More Observation Time for NAU at Lowell Observatory’s Discovery Channel Telescope
Northern Arizona University has
become a formal partner in Lowell Observatory’s Discovery Channel Telescope. The five-year partnership, beginning January
2014, will give NAU astronomers about 80 nights of observation time. The
telescope, commissioned in July 2013, is the fifth largest in the continental
“This represents an important
regional partnership and is a huge boost for our astronomy program,” said NAU
President John Haeger, who
signed the documents along with observatory trustee Lowell Putnam.
Tegler, Chair of Physics and Astronomy at
NAU, will have his first opportunity to use the telescope in February. He and NAU Associate Professor David Trilling,
who has viewing time scheduled for January, will search the Kuiper Belt at the
periphery of the solar system. The large-aperture telescope is ideal for
producing excellent images of faint objects.
“The Discovery Channel Telescope provides an
entirely new research capability for us,” Tegler said. “Most astronomers in the
United States will get a couple of nights per year on a telescope this size.
There are not many universities that have this kind of access.”
Tegler said that in addition to observation time to search the heavens, the partnership opens new opportunities
for hands-on teaching, which he called a highlight of NAU’s approach to science
education. “The way you become a scientist is by apprenticeship,” he said.
“When students see they have access to this kind of facility, that’s a very big
The telescope is located about 40
miles southeast of Flagstaff at Lowell Observatory’s Happy Jack site.
--courtesy of NAU Public Affairs