The Buller 21-inch (0.5-meter) Visitors' telescope is a Cassegrain reflector manufactured by J.W. Fecker, Inc. in 1950. It is of a classical design, with a fork mount, large setting circles, and glass encased right ascension drive of precision brass gearing. The telescope is named after Reginald Buller who donated the instrument to the SDSU Astronomy Department and MLO to advance popular education in astronomy. It is used in connection with SDSU General Education Astronomy classes and labs, SDSU public outreach events, and students of accredited schools by special arrangement. Approximately 5,500 people look through this telescope every year. The Buller telescope was dedicated on May 22, 1988; it replaced the original 16-inch (0.4-meter) Visitors' telescope manufactured by Nishimura, Inc, which was in use at MLO since 1968.
The Buller telescope provides excellent viewing by eye of the moon, planets, and, on dark nights, faint nebulosities and globular star clusters. This telescope fully exploits Mount Laguna Observatory's steady seeing and dark skies for the benefit of the human eye. Some of our students have used the Buller telescope to make sketches of Mars, Jupiter, and Comet Hale-Bopp during episodes of particularly great seeing conditions. A 35-mm film camera and an SBIG CCD camera are also available for student use.
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