Observing Facilities and Equipment

Luther College maintains an observing platform atop Valders, the Luther College science building. We are grateful to the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust for their support of major upgrades to our observing facilities (Grant # 00-50).

Rooftop Observatory
The observing deck atop Valders is used for classes, public observing, special observing sessions with groups and undergraduate research. The 19¼' x 18½' facility has five permanently mounted telescopes—two 12” f/10 Meade LX200s, two 8” f/10 Meade LX200s and a 16” diameter f/10 Meade LX200. The observing area is fully covered by a motor-driven retractable roof provided by Schwab Company of Winona, Minnesota.  Be sure to follow the rooftop observatory link to find a video clip of the motorized roof in action.

Our observing facilities are supported by a wide array of instrumentation. We mention only some of it here. We use five CCD cameras— a Meade 216XT, a Meade 416XTE, a Meade 1616XT , an SBIG STL-1001E and an Apogee grade 1 AP6E. We use BVRI filters from Custom Scientific. A student-constructed fiber optic spectrograph is available for research studies. A variety of barlow lenses, focal reducers and eyepieces are available for use. Each telescope is equipped with a Kendrick electric dew removal system. These dew zappers have proven to be an invaluable observatory component.