The Midtown Observatory sits atop the Science Building on Western's Midtown campus. It is used for classes, undergraduate research and public viewing nights. The Midtown Observatory houses a 14-inch Ritchey-Chrétien telescope on a height-adjustable mounting with a computer-controlled tracking system. An astrocamera, visible and infrared-sensitive photoelectric photometers, a television system and a CCD camera are available for use with this telescope. Two Coronado Solar Max 70 telescopes (H-alpha and Ca II K line wavelengths), an 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector, three 6-inch Schmidt-Newtonian reflectors and several smaller telescopes are also part of the Observatory’s equipment.
The Westside Observatory, located atop a five-acre hill on Western's Westside campus, houses a 20-inch computer controlled Ritchey-Chrétien reflector. This telescope is dedicated to astrophysical research by undergraduate and graduate students and faculty. It is currently equipped with a thermoelectrically cooled CCD camera, which is used to obtain multi-color digital images of planets, faint stars and other deep-sky objects. Two CCD spectrometers are also available to obtain digital spectra at classification-level and higher resolution for celestial objects.
Open nights for special events will be occasionally held at the Westside Observatory. Call (203) 837-8671 for more information.
The WCSU planetarium, located in the Westside Observatory building, seats 40 people; its Spitz A3p star projector, special effects projectors and video projection system are used for teaching and presenting science programs to school and scout groups.
Public nights to view stars and planets take place (weather permitting) on a regular schedule (see http://www.wcsu.edu/starwatch ) during the spring and fall terms.
Astronomical computing is carried out at the Westside Observatory and at the Center for Galactic Astronomy. Students and faculty routinely use software like MaxIm DL (CCD camera control and image processing), Binary Maker (numerical modeling), MICA (ephemerides), TCS (telescope tracking and slewing) and The Sky (star charts and telescope linkage), with many other programs, simulations and databases accessible through the Web.