The Telescopes

The collection of telescopes at the Stull Observatory has been described as one of the best for teaching anywhere. All told, we have 8 independently housed telescopes ranging in size from 6 to 32 inches, as well as several smaller instruments used as finders and guiders

Most of the names given our telescopes reflect important connections with and contributions to our observatory.

Details of the Individual Telescopes

The Fitz 9 inch refractor

Our oldest, most historic telescope, the Fitz was purchased by Alfred University in 1863. Built by the American optician, Henry Fitz (hence its name), it is a nine inch, f/13 refractor. Originally housed in the Rogers Observatory formerly near the heart of the Alfred University campus, it was mothballed for decades and then rediscovered and put back to use in the late 1950's and early 1960's. The orginal wooden tube was badly damaged during the instrument's "lost years" and was replaced with a metal one at that time. Used for our public nights as well as our introductory labs, it remains a fine telescope for the study of planets, double stars and bright clusters.


The Hunt, Schwartz and "Baby Dome" 8 inch Schmidt-Cassegrains

Named for he late Lee and Mary Hunt, friends of the Observatory, the Hunt telescope is an 8-inch Celestron Nexstar Schmidt-cassegrain. It is a "goto" instrument, meaning that it is computer controlled, having a hand paddle by which one can direct it to "go to" a particular location in the sky or to any one of a long list of particular objects. It is used for sudent projects and for general viewing.

The "Schwartz" is an 8-inch "Fastar" Schmidt-cassegrain with a dual focal system, having an f/2 prime focus (from which FASTar) and a standard f/10 cassegrain focus. It has its own small CCD, wbich is used mostly in the f/2 focus. This instrument is named for Richard K. Schwartz, the late president of SBIG, manufacturer of most of our CCDs.

The "Babydome” contains an 8-inch Schmidt-cassegrain equipped with a Daystar H-alpha filter for monitoring solar flares using a high-speed video technique.


The Alden 16 inch Ritchey-Chretien

The "Alden", a 16-inch f/8 DFM Ritchey-Chretien, is our only large commercially-made telescope. It has its own computer control/data acquisition computer and can be operated over the Internet. It is named for the Alden Foundation. Piggy-backed on it is another H-alpha equipped telescope for solar observing. This system has been used by high school and middle school students in the region, via remote control.


The "Rich" Rose 6 inch Solar Heliostat

On the "mezzanine" of the Alden building is the "Rose" 6-inch f/15, located on a folded "siderostat" mount so that the viewing eyepiece is stationary. It is primarily used for visual observations of the Sun via projection of huge white-light images on a projector screen. It can also be used for H alpha observations. It is named for M. Richard Rose, former President of Alfred Universty and friend of the Observatory.


The Olson-Grindle 16 inch Telescope

The Olson-Grindle 16-inch telescope is the result of mounting the optics of the former Ealing cassegrain Grindle telescope and the mount of the former Olson 14-inch telescope. It is customarily used as a newtonian f/3.2 instrument, but by interchanging secondary mirrors it can also be used as an f/11 classical cassegrain. It is particularly useful because of its wide field and also has a wide-field 6-inch finder. This instrument was named for Paul D. Grindle, president of the Ealing Corporation, and I.E."Ole" Olson, late president of Ash Manufacturing, the maker of all our domes. This dome was a present from Ole.


The Metzger 20 inch Newtonian Reflector

Named for a local artist and amateur astronomer who was active in the re-establishment of the Observatory, the Metzger is a 20 inch f/5.5 Newtonian reflector. It is the largest of the telescopes regularly used by our introductory astronomy lab.


The Austin-Fellows 32 inch Newtonian Reflector

This is our largest telescope, at 32 (and 1/4 !) inches, at f/4. It is computer-controlled from a warmroom in one corner of the dome and includes an automated filter wheel and focusser as well as the option for various CCD's. It is used by upper-level students as well as faculty for more advanced projects and research. Its name recognizes both the contributions of Austin Grindle, late general manager of Harvard Instruments, and those of all Alfred University faculty and staff who have died since the re-establishment of the Observatory in 1966.


The Weaver Radio Telescope

We have a CassiCorp SRT radio telescope, which we have named in honor of the late J. Scott Weaver, Professor of Geology, avid amateur astronomer and radio hobbyist. This modest radio astronomy facility includes a two meter dish, a 21 cm detector, tracking apparatus and computerized data collection. With it we can detect the Sun, the Crab Nebula, the galactic center and spiral arms and other bright cosmic sources.


As this is being written a project is underway to provide computer-generated position readouts for the Metzger and Olson-Grindle telescopes. This is the first step in a plan to provide these telescopes with full computer control.



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