The Chart House

The main building, the Chart House, contains a wide variety of equipment including Questar telescopes, a heliostat, an astronomy specific library, and digital imaging workstations.

As far as our course work is concerned, the most important pieces of equipment are the five 3.5" Questar telescopes. These portable, reflecting telescopes are used by introductory astronomy students to learn how to work a telescope.

The Chart House also contains a solar telescope called a heliostat which uses mirrors outside the building to direct the light of the sun through a hole in the wall of the Chart House. The sun light goes through a refracting telescope and then gets projected back onto a piece of paper where the whole class can view the sun simultaneously. We have used the telescope to keep track of sun spots and track prominences and solar flares. We also have a comprehensive library to help us find the information we need in order to locate celestial objects, do research on the object or do research on the technique we are using. The most helpful books we use are the Astronomical Almanac and the Observer's Handbook. These books are updated every year and give relevant information on all types of celestial objects and events throughout the year.

Computer programs can also be used to track down similar information. Software Bisque's theSky is a useful planetarium program to find out what is in the sky on a given date and time. It is also used to make very detailed star charts.

MaxImDL is the software to support and operate the CCD camera. Finally, the Chart House has a Harkness classroom with laptops for editing and analyzing digital images.