Telescopes and Modern Observatories

A telescope is an optical instrument that gathers and focuses light into a camera, CCD, spectrograph, or an astronomer's eye. Two major types of telescopes dominate astronomy: reflectors and refractors. Many of the world's largest telescopes are housed at observatories: The entire complex of buildings, telescopes, equipment, and staff involving scientific astronomical observations. Small observatories might consist of just one telescope situated in a dome, one instrument and computer, and one observer. McDonald Observatory is an example of a major observatory, and consists of five major telescope in five different domes, numerous instruments, computers, living quarters, outbuildings, astronomers, and engineers.


Radio Programs

Confirmation Particles from the heart of the Sun Wednesday, October 28, 2015
John Dobson Bringing telescopes to the masses Monday, September 14, 2015
Zenith Looking straight up Monday, September 7, 2015
Stellar Tourism Visiting an observatory by stagecoach Sunday, August 16, 2015
More Charles Townes Shining a new light on the universe Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Moon and Jupiter Jupiter loses its status Saturday, May 23, 2015
African Astronomy III Blue flashes from the distant universe Friday, March 27, 2015
African Astronomy II New uses for old radio dishes Thursday, March 26, 2015
African Astronomy Changing views of southern skies Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Catching Neutrinos Tiny particles that change flavors Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Cold Dark Matter Getting cold to catch dark matter Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Soudan Laboratory Digging deep for dark matter Monday, January 26, 2015
Halloween A dark and lonely night in the dome Friday, October 31, 2014
New Searches Taking a closer look at exoplanets Friday, August 8, 2014
The Neighborhood Getting to know the neighbors Thursday, August 7, 2014
Vega A glittering test subject in the summer sky Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Rebuilding Rebuilding astronomical history Thursday, June 5, 2014
Clark Telescopes Celebrating some astronomical masterpieces Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Companionship Looking for stellar companions Thursday, May 29, 2014
McDonald at 75, V Studying the mysteries of the universe Friday, May 9, 2014
Changing Skies Seeing through the moonlight Friday, April 18, 2014
Moon and Aldebaran Taking the measure of the bull’s eye Friday, February 7, 2014
Getting Started Cooking up a piece of glass Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Antarctic Adventures III The dark skies of the Antarctic Wednesday, November 13, 2013
HETDEX Update An upgrade for dark energy Monday, November 4, 2013
Moon and Jupiter Looking for a giant planet Saturday, September 28, 2013
Desert Astronomy Astronomy in a desert wasteland Monday, August 19, 2013
Dark Detections Looking for particles that don’t wimp out Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Dark Experiments Looking for the unseeable Tuesday, August 6, 2013
On Station II Brilliant targets for the space station Tuesday, June 25, 2013
On Station New “eyes” for the space station Monday, June 24, 2013
New Solar Telescopes New eyes on our neighborhood star Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Solar Telescopes Taking a close look at the Sun Monday, June 3, 2013
Recalibrating Recalibrating a space telescope Tuesday, May 7, 2013
File Cabinet Leafing through a starry filing cabinet Monday, May 6, 2013
Dark Energy Camera Some impressive astronomical snapshots Thursday, March 14, 2013
ALMA Cranking up a giant new telescope Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Space Watch II Searching for cosmic bullets Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Epsilon Geminorum A star by the numbers Thursday, January 17, 2013
More Capella Seeing a star in a different light Friday, December 7, 2012
VERITAS Sparks from extreme cosmic environments Friday, November 9, 2012
Namibian Astronomy II Strange eyes on the gamma-ray sky Thursday, November 8, 2012
Namibian Astronomy Watching the skies from western Africa Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Dark Portrait Snapping a picture of the unseeable Tuesday, October 9, 2012
European Southern Observatory Organizing a new observatory Friday, October 5, 2012
Homeworld Security Tracking down threats from space Saturday, August 25, 2012
Going Solar Building an energy telescope Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Making Mirrors Making the hearts of giant telescopes Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Giant Magellan Telescope A new “giant” eye on the universe Monday, May 14, 2012
Moon and Taurus Snapping the universe -- from the Moon Monday, April 23, 2012
Multi-Messenger Astronomy Notes from different messengers Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Gravitational Waves IV Silencing the rumbling Earth Thursday, January 26, 2012
Gravitational Waves III Lighting up ripples in spacetime Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Hottest Planet A world that’s hotter than Texas Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Watching Earthshine Watching the dark side of the Moon Monday, September 5, 2011
Yerkes Telescope A new career for a pioneering telescope Thursday, August 18, 2011
Astronomical Artworks Preserving scientific works of art Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Star Organizer Getting the stars organized Monday, August 15, 2011
More Deneb Too many targets, not enough time Wednesday, August 10, 2011
IceCube Lighting up the Antarctic ice Thursday, July 21, 2011
Listening Posts From neutrinos to sperm whales Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Telescope Facelift II Keeping a giant telescope on track Friday, June 3, 2011
Telescope Facelift A facelift in the name of science Thursday, June 2, 2011
Clean Mirrors Keeping a clear view of the heavens Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Taking Inventory II Watching for invaders from beyond Sunday, March 27, 2011
Underground Astronomy IV Searching for dark matter in a dark location Friday, March 4, 2011
Underground Astronomy III From deep inside stars to deep inside Earth Thursday, March 3, 2011
Underground Astronomy II Blocking out interference Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Underground Astronomy Astronomy in the lowest of places Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Featured Images

View of the underground Soudan Laboratory
Underground Astronomy Monday, January 26, 2015
View of a newly forming planetary system around the young star HL Tauri
Planet Tracks Thursday, November 6, 2014
Postcard of the historic Elgin Watch Company Observatory in Illinois
Star Time Saturday, October 25, 2014
An early view of the primary mirror of McDonald Observatory's first telescope
Seeing the Light Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Telescopes at the south pole
Antarctic Adventures Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Images of solar telescopes around the world
Fanciful Eyes Monday, June 3, 2013
Hubble Space Telescope, May 2009
Recalibrating Monday, May 6, 2013
HESS telescopes in Namibia, which study the gamma-ray universe
Extreme Telescope Thursday, November 8, 2012
Yerkes Observatory in Wisconsin is home to the world's largest refractor
Still Going Thursday, August 18, 2011
Artist's concept of upgraded Hobby-Eberly Telescope
Facelift for Science Friday, June 3, 2011
Primary mirror of the Hobby-Eberly Telescope, McDonald Observatory
A Big Bottle of Windex? Wednesday, May 11, 2011
A fish-eye image shows a laser firing from the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii.
Zapping the Sky Monday, May 17, 2010
Turning On, Tuning In Monday, April 12, 2010
Cold Astronomy Wednesday, January 13, 2010


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