Students Soon To Get A Better Look At The Stars
For students at Miami Dade College’s North Campus, the sky is not the limit.
The College recently acquired two 800-pound MEADE LX400-ACF reflective telescopes that cost approximately $35,000 each. The equipment was funded by grants.
One of the telescopes will be on the rooftop observatory, the other in the courtyard. The astrological technology will be used by students in the chemistry, physics and earth sciences department at the Science Complex. After professors and faculty have been fully trained to use them, the telescopes will be showcased for community events.
“[This technology] opens a lot of opportunities for learning,” said Alberto Ruiz, 19, a physics major at North Campus who will be using the telescopes. “There are lots of pictures in the textbooks, but actually seeing what you’re learning brings a whole other experience to the course.”
Each telescope has a 20-inch lens, a built-in GPS system and cameras that take photos of outer space. They can also spin in any direction, be controlled through a computer and they can be programmed and set to broadcast images on the Web.
The telescopes are so advanced that during the day, when stars cannot be seen, the craters and movement of the moon are clearly visible.
The manufacturer, MEADE, has two types of telescopes, amateur and research-based.
In the past, MDC has only had amateur telescopes.
The new telescopes sit on the cusp of both; they are amateur as well as research-based.
Using the old telescopes, you can see a comet, but you can’t see the tail. The new telescopes allow you to see the comet and identify the gases it gives off.
“The definition of this telescope goes beyond anything you can imagine," said Juan Catala, physics professor at North Campus. “This is the best telescope of its kind; the amount of detail is unbelievable.”
According to Michael M. Boulos, chairperson of the chemistry, physics and earth sciences department at North Campus; the goal of the telescopes is to educate the community as much as possible about space.
Boulos envisions introducing the equipment to middle and high school students.
“We want to start science early and keep [people] hooked,” Boulos said.
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