– Within a year, a telescope for astronomical research will sit snugly in the observatory dome atop Florida Tech’s new F.W. Olin Physical Science Building.
Acquisition of the 24-inch-diameter instrument was made possible by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant of $347,000. An award condition was that the
university match the amount by 30 percent, making the total cost of purchase and installation almost $496,000.
The university earned the NSF funding for its Rising Star Project, which is directed by Dept. of Physics and Space Sciences faculty members, Dr. Terry
Oswalt and Dr. Matthew Wood.
Also planned for the rooftop observatory, with the Internet-accessible, automated research telescope, will be 15 small, 8-inch instructional telescopes.
They will run via laptop computers.
“We are grateful for the continuing support of the NSF and Florida Tech in our research and educational efforts,” said Oswalt, professor of astronomy. “We
still have many needs to meet in the new building and in the department, and will continue to explore funding opportunities to meet those needs.”
The Department of Physics and Space Sciences is always seeking support for undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships and has some major goals.
These include to build or buy into a telescope south of the equator so that students may explore southern skies, and to fund an endowed chair.
In January the department will begin a monthly astronomy and astrophysics lecture series, open to the community.
The new telescope should be ready by fall 2005.