The StarTeach Astronomy Education Outreach Team uses two telescopes and a CCD camera to bring students closer to our sky. On this page, you will learn about the equipment used to view the sky and take the photographs shown on the StarTeach Pictures page.
The Meade ETX-90 is a small 3.5 inch scope which has excellent optics and an easy-to-use computer controller. Once the telescope is aligned with one star, so that it knows where it is pointing in the sky, the computer can be used to find any object in a computer catalog. For example, when the user simply punches in “GO TO M33”, the telescope automatically moves to the Andromeda Galaxy. This makes the telescope a perfect option to use in visits to schools and star parties. The following photograph is courtesy of Meade.
The Celestron CG-11 is a big yet portable 11 inch scope that is used by the University of Nevada, Reno Astronomy Outreach Program. This telescope offers amazingly detailed views of the planets and faint nebulae and galaxies. After aligning with the North Star and another star, the computer control device can be used to find any object in the sky. Visit Celestron to learn more about this great scope!
The SBIG ST-6 CCD camera is the instrument used to take photographs you can find on the StarTeach Pictures page. A CCD camera, or charge-coupled device, is a detector that uses a photo-sensitive silicon chip made of an array of pixels that absorb light. The photons gathered by the pixels during an exposure are converted into electrons, so that a charge proportional to the amount of light hitting the detector is recorded and transformed into a light image on the computer screen. CCD cameras are much more sensitive to light than cameras with regular film. Visit the Santa Barbara Instrument Group for more information about CCD cameras.