SOCORRO, N.M., February 1, 2001 -- A state-of-the-art astronomical instrument valued at slightly over $746,000 recently was donated to New Mexico Tech for educational and scientific studies conducted at the university's Langmuir Research Site, located atop the nearby Magdalena Mountains.
Graham W. Flint, president and CEO of Photera Technologies, recently gave Tech one of his company's "Sky Image 2000.0," a telescopic 36-inch astrocamera system complete with coated lenses, equatorial mounts, tracking and alignment systems, and associated filter and shutter assemblies.
The donated Sky Image 2000.0, designed and constructed under the direction of Flint, previously was used to produce photographic charts featured in a best-selling full sky atlas for
amateur and professional astronomers.
"This particular telescope is optimized for making sky atlas photographs," says Dave Westpfahl, professor of astrophysics at New Mexico Tech. "It will be used to make three-color separation images of the Milky Way to provide a state-of-the-art color atlas of our own galaxy. It is anticipated that the atlas eventually will be produced in mural form."
Now that it has been donated to New Mexico Tech, the astrocamera system will not have to be transported very far: the primary observation site employed during the instrument's sky survey project was at Tech's Joint Observatory for Cometary Research on South Baldy Peak, atop the Magdalena Mountains.