Previous abstract Next abstract
NF/ observatory is a automatic robotic telescope (.45 meter F4.5 newtonian) with a packet radio link to Silver City, NM. The elevation is 5800 feet and the skies are very dark, located over 120 miles from a metropolitan center. The observatory was completely robotic in 1992 and is presently producing approximately 10,000 images per year. The camera is a Ford-JPL 1024x124 CCD, originally developed for the CRAF-Cassini Mission. The nightly observation list is determined in advance and compiled in the ATIS (automatic telescope instruction set) format. The ATIS file can be updated by radio, as needed, to modify the target list. Direct Internet links are in development.
Current projects include: A. BL Lac objects for Hubble Space Telescope, Looking at the Hydrogen Alpha Forest -- Hydrogen Cloud study (Recent Observation on Hubble June 5, 1994.) J. Stocke - U of Colorado Principal Investigator B. Asteroid lightcurves and pole orientations 1. Minor Planet Bulletin (5 recent publications) includes joint observations with Canary Islands C. Ground Optical Observations of the (LMXB) Sco-X1, to correlate with the X-Ray observations of the CGRO - B. MacNamara - NMSU Principal Investigator D. Image data base for Supernova search in lesser galaxies Bill Wren - McDonald Observatory E. Mira survey for correlation with a VLBA survey of molecular products. F. Nova Survey in M31
Sixteen articles have been published in conjunction with the observatory's activities, including two student papers from Western New Mexico University. When SN 1993J appeared, the telescope was engaged in imaging all the Messier objects, and the telescope fortuitously imaged the SN only a few hours after shock outbreak, and a day before discovery. A complete data set for the first 400 days was recently published.
The design and explanation of the observatory's operation is shown. A selection of images and data samples are presented. Future directions include a desire to upgrade the optics, to increase data quality and range of possible targets.
Monday program listing