News - New Computerized Telescope Extends Student Learning

New Computerized Telescope Extends Student Learning

New Computerized Telescope Extends Student Learning

Earlier this spring, the Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences celebrated the purchase of a new 11-inch Celestron telescope for use in astronomy courses. The telescope is one of Greenville College’s first major equipment purchases for the study of astronomy.

The science division tapped a major equipment fund to purchase the computerized telescope and a Canon camera designed specially for astrophotography. The equipment will play a significant role in the Planets and Stars course, a general education physics class that many non-science majors take. The division will also develop an elective course for physics majors that focuses on astrophotography.

“The new scope allows us to do a lot more with photography of celestial objects, like planets, moons, galaxies and nebula,” Astronomy Professor Ray Myers said.

Anyone who has felt inspired to photograph a particularly stunning harvest moon, sun dog or other astronomical event knows that capturing these moments requires skill and good equipment. The new telescope and camera will allow students to photograph objects in deep space, including those that are barely visible through the scope.

Myers explained, “This scope has a database of 10,000 objects, which its computer can track and direct the scope to find for observation and photography. It also has a guide scope system which refines the tracking so that long exposures can be taken, allowing for photography of deep space objects.”


Greenville College students have already begun taking sophisticated photos of the universe. This summer, Elle Shaw and Peter Huston worked with Myers to learn how to set up and operate the equipment during the Greenville College Summer Research Experience (GC-SRE). They took a variety of photos with the equipment.

“Our project mainly consisted of learning how the new telescope operated and it's capabilities. We spent a lot of time learning about astrophotography, taking pictures with the telescope and brainstorming how we can best utilize the new telescope in the Planets and Stars course,” Shaw said

The science division offers Planets and Stars every semester. The course includes an evening lab each week. Students explore questions about the sun and solar system, and become familiar with night sky observation, star maps, the constellations and basic telescope operation.

You can hear from Shaw and Huston talk about their GC-SRE project and learn more about the new telescope at the Student Summer Research Symposium during Homecoming 2013.

This story was published on September 09, 2013

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