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Research suggestions

double star moon observatory planet sketching astrometry
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#1 driveelectric


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Posted 24 January 2021 - 05:40 PM

At Willis Observatory we have the Lunt 152 and PlaneWave20, which are considered research grade telescopes. I am looking for information on the types of research that might be conducted on our Lunt 152 and PlaneWave20 especially, but also research that might be conducted on our Astro-Physics 175, Astro-Physics 140, and Takahashi 300.


We offer free admission to the observatory to students, teachers, and artists in four counties. We have 2 PHD's on our staff, one of whom is responsible for outreach to universities. While students may have their own research interests, we wanted to have suggestions available for research on all our scopes.


Thank you for your help,



#2 TxStars



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Posted 24 January 2021 - 06:01 PM

Here are just a couple to look into.

Asteroid recovery 

Comet recovery

Variable star magnitude curves

Exoplanet orbital periods

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#3 Astrojensen


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Posted 24 January 2021 - 06:02 PM

More important than the telescopes themselves are perhaps what auxiliary equipment you've got for them. Cameras? Eyepieces? Spectroscopes? What mounts are they on? How dark are the skies? How stable is the seeing, usually?


There's literally hundreds of possible projects you could undertake. 



Clear skies!

Thomas, Denmark

#4 Keith Rivich

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Posted 24 January 2021 - 06:44 PM

Nice set up! Wish I was close to you. 


On top of what TXStar suggest:


Supernova hunt.  


I'll amend "asteroid recovery" to asteroid discovery. New ones are still to be found (though getting more difficult as the years go on)

On the same theme tracking near earth asteroids.

Astrometry on rockets launched to establish there initial trajectory.

Hunt for dwarf planets (ours, not theirs)

Monitor lensed quasars to establish distance (light timing difference between the lensed components)

#5 KiwiObserver



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Posted 27 January 2021 - 10:03 PM

I think an exciting thing to look at would be wide-field, ultra deep imaging of the extended stellar distributions around galaxies and within galaxy groups. There has been a bit of work already doing this with small telescopes.


Such images can reveal faint/diffuse dwarf galaxies and extended remnants of old galaxy mergers and interactions. This could be used to look at things like dwarf galaxy mass functions and distributions around galaxies of different types and masses in different environments, which is important for models of galaxy evolution and for testing the lambda-CDM model. Such projects are difficult to do on larger telescopes because of their smaller field of views. 

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