The Observatory Dome, based at Clifton Campus of NTU, is home to some very special equipment. Inside the dome-shaped building
are three high-tech telescopes that have been specially designed to perform different roles in enabling aspiring astronomers
to monitor and photograph events in outer space.
These facilities are currently being used in student projects and have been the subject of 'open dome' events at the campus.
The observatory is also used for outreach activities involving schools in the local community.
About the telescopes
The telescopes are attached to a special, equatorial mount, that allows them to be moved. The equatorial mount has one of
its axis tilted towards the Pole Star, which counteracts the rotation of the Earth.
The main telescope is a modified Newtonian (500mm Newise). The telescope consists of two mirrors. The main mirror (a concave mirror of 0.5m
in diameter and 2.25m focal length) collects the light and creates an image. The secondary plane mirror reflects the collected
light out of the telescope so that the observer can view the image without standing in front of the telescope.
This telescope is 1.3m long and weighs 42kg.
Attached to the main telescope are two further telescopes. The small finder scope is much smaller and is used to view a larger region of the sky than with the main scope. It is fitted with a cross hair to
point the main scope in the right direction.
The solar telescope (SV-50 Solarview 50mm) is a refractor or telescope using lenses to collect the light. Its light collecting main lens is 50mm
in diameter and has a focal length of 400mm. This optical setup is ideal to observe the Sun. With this scope the Sun is only
observed in a very specific colour, called H alpha, which allows us to see certain detail on the Sun's surface. To achieve
this a set of filters is included in the telescope.