College in central Kentucky features a Boller and Chivens
16" telescope that has been retrofitted by DFM Engineering,
According to Dr. Smith Powell, Physics professor at Berea,
"We can identify an object displayed on the control screen,
select it, and the telescope and dome will slew into position
so that the object appears in the eyepiece of the telescope.
The telescope and dome will continue to track to keep the
The new system tracks better and the telescope points quicker
and better than before. We are very excited about our new
research capabilities, here at Berea."
The Charles Martin Hall Science Building has also been made
ready for the computer controlled dome and the retrofitted
B&C 16" research grade telescope to provide the Physics
Department with the necessary technology of today. The Gilbert
Roberts Observatory in the Science Building was recently renovated.
original control system and electronics were over forty years
old and were in need of replacement," said Dr. Frank
Melsheimer of DFM Engineering. DFM technicians, Mark Kelley,
Vice President of Engineering and Ian Huss, Production Manager
are experts in retrofitting older telescopes and performed
the telescope retrofitting and computer upgrades.
They removed the old right ascension and declination secondary
drives. They replaced the secondary gearing and installed
a single DC servo motor per axis. The telescope was recollimated
and a pointing model was obtained.
DFM's Telescope Control System computer and software were
added, offering automatic dome control features to the Berea
College campus observatory.
The Berea Physics Department's telescope, which now has
extensive exploratory capabilities, is capable of being controlled
from anywhere in the world.
system is operating and the observatory continues to host
its open house schedule which started four years ago.
"In addition to the students, staff and public use
of the new facilities, there will be development in the research
project fields," Dr. Powell said.
Already, students have expressed an interest in using the
telescope with its new capabilities for senior research projects.
New faculty are incorporating the telescope into research
and relevant curriculum.
"The impact of the telescope update and observatory
improvements is very encouraging," said Dr. Powell.