SMIC Private School is excited to announce the re-opening of the SMIC Observatory. Recently, our observatory has been renovated and a new high-quality telescope has been installed. The SMIC telescope is as impressive as it gets for a school telescope, and now our community can marvel at the starry sky together.
This is the first year that SMIC has had its fabulous telescope MEADE LX200-ACF. It’s a reflector telescope, meaning that the light gets focused in it by mirrors. The diameter of the telescope is about 35 centimeters (14 inches) and its focal length is 3.5 meters. This means that we can get magnification from 80 to 300 times, depending on the eyepiece lens that we use. Our telescope is perfect for looking at the Moon and planets.
Our telescope is computerized and programmable. This means we can use a remote control to point it at different planets and stars, lists of which we can modify. We have a high-quality CCD camera to take pictures of the Moon and planets with the telescope and store the photos on computers. We have a solar filter to observe sunspots too.
There is a new mini-course at our school – Astronomy. The students enrolled in the Astronomy mini-course have taken pictures of their favorite craters on the Moon using MEADE telescope and CCD camera with an impressive magnification. They presented their research about the craters at the Science Carnival.
We plan to open the observatory to the rest of the SMIC students before the end of the school year. As long as permission is given by parents, the students can come to the observatory after dark. In April, May, and June, we will be able to see Mercury, Venus, Mars, Uranus, and the Moon. Parents will be invited too.
Astronomy mini-course students took these pictures of lunar craters using our telescope and CCD camera.
Pictures of the Moon taken with a DSLR camera mounted to the telescope
Students taking pictures with the telescope's CCD camera via video capturing software.
All staff have the opportunity to use the observatory as well. Many teachers were present at the grand opening of the SMIC observatory and enjoyed seeing the Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Venus, and Uranus with large magnification. We will definitely have more nighttime sessions for more staff members to check out the observatory and the night sky.
We look forward to stargazing with our dear SMIC community!