Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium

The 1-meter Holcomb Robotic Telescope (HRT)

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The Holcomb Observatory houses a robotic one-meter telescope used for undergraduate astronomy labs and student research projects. Attached to the fully computerized telescope is a wide variety of instrumentation including a large-format CCD and photometric filters. AB Engineering recently completed refurbishment of the telescope and it can now be run robotically and/or remotely via the Internet assuming the remote observer has the proper software. The Software Bisque Suite provides integrated computer control of the telescope, dome, filter wheels, and the CCD cameras. The telescope can track to an accuracy of 2 arcsecond for 2 minutes without guiding.


Manufacturer J.W. Fecker (built 1954)
Primary 0.95m f/4, approximately 13 cm thick, 180 kilograms
Secondary 0.24m, 4X magnification
Optical Design Classical Cassegrain
Overall Focal Ratio f/16
Mount Design Fork-mount Equatorial
Total Weight of Moving Parts 2200 kg

0.15m f/15 refractor (built ~1884)

Telescope Control Software
Software Bisque TheSkyTM (version 5)

Primary CCD Camera
Apogee Alta E6; with Kodak KAF1001E chip (PDF).
Dimensions: 1024 x 1024 pixels, 24.6 x 24.6mm, 24 micron pixel size.
Dark Current, 0.05e- at -25 C, 16-bit A/D, 5.7x5.7 square arc minute field.

CCD Autoguiders
Apogee Alta E2 & STV, STV is also used as a video finder on 6-inch refractor.

Filter Wheels
Optec Inc. Intelligent Filter Wheel (IFW)
Santa Barbara Instruments Group (CFW-8)
Each has Cousins BVRI Filters

Motorized Focuser
Optec Inc. Temperature Compensating Focuser (TCF-S )

CCD/Filter/Wheel/Focuser Control Software
Maxim DL (version 4)

Telescope Pointing Model
Software Bisque TPoint (accurate to 30 arc seconds)

Robotic Control Software
Software Bisque Orchestrate

Control Computer
OptiPlex GX755: Intel Core 2 Duo Processor

24' 6" diameter Ash Dome; 5' 11" slit width

Dome Control Software
Software Bisque Automadome

LAN communication
10 Mbs/sec