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.