Here you see students preparing for their observation session. Each student has previously registered for telescope time prior to their arrival. If the weather cooperates then they can make their observations. If not they experience the frustration of any astronomer when the clouds prevent observing.
Students have access to a variety of telescopes. The first required observation is a visual observation. The student must observe an object and draw what is seen. This method was the first used to collect astronomical data and is important to give the student an historical perspective regarding astronomy data collection.
The second required observation is to photograph a celestial object. This technique was historically the second method used to collect astronomical data. Students use a projection technique or "piggy back" the camera to the telescope, depending on the object and field of view needed.
The final of three required observations is data collected with a CCD camera. This brings the student to the "state of the art" in astronomy data collection. The students' use the 14" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. This instrument is located within the dome and is operated remotely from the control room.
The student area is also available as a place to "hang out" and study in small groups. A small collection of astronomical video tapes are stored here. Internet connected computers are available for student use. These computers also are used by the students for image processing of their CCD images.