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T.J. Balonek (Colgate Univ.)
Colgate University's Foggy Bottom Observatory on-campus 16-inch telescope (equipped with a CCD) has been utilized by faculty and undergraduate students for seventeen years to study the optical variability of quasars and stars. The observatory is used for research projects on more than one hundred nights per year, despite being located in a region (central New York) with poor climatic conditions and quickly changing sky conditions. The observatory's location, at the edge of and above the campus and small town, provides an easily accessible dark site. We devote most of the observing time to imaging the fields of variable objects for photometric monitoring, with the aim of achieving both good time resolution and long term coverage of program objects. With a flexible observing program, we can quickly respond to requests for supporting observations of any object brighter than about 17th magnitude. The major photometry projects have included: monitoring two dozen blazars on timescales ranging from minutes to years, detection and monitoring of variable stars in the fields of blazars, transits of the extrasolar planet TrES-1, determining times of minimum and light curve shapes of eclipsing binary stars, rotation curves and astrometry of asteroids, and light curves of extragalactic supernovae. The observing and image calibration - reduction techniques, and problems which we have encountered, will be discussed.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.