Department of Physics AstroLab

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AstroLab Home Page

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 a million CCD images have been taken on our 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.


Observing Logs       Weather  1, 2          All-Sky (movie)       All-Sky2



 Lab Information

  AstroLab Aims
  Astrolab People
  Observing Notes
  Astrolab CCD Images
  Data Reduction/Analysis 
  Python Links
  Telephone Numbers
  Local Weather
  Astronomy News
  Finding Objects
  Sun, Moon, Planets
  Useful References
  L1 User's Guide Links
  Webcams: 1,  2,  3,  4
  Odd WebCam Images
  The shortest night 2001
  (animated gif - 6Mb!)
   A perfect day
  (animated gif - 9Mb!)
  NLC 2011-July-10
  Mark's GoPro Movies

2020 Epiphany Term Experiments

(Updated 2020 October 01)
Orbits of Near Earth Objects
Orbits of Main-Belt Asteroids
Asteroid Light Curve
Distance to the Hyades
Exoplanets from Transit Light Curves
A Study of a Pulsating Variable
A Study of an Eclipsing Variable
The Period-Luminosity Relation of Cepheids
Supernovae Monitoring and Discovery
Orbits of Trojan Asteroids
Moons of Uranus
Betelgeuse: a red giant in its final phase
Monitoring Tabby's star
Experiments not run this term
Moons of Jupiter
Moons of Saturn
Orbits and Structure of Comets

Physics Home Page aa 2020-Jan-07