The H.S. Mendenhall Observatory

The Telescope

A telescope of Ritchey-Chrétien optical design with a 24-inch (0.6-meter) diameter main mirror was built for OSU by Optical Guidance Systems, Inc., and installed the week of February 9-15, 2007. It is the largest, most modern telescope in Oklahoma. It was funded in 2005 by a $231,000 grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research in response to a proposal written by Professor Peter Shull, the observatory director. Its main purposes are to track large asteroids which threaten to collide with Earth, to photometrically discover planets orbiting other stars, and to measure the variable brightness of other objects such as quasars and supernovae.


Preparations for the new telescope, and its installation, are illustrated below.


Cross Section Diagram

This diagram illustrates how the 24-inch telescope fits inside the observatory's dome. (View the diagram at full size.)



June 2006

DC motors with solar backup and electronics for computer-controlled operation of the dome were installed in June 2006.

Interior view of the observatory dome.Exterior view of the observatory dome.



July 2006

In July 2006 the concrete telescope pier was reduced to a height of 36 inches to accommodate the mounting for the new telescope.

The Telescope PierTelescope Pier Construction Photo 1Telescope Pier Construction Photo 2



September 2006

In September 2006 the mounting post for weather sensors was set up, and Vroom Wireless installed the microwave antenna for the internet connection.

Weather Sensor Mounting PostMicrowave Antenna



February 2007

The telescope arrives from the East Coast, and is installed during the week of February 9-15, 2007.

The New Telescope Arrives 1The New Telescope Arrives 2A Crane Lifts The Telescope MountThe Crane Suspends The Telescope Mount Above The Observatory DomeThe Telescope Mount Being Lowered Through The Observatory DomeThe Telescope Mount Being Positioned On The Concrete PierThe Telescope Mount Being Lowered Through The Observatory Dome 2The Telescope Being Attached To The MountThe New TelescopeThe Telescope Control SystemStudents Standing Underneath The New TelescopeThe New Telescope 2The New Telescope 3



April 2008

The telescope's 11-megapixel CCD camera, instrument rotator, focal reducer lens, and slide-mirror eyepiece were installed in April 2008.

The New Camera