Telescopes at Maynooth
In Astrophysics at Maynooth University we have several telescopes that are available to the students to make astronomical observations.
10" Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope
The Meade 10" LX200GPS telescope is a Schmidt-Cassegrain type telescope with 10 inch f = 2500 mm (f/10) primary optics. This telescope has outstanding optics and very high magnification. It is computer controlled and mounted in a small dome on the roof of the Science Building at Maynooth University.
12" Dobsonian telescope
The Dobsonian telescope has a 12 inch f = 1830 mm (f/6) primary mirror. It has high light gathering and is most suited for observing fainter astronomical objects. This telescope was designed by the second year students. The optics were manufactured in England, and the telescope was assembled in the machine shop in Experimental Physics.
Other optical telescopes
The department has several smaller telescopes which can be used for observations. These include a Newtonian reflector (4.5" f/8) and a refractor (75mm f/5.3) which were designed by the second year students. We also have a Coronado solar telescope, which has a narrow bandwidth H-alpha filter and is used for observations of the Sun.
The department has two radio telescopes. The first one is an SRT from the MIT Haystack Observatory, which has a 2.2 m diameter dish with an alt-azimuth mount, and a receiver that operates at a frequency of 1.42 GHz. This is the frequency emitted by neutral hydrogen, which is the most abundant element in the universe, and is often referred to as the 21cm Hydrogen line. Observations with this telescope allow us to determine the distribution and velocity of this gas within our own galaxy. It is used primarily by the third-year Astrophysics students as part of their laboratory experiments requirement.
The second radio telescope has a 1.2 m dish and is equipped with a 10-12 GHz receiver. The dish is mounted on a computer controlled alt-azimuth mount. The intended purpose of this dish is to monitor radio emissions from the Sun with a view to detecting the increased emissions associated with flares and solar mass ejections. This telescope and its associated control electronics and software is being developed by fourth-year Astrophysics students in fulfilment of their final-year project requirement.