The AstroLab is a 3rd year option of our Physics & Astronomy and Physics degrees in which students undertake projects in observational astronomy using the four telescopes (DRACO2, East-14, Far-East-16 and West-14) on the Physics building roof and our remotely operated 0.5m telescope (pt5m) on La Palma.
Students undertake a variety of projects which range from the tracking of near-earth asteroids to the measurement of Hubble's constant via the study of supernovae. All projects focus on the dynamical nature of the universe. Since 1993 over 900,000 CCD images have been taken on our four undergraduate telescopes for project work. Over 300 different minor planets and comets have been observed.
East-14 and West-14 are in the 10' domes on the Physics building roof above the main entrance. DRACO2 (6' dome) and Far-East-16 (15' dome) are located at the east end of the roof. These telescopes are controlled via a set of Python scripts running on workstations running Fedora and allow remote/robotic operation.
Our first remote/robotic facility, DRACO, was commissioned in 2002. This consisted of a 10-inch Meade LX200 housed in a TI RoboDome. After ten years of highly successful service, and with over 57,000 images taken, DRACO was decommissioned in 2012. The replacement DRACO2 (aka Scorpius) (14-inch Meade in a 6' dome from TI) was commissioned in September 2013.
We have a part share in a 0.5m telescope on La Palma which is queue-scheduled to provide data for student projects.