DFM Installs a 24" Telescope at Liberty University
The Astronomical Observatory at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, now features a new 24" DFM R-C telescope.
Liberty University is the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation and the largest Christian university in the world.
According to Dr. Roger Schultz, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, the 24-inch telescope will be the largest in the region.
"The Bible says that the Heavens declare the glory of God. Professor Van Eaton has a real commitment to a Christian worldview and just loves how astronomy can be viewed through the lens of Scripture," Schultz said.
The Ritchey Chrétien (R-C) optics in the DFM 24" telescope consist of an F/3 primary mirror with an effective focal ratio of F/8. The 80mm field is fully shielded and unvignetted and the back focus is 28cm from the mounting surface.
The optical tube assembly of the 24" telescope provides for 2 variable, low voltage power outlets for reticles and 2 AC power outlets.
The finder has a 140mm aperture and an 800mm focal length and has an illuminated reticle eyepiece.
The telescope can be equipped with cameras that take enhanced quality digital images or to take long-exposure images, bringing out details that the human eye cannot see.
The tracking accuracy of DFM's 24" telescope is very precise: +/- 0.5 arc seconds in 5 minutes, +/- 5.0 arc seconds in 1 hour.
The pointing accuracy: (with refraction and alignment correction) is better than 30 arc seconds RMS.
The Telescope Control System (TCSGalil™) provides for remote control of the telescope and the observatory dome.
The observatory dome rotates in azimuth following the telescope while the telescope tracks stars and planets.
The telescope fork mount supports a 65kg instrument load with CG 36cm behind the mounting surface. Additional instruments can easily be accommodated as the astronomy programs develop.
The Astronomy Department with its new 24" telescope is specifically designed for Liberty’s 100- and 300-level astronomy courses in conjunction with a 25-seat classroom, which is equipped with a smart board for instructors to display the telescope's images.
It is also available to the recreational student astronomy club for stargazing four nights a week and members of the community will be invited to explore the heavens during select events.
"We are excited that Liberty has provided this facility, complete with top-notch equipment, for the university community," said Dr. Scott Long, associate professor of mathematics. "Now our students will be able to see God's creation from a unique perspective right from our own backyard."
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