for new computerized observatory
| Rose-Hulman students will soon be able to use their
laptop computers to remotely control telescopes in a new campus observatory to gather new
information from outer space.
A $500,000 gift from the Oakley Foundation of Terre Haute is making it
possible to build the new observatory on the southeast corner of the Rose-Hulman campus.
The Oakley Observatory will include eight telescopes and computer
equipment housed in an elevated, one-story structure with a retractable roof. The walls of
the building will be high enough to shield the telescopes from stray light and wind.
The new facility will replace an observatory built 38 years ago which
was named in honor of Lynn Reeder, a member of the Rose Poly class of 1915.
Three new telescopes are being purchased and five telescopes will be moved from the
existing observatory. Eight new computers and networking hardware for remote operation
will be housed in the Oakley Observatory.
Preliminary construction work has begun. The new facility will be ready
for use in late spring.
This gift illustrates the Oakley Foundations commitment to
help Rose-Hulman provide the very best education possible to its talented students,
explained Eston Perry, Oakley Foundation Treasurer and Director.
Rose-Hulman is a tremendous community asset. This new observatory
will not only benefit students, Rose-Hulman will also use the observatory as an
educational resource for the entire community, he stated.
Rose-Hulman President Samuel Hulbert said the foundations support
is vital to meeting the increasing educational curiosity and interest faculty and students
have about astronomy.
The activity that will occur in the Oakley Observatory will
result in new information to help us better understand our planet and solar system,
he stated. Itll be an exciting laboratory for our students and others who can
access it via the internet.
Technology will enable students and the general public to use the
observatory without coming to campus, according to Richard Ditteon, professor of physics
and applied optics, and observatory director.
Our goal is to create an internet-based system to enable our
students or anyone interested in astronomy to use their computer to remotely operate one
of the telescopes, Ditteon said.
The system should be operational by late spring, he
Images of asteroids, stars or planets obtained through the
telescopes will be available immediately via the World Wide Web, he said.
The Oakley Observatory will be used by students studying subjects such
as astrophysics, orbit theory and the origins of the solar system. They will study the
orbits of asteroids and the death of stars, Ditteon explained.