College of Santa Barbara, CA, has been planning a major expansion and remodel of the Carroll Observatory
for many years.
The dedication of the original observatory was in 1957 and housed a 16.5" reflector telescope which
was made and donated by George Carroll. The original telescope was equipped for spectroscopic and position
measurements and the facility has been used primarily for night sky viewing through the eyepiece; however,
the drive mechanism and optical components in the telescope made it inadequate for use in high-resolution
CCD camera imaging.
Westmont will retire its original telescope and replace it with a 24 inch F/8 Ritchey-Chretien Cassegrain
telescope manufactured and installed by DFM Engineering, Inc.
"You can expect quality optics, a superior
telescope fork mount and a state of the art telescope control
system (TCS) in all DFM telescopes," said Dr.
Frank Melsheimer, president of DFM Engineering.
DFM Engineering technicians
offer expertise in observatory and dome requirements as well as quality optics, telescope mounts, and state
of the art telescope control systems. Complete installation and calibrating is also performed by the DFM
The new DFM CCT-24" features more than twice the light-gathering power of the old telescope and
nearly twice the resolving power. In the remodeled observatory, the new computer-controlled telescope will
have a much more stable mount to take extended exposure imaging and photography. The telescope is currently
under construction and is expected to be installed later this year.
"This telescope will be a magnet for astronomy enthusiasts around Santa Barbara and the South Coast," says
Dr. Michael Sommermann, Professor of Physics. "It will become a focal point for astronomical research
by faculty and students in areas such as the photometry of variable stars, minor planet observations and
much more. Westmont College serves as one of the observing sites for the Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit.
research-grade telescope meets one of Westmont's funding priorities: improving the quality of science facilities
and equipment. The arrival of the new instrument contributes to the evolution of the physics department
into physics and astronomy program.
"We are ready to take another step forward in science education at Westmont," says President
Stan D. Gaede.
"Not only will the telescope provide a valuable resource for our general education curriculum, but
it offers an opportunity to transform our very fine Physics Department into a physics and astronomy program."
Thanks to the $740,000 project, faculty and students will conduct astronomical research and the observatory
will be open for monthly public viewing. The W. M.
Keck Foundation awarded Westmont a $300,000 grant for the telescope last year. The James
L. Stamps Foundation also gave $90,000 for the project. College officials have raised the remaining
Telescope Control System (TCS)