The new telescope is being fabricated at DFM while the observatory and IDEA
Center is being built at the Austin
The IDEA Center is a science building designed for interactive learning and interdisciplinary studies.
It will be a three-story facility including 16 classrooms, 32 advanced laboratory-classrooms, a 108-seat
auditorium, and an observatory.
center will house the departments of biology, chemistry, computer science, environmental studies,
mathematics, and physics.
"Our goal is to make sciences education accessible to all our students to equip them for success
throughout their lives," said President Marjorie Hass. The IDEA Center is the next significant
step in Austin College's current strategy to integrate science and technology into the liberal
arts curriculum and maintain a competitive program.
Dr. David Baker,
Professsor of Physics and Physics Department Chair, is pleased to see the progress of the IDEA Center
Observatory. "The construction progress is exciting! Our new observatory will be equipped with
a state-of-the-art 24" DFM telescope providing a window to the universe."
The telescope, designed and manufactured by DFM Engineering will be equipped with a remote display,
keyboard and mouse for operation in the dome along with remote dome azimuth and shutter control to
allow slaving of the dome to the telescope. These features will provide convenient automated remote
control of the observatory and telescope.
GPS time synchronization feature of the telescope system will offer access to navigation signals
transmitted by orbiting satellites which in turn allows for precise position calculations.
Another component of the new telescope will be the Articulated
Relay Eyepiece (ARE-125™) created by Dr. Frank Melsheimer at DFM Engineering.
The ARE-125™ uses a series of relay lenses and folding mirrors to reposition the telescope
focal plane a considerable distance from the tail piece of the telescope. A person seated in a wheel
chair may simply pick up the eyepiece and bring it to their eye for convenient viewing regardless
of telescope position.
This access to the telescope by a wheelchair bound person fulfills the requirements of the Americans
With Disabilities Act (ADA).
Installation of the 24" telescope is estimated by the DFM team to be in August, 2013.
Austin College officials anticipate the observatory will allow further outreach to the larger community
and school children across North Texas.
Standard 24" Telescope Features
Standard Classical Cassegrain Telescopes
Telescope Control Systems (TCSGalil™)
Control Systems Computer Specs
Articulated Relay Eyepiece™ (ARE-125™)
Observatory Design and Consulting