DFM Engineering, Inc.
1035 Delaware Ave. Unit D
Longmont, CO 80501
Phone: 303-678-8143
Fax: 303-772-9411

Westmont College Installation


A new DFM 24-inch computer controlled telescope was installed into Westmont College’s Carroll Observatory in Santa Barbara, California in late April 2007.

For the past 50 years, Westmont has been using a 16-inch telescope and now, with the new powerful DFM research-grade telescope, Westmont College is taking another step forward in science education and transforming the physics department.

It features more than twice the light-gathering power of the old one and nearly twice the resolution.

“The telescope will be a magnet for astronomy enthusiasts around Santa Barbara and the South Coast,” says Michael Sommermann, a Westmont physics professor.

“It will become a focal point for astronomical research by faculty and students in areas such as the photometry of variable stars, minor planet observations, and much more.”

Photo: Mark Kelley, Justus Drake guide the pedestal thru the dome slit.


Westmont physics professors Ken Kihlstrom, Warren Rogers, and Michael Sommermann collaborated with Dr. Frank Melsheimer.

Mark Kelley of DFM Engineering in Colorado, fine tuned the powerful F/8 Cassegrain instrument with Ritchey-Chrétien optics.


The DFM installation team consisted of Mark S. Kelley, Don Groff and Justus Drake. They coordinated with the Westmont faculty and staff and got oriented at the Carroll Observatory location.

The Carroll Observatory had recently undergone a major remodel for the new computer-controlled telescope.

It was a pleasure to work in the modern observatory facilities.

After carefully planning the lifts with the crane driver and the campus engineer, the actual lifts and placement of the large telescope parts were accomplished with ease.

Assembly and installation of the new telescope was efficient since DFM thoroughly assembled and tested the telescope before shipping it to Westmont.

On site reassembly was routine.

Photo: Don Groff guides the pedestal into position on the pier.

After the telescope optice were installed in the mirror cells, the DFM team proceeded with adjustments to the primary drives and the testing of all peripheral instrumentation.

The final testing phase began with finding focus in the main optics and alignment of the finder telescope.

A data set was taken which allowed the DFM team to determine the residual Azimuth and Elevation misalignments which were mechanically removed.

DFM demonstrated RMS pointing of better than 12 arc seconds, and confirmed the tracking performance of the telescope.

The expert installation by the DFM team and cooperation from the Wesmont College staff proved to be very successful.

CCT-24 Telescope

Telescope Control System TCSGalil™