The Observatory has four permanently mounted telescopes on site, and a collection of 12 portable telescopes used both on and off site. Open House events make use of the permanently mounted telescopes profiled below.
8" NASA Refractor
Built in the 1960's and installed in 1970, this telescope is an astrographic camera and was donated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA used it for observing the first man-made satellites put into orbit around Earth. When it became obsolete for their purposes they donated it to our observatory. While here, it has been used for the photographic determination of precise positions of asteroids, observations of comets, and wide field photography. Since the advent of large CCDs, it has become nearly impossible to obtain large astronomical glass photographic plates, so the telescope is currently used for wide-field visual observation of the Moon, the Pleiades, and other large, bright objects.
7" Astro-Physics Refractor
This favorite among Open House visitors was returned to the observatory in July 1998 after a new lens was made for it by the kind folks at Astro-Physics. It was originally donated to our observatory by Marty Cohen of Company 7. He wanted to provide us with a telescope that would offer great views of night sky objects even with our bad seeing. It offers brilliantly clear and crisp images of planets, star clusters and other moderately bright objects.
Celestron 14" Schmidt-Cassegrain Reflector
This telescope was purchased in 1983 by the Astronomy Department's Dr. Michael A'Hearn for use in asteroid occultation studies. The telescope, together with a high speed photometer and a timing reference, became a portable asteroid occultation observing system. For many years this system was used together with several similar portable systems to observe predicted asteroid occultations around the world. The C-14 is currently on loan from Dr. A'Hearn's group to the Astronomy Observatory for use in the Astronomy observing courses and for the public Open House.
20" Eichner Bent Cassegrain Reflector
Completed and installed in 1964, this telescope was designed by the late Dr. Uco van Wijk of the Astronomy Department and specially built by L. C. Eichner of New Jersey. The funding for this telescope came from the aid of a grant for instructional scientific equipment from the National Science Foundation. It was designed large and heavy as an instrument development telescope. Many heavy instruments were designed here at the University of Maryland and tested out on this telescope before they were shipped out to be used in places around the world. Company 7 of Laurel refurbished the telescope in 2000-2001 under a grant procured by Dr. Sylvain Veilleux of the Astronomy Department.