments for Small College Observatories
Poster, Thursday, January 13, 2005, 9:20am-4:00pm, Exhibit Hall

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[151.01] The University of Montana's Blue Mountain Observatory

D.B. Friend (U. Montana)

The University of Montana's Department of Physics and Astronomy runs the state of Montana's only professional astronomical observatory. The Observatory, located on nearby Blue Mountain, houses a 16 inch Boller and Chivens Cassegrain reflector (purchased in 1970), in an Ash dome. The Observatory sits just below the summit ridge, at an elevation of approximately 6300 feet. Our instrumentation includes an Op-Tec SSP-5A photoelectric photometer and an SBIG ST-9E CCD camera. We have the only undergraduate astronomy major in the state (technically a physics major with an astronomy option), so our Observatory is an important component of our students' education. Students have recently carried out observing projects on the photometry of variable stars and color photometry of open clusters and OB associations. In my poster I will show some of the data collected by students in their observing projects. The Observatory is also used for public open houses during the summer months, and these have become very popular: at times we have had 300 visitors in a single night.

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