Institute of Technology (FIT) in Melbourne has been planning a major expansion for many years. The F.W.
Olin Physical Sciences Center, dedicated in January of 2005, is the new home to the Chemistry Department,
the Dean's office for the College of Science and his staff, and most recently, the Physics & Space
A variety of programs benefit from the nearly 70,000 sq. ft. three story facility, including astronomy,
atmospheric sciences, multiple physics and chemistry disciplines and molecular spectroscopy in addition
to two large multi-use lecture/demonstration classrooms.
A grant from
the National Science Foundation for research instrumentation
helped fund the 32 Classical Cassegrain telescope which will be manufactured by DFM Engineering and
will be installed on top of the recently completed F. W. Olin Physical Sciences Center. Originally the
request was for a 24 telescope, but a $150,000 gift from an anonymous Brevard County donor will enable
FIT to increase the size request from a 24
to a 32 Classical Cassegrain telescope.
Now, with the states largest telescope and our leadership position in the Southeastern
Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA) and resources at Kitt
Peak National Observatory in Arizona, FIT is uniquely positioned as a national leader in astronomy
and space sciences,
said Dr. Terry Oswalt, vice provost for research and professor of physics and space sciences.
SARA is a consortium of six southeastern USA universities, many of which currently house a DFM telescope.
SARAs mission is to foster astronomical research and education. SARA hosts a Research Experience
for Undergraduates (REU) which is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense.
This highly motivated team of educators, scientists and researchers recognize the need for a quality telescope
to ensure the most productive research possible.
For FIT, the 32 telescope offers an increase of eight inches in diameter, and in the case
of telescopes, bigger really is better. The additional eight inches will allow us to collect
nearly twice the amount of light, said Dr. Matt Wood, professor of space sciences. Wood added
that the increased size will allow faculty and students access to twice the number of objects
in space as a 24 telescope.
Dr. Frank Melsheimer, of DFM Engineering,
worked closely with Dr. Matt Wood and Dr. Terry Oswalt at FITs Department of Physics and Space
Sciences through the various stages of planning and development of the observatory which will house
the new DFM 32
Classical Cassegrain telescope. DFM Engineering is planning installation of the telescope in
the fall of 2006.
Only the highest quality optics are implemented
in every DFM telescope as they are an extremely critical element of our system, said Dr. Melsheimer.
The superior fork mount and state of the art telescope control
system (TCS) are also standard in DFMs telescopes.
We provide more than just a telescope, we provide advice based upon decades of experience, design
services, hardware, and software for the complete observatory, said Dr. Melsheimer.