Telescope Portal Print
Written by Jake Fan   

Portal Introduction

Outside: Dome
The observatory, including the dome, the telescope, and their supporting facility, is located on Mt. Locke, 450 miles west of Austin Texas, at the University of Texas' McDonald Observatory. The dome measures 6.1m (20') in diameter and 6.4m (21') in height. The telescope is an existing 77cm (30") RCOS Ritchey-Chrétien telescope to be refitted specifically for the TORRE project. Its primary mirror has a focal length of 229cm (90") and weights 118kg (260 lbs). It will be outfitted with a science grade imaging system equipped with broadband UBVRI filters, narrowband Ha, O III, S II, S III, N II, and Ar III filters, and low resolution transmission gratings. This imaging system will be the primary science instrument of TORRE. In addition, the telescope will be equipped with a low resolution long slit spectrometer and lower grade CCD camera that will be used primarily for undergraduate education.

Inside: Telescope

Once the engineering work is completed and all the necessary hardware and software are in place, the observatory will be remotely operated. This portal will provide a streamlined user interface for remote control functions, including dome and telescope rotation, tracking, focus adjustment, filter selection, remote viewing, astrophotography, and much more.

Other complementary information will also be available, such as an online sky chart and celestial object database, weather forecast and real-time remote weather monitoring at the telescope site. User accounting, scheduling, and security will be an integral part of the interface. Additionally, this portal will serve as the centralized storage space for all scientific and educational data generated by the telescope.

TORRE/McDonald Observatory Clear Sky Chart

Programs will be provided for Houston students in grades 9 through 12, community college students, as well as undergraduates and graduate students at the university level. The professional astronomical community at-large will be able to access the observatory via this portal regardless of geographic location.

Please check back for exciting updates!