The Smith 24-inch (0.6-meter) telescope is an f/20 Cassegrain reflector. The telescope is named after Clifford Smith who founded the SDSU Astronomy Department, and established its degree programs. He was also instrumental in the early development of the Mount Laguna Observatory.
The principal auxiliary instrument for this telescope is a pulse-counting photoelectric photometer, which employs a thermoelectrically cooled Hamamatsu R943-02 GaAs photomultiplier tube. Standard UBVRI, Stromgren 4-color, and DDO filter sets are available. The main research done with this telescope is photometry of variable stars, which includes eclipsing binaries, Cataclysmic Variables, and short-period pulsating variables. A secondary instrument is a thermoelectrically cooled SBIG CCD camera, which can be mounted at the Cassegrain focus. This CCD can also be used with a wide-field aerial camera, which can be mounted piggy-back on the main telescope.
The Smith 24-inch telescope is used approximately 50% of the time by SDSU faculty and students. It is ideally suited to photometric projects that require large amounts of observing time. Many successful Master's Theses have been based upon research done with this telescope. Generous amounts of observing time are also awarded to qualified visiting astronomers from other institutions.
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