Abstract by Gilvan Apolonio
Physics and Astronomy
Upgrading the 0.5-meter Telescope at the BYU West Mountain Observatory
The 0.5-meter telescope at the BYU West Mountain Observatory has been upgraded recently. The optical system was moved from a German equatorial mount to an equatorial fork. The drive controller was replaced a with new system that is compatible with current control and data acquisition software. It also received a large format CCD camera, micro step focuser, filter wheel, mirror cleaning, and new mirror covers. A full polar alignment is proceeding, and an automatic dome control is being developed. Software features like Closed Loop Slew will improve target acquisition and enable guiding corrections that maintain objects in a fixed position on the CCD. This improves the data signal/noise ratio and photometric precision so that the upgraded system will be suitable for long exposures and lengthy time series sequences making it ideal for any class of time series observations.