The William G. and Retha Stone Baker Observatory was established in 1977. The Observatory is used for basic astronomy and astronomical techniques laboratories, and by faculty and students engaged in astronomical research.
NASA Public Observing Night
The public may visit the Baker Observatory during public viewing events that are conducted by the PAMS department.
Please check the University's master calendar or follow the department's Facebook page for up-to-date information on the next event as well as information on potential postponements due to adverse weather conditions.
There are three permanently mounted telescopes:
- 0.4-meter (16") diameter Cassegrain reflector
- 0.36-meter (14") diameter Schmidt-Cassegrain hybrid
- 0.28-meter (11") diameter Schmidt-Cassegrain hybrid
The 0.4-meter reflector was one of the first telescopes used at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona, and later at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. It was obtained by Missouri State University from AURA in 1983.
There are a number of CCD detectors used on telescopes:
- A Princeton Instruments 1340x1300 pixel nitrogen-cooled camera on the 0.4-m reflector
- An Apogee Instruments, Inc. 512x512 pixel thermoelectrically-cooled camera on the 0.36-m Schmidt-Cassegrain hybrid
- SBIG ST-6, 7, and 9 CCD detectors are used on student telescopes
Astronomy Image Analysis Laboratory
Astronomy faculty and students use the astronomical image analysis laboratory to work on images obtained at Baker Observatory and other national and international observatories. By examining these images of the universe more closely, students and faculty are able to make exciting new observations and discoveries.
Charged-Coupled Device detectors (CCDs) are used by most observatories to record images of astronomical objects and spectra of these objects. These detectors are similar to the ones found in modern digital cameras and video cameras, except that astronomical CCDs are manufactured under stringent procedures to produce scientific-grade detectors.
Image Reduction (Calibration)
- Bias or zero-duration exposure subtraction.
- Dark (thermionic emission) subtraction.
- Flat field correction
- Measurement of star brightness
- Measurement of spectral line shapes
The way in which the brightness and spectral lines of a star change with time can be used to determine important physical properties.
Astronomy images taken at Baker Observatory
Mars August, 2003
M51 The Whirlpool Galaxy
M27 The Dumbell Nebula
M104 The Sombrero Galaxy
M13 Globular Cluster in Hercules
Our department is currently fundraising to build a new education building on the site of the Baker Observatory. If you are interested in helping us reach this goal, please contact Dr. David Cornelison at 417-836-4467.