The current telescope is a research-grade 0.41m (16″) instrument with f/8 Ritchey-Chretien optics obtained from DFM Engineering in Longmont, Colorado. It was the result of a successful 1992 NSF ILI grant, and saw first light in the Spring of 1993.
The telescope is computer controlled from a computer located in a Hall of Science warm room. This computer is accessible from the dome, and can also be linked to a separate dome PC running The Sky software. This program produces a computer skymap for any time and date, and by clicking on a particular celestial object, the telescope will slew to view that object. Readout information for the dome position is also fed to the computer which then ensures that the dome opening will automatically rotate in front of the telescope aperture.
A Santa Barbara Instrument Group (SBIG) ST-1001E large format, megapixel CCD camera is mounted to the telescope via a custom DFM Filter Wheel (FW-82) module containing six rotatable filters and eyepiece. The ST-1001E camera uses a Kodak KAF-1001E “Blue-Plus” Enhanced CCD chip with an array of 1024 x 1024 pixels, 24 micron-square pixels, a 180,000 electron full-well capacity, and a typical dark current of less than 1e-/pixel/second at -25 C. The camera head is thermoelectrically cooled and regulated to operate at a temperature of -40 C. The camera is controlled via CCDSoft software on the dome computer. Mounted on the telescope, images of approximately 25 x 25 minutes of arc are possible. Images acquired by the dome computer are transferred via a local area network to a separate image analysis computer in the warm room. Mira AP image processing software is used.