Rankin Science Observatory

RSO dome with slit open

The Rankin Science Observatory (RSO), is the instructional facility on the main ASU campus and is used for teaching advanced undergraduate astronomy courses in observational techniques. The RSO is next to the rooftop GoTo Lab Facility, used in the Introductory Astronomy course.


16-Inch Telescope and Dome

The 16” is a DFM Engineering Ritchey–Chrétien design It is equipped with an Apogee (Andor), Alta U47 with a 10242 13 x 13-micron pixel E2V CCD, also with high-cooling. It has a DFM FW-82 filter wheel that has 8 positions with 2” filters, Johnson-Cousins U, B, V, RC, IC, Luminance, clear, park (plug). MaxIm DL controls the camera and filter wheel, Software Bisques’ program, The Sky, controls the telescope. A spectrograph, designed by Dr. Richard Gray and built in the College of Arts and Sciences machine shop, has been used for instruction in the spectroscopy techniques class.

rso dome

Shown at left is the Observa-Dome on the Rankin South building. The dome and 16-inch telescope were provided by a grant from the National Science Foundation, which has also funded instrumentaton and modifications that allow the facility to be used remotely.

This dome and its telescope are primarily used by students in an advanced courses in Observational Astronomy and technique courses in photometry and spectroscopy. Its non-student use time is often applied toward research projects by faculty and their students.