COSAM News Articles 2020 November Rooftop telescope captures photos of Mars

Rooftop telescope captures photos of Mars

Published: 11/03/2020

By: Maria Gebhardt

The new Leach Science Center features a state-of-the-art rooftop telescope terrace with individual stations that can be controlled from an interior third-floor classroom.

During the third week in October, faculty from the Department of Physics captured beautiful images of Mars. Since it is positioned close to Earth, faculty were able to view detailed features of the red planet.

“The best time to view Mars is when it is opposite the sun in the sky because it is closer to Earth than usual and is high in the sky at night,” said Melissa Halford, lecturer in the Department of Physics.

“We can see a polar ice cap on the bottom right in our image, some dark rock in the southern hemisphere and lighter dust in the northern hemisphere. The light circle in the upper right is Olympus Mons—the largest volcano in the solar system,” Halford added. 

Auburn students taking astronomy electives can use these telescopes as part of the curriculum.

During this semester, students have been participating in the class in-person and virtually. Students have been spaced out on the terrace and each used a separate telescope station to ensure social distancing.


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