Observational Astronomy Students Operate 3.5-meter Telescope at Apache Point Observatory

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Students from Associate Professor Brice Ménard’s Observational Astronomy course gained valuable hands-on experience at the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico over the course of two 12-hour observation nights. Operating the 3.5-meter ARC telescope, the group detected exoplanet transits, imaged a globular cluster, planetary nebulae, galaxies, and even tracked a comet. They also conducted spectroscopy of galaxies and quasars. All told, over a dozen targets were identified and captured by the students with optical and spectroscopic instruments affixed to the telescope. Every student of the course became certified in remote operation the ARC telescope by way of the immersive experience.