The University of Western Australia has named the 1m DFM telescope after Jim Zadko, who made a generous donation toward its acquisition.
Once the Zadko telescope was installed at the Gingin Observatory in early 2008, it was acclaimed as the largest telescope in Western Australia.
It remains the largest telescope available for professional astronomical research and public access in the Southern Hemisphere.
Its main science objective was to find and analyze the most violent explosions in the universe - gamma ray bursts - which herald the death of stars and the formation of black holes. The Zadko telescope also contributes in the search for near-earth asteroids.
The discoveries and research have been fruitful, arousing interest in robotic astronomy and physics. This newfound interest is exactly what was intended.
Recent high profile events in space have increased awareness and curiosity of the general public as well as stimulating the amateur and professional astronomer.
Events like the total Lunar Eclipse in December 2011, the Solar Eclipse in November 2012, the near-Earth Asteroid 2012 DA14 sweep (closer than the geosynchronous satellites), and the annual meteor showers, the Quadrantids, have generated a flurry of interest from astronomers.
The most recent X4.9 giant solar flare in February 2014 and its possible geomagnetic storm ramifications are of particular interest to researchers and scientists who collect and study data to determine if Earth is in any imminent danger from those flares or any corresponding coronal mass ejection.
The overall popularity of the 1m telescope has been enhanced by the recent upgrade of the observatory building which has been optimized for rapid response imaging of astronomical transients.
In celebration of the 1m (Zadko) DFM Engineering telescope installation anniversary, Professor Tim de Zeeuw, Director General of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), will discuss the ESO's current programs, the telescopes that make discoveries possible and upcoming projects.
Dr. Zeeuw will also discuss some of the most significant astronomical discoveries of recent times, including the super massive black hole at the centre of our galaxy, the most distant gamma-ray burst, the Earth-like planet Gliese 581c and the most distant galaxy ever seen by humans.
The University of Western Australia is the base or contributing source for multiple international astronomy projects that are actively engaged in research. These organizations and projects include NASA, the Australian International Gravitational Observatory (AIGO), the Square Kilometer Array Pathfinders (SKAP) and the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).
The Zadko at the University of Western Australia was manufactured and installed by DFM Engineering and it is the featured telescope used in many of these various international astronomy research projects.
The Zadko 1m telescope is an equatorial fork mounted Cassegrain with a primary mirror aperture of 1m and focal length of 4m. The telescope has an effective focal ratio F/4.
“Quality optics remain one of the most, if not the most critical component of a research grade telescope,” said Dr. Melsheimer of DFM Engineering. Please review “Ritchey-Chrétien Telescope Optics” by Dr. Frank Melsheimer for a complete study of the quest for perfect optics, and a discussion on field correctors.
For more information about the criteria for telescope gearing including a discussion of comparative drive technologies, please see "Telescope Gearing", by Dr. Melsheimer.
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