Oakley Foundation awards RHIT $120K to update telescopes

Submitted photoLooking up: The Hollie and Anna Oakley Foundation Inc. of Terre Haute has awarded Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology’s astronomy program a $120,000 grant to provide four new telescopes for the campus observatory.

The Hollie and Anna Oakley Foundation Inc. of Terre Haute has continued its support of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology’s astronomy program by awarding a $120,000 grant to provide four new telescopes for the institute’s campus observatory.

The grant will provide one 17-inch reflecting Corrected Dall-Kirkham telescope, produced by PlaneWave Instruments, to replace older telescopes at the observatory in each of the next four years.

“This gracious grant keeps our observatory on the leading edge of technology,” said Richard Ditteon, professor of physics and optical engineering and director of Rose-Hulman’s observatory. “These new telescopes, with bigger apertures and higher focal range, will greatly expand our students’ abilities to examine and research astronomical objects.”

Past grants from the Oakley Foundation have helped establish two observatories for Rose-Hulman: a state-of-the-art on-campus facility, with eight telescopes, founded in 2000, and a facility established in 2007 near the Australian outback whose telescopes can be controlled remotely from campus. Both observatories bear the foundation’s name.

The foundation also has provided grants to support equipment, training and maintenance for both observatories.

“We’re grateful for the continued loyalty of the Hollie and Anna Oakley Foundation to support our academic strategic initiatives, and helping us provide the facilities and equipment that allow our students to explore their career aspirations,” said Rose-Hulman President Jim Conwell.

Students are using the Oakley Observatory and Oakley Southern Sky Observatory for classroom, laboratory, special research projects, and Astronomy Club activities.

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