Published September 13, 2015

Observe the moon

First-ever public viewing with Trubeck Telescope is Sept. 19
Monmouth College will host its first-ever public viewing at the new Adolphson Observatory on Sept. 19 from 7 to 9 p.m., in conjunction with International Observe the Moon Night.   Weather permitting, the family-friendly event will feature detailed viewing of the moon, and the college’s new 20-inch Trubeck Telescope will also be pointed to other celestial objects. The public is asked to use the main south entrance of the Center for the Science and Business, and Monmouth students will then provide an escort to the observatory, which is located on the building’s rooftop.   The 20-inch Corrected Dall-Kirkham (CDK) Astrograph telescope “is an observatory-class instrument,” said Monmouth physics professor Chris Fasano, “which is highly uncommon for undergraduate students to have access to.”   About twice as bright and with the similar magnifying power, the Trubeck Telescope compares well with the 20-inch reflector telescope at the venerable Doane Observatory at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium. Adaptive optics on its camera – which are not conceptually different from the Keck telescopes in Hawaii – make it even more powerful than comparable 20-inch telescopes.   “It’s really a way to look back in time,” said Fasano. “For example, we can take a detailed look at the Sculptor Galaxy, which is 11.4 million light years away. It’s part of the nearest group of galaxies to our Milky Way, and is going through a fascinating period of star formation. To view this object is to see it as it was 11.4 million years ago.”   The telescope is powerful enough that the distant objects it observes won’t simply appear as tiny dots to the user. Rather, a distant galaxy could fill the screen, making it easy to observe its fascinating features, such as spiral arms.   The Trubeck Telescope is one of many new scientific research devices acquired by the college, including an atomic force microscope and a neutron generator.
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