Kitt Peak National Observatory - Photo by P. Marenfeld (NOAO/AURA/NSF)
Valparaiso University is a member of the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA), a consortium of ten universities that operates a 0.9-meter (36-inch) telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory (see image above). Kitt Peak is located about 40 miles west of Tucson, Arizona. Read the official university press release here.
The SARA telescope is operated over the internet from the VU campus. The remote operation capability allows astronomy faculty and students to use the telescope year-round, even while classes are in session, without causing a major disruption to their schedules. Faculty and students also take special opportunity to travel to Kitt Peak and observe on-site.
Last year, the consortium also opened another telescope in the southern hemisphere (in the Andes mountains of northern Chile). This telescope will is also remotely operable. Both telescopes are used routinely by astronomy faculty and students.
More information on the consortium and telescope may be found by going to the SARA Consortium homepage or by contacting Prof. Todd Hillwig, the Valparaiso University representative to the SARA Board of Directors.
Membership in SARA provides exciting opportunities for the students and faculty in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
Valparaiso University's participation in the SARA consortium is supported in part by the Indiana Space Grant Consortium.