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Phase II Construction of Faulkes Telescope Underway

by Louise Good

This recent photograph (November 1) shows the installation of the telescope housing. Photo by Mike Maberry.

Phase II construction, the installation of the telescope housing, of the Faulkes Telescope North on the summit of Haleakala is nearing completion. The telescope itself arrived on Maui in November. The mirror will arrive in early 2003.

After the telescope is installed by contractor Sea West, Telescope Technologies Limited (Liverpool, England), the company that built the instrument, will work with the Faulkes Telescope Corporation to ready it for users in the educational community. The telescope should be available to students in September 2003.

The Faulkes Telescope will be the largest professional grade telescope in the world dedicated to education and public outreach. The project will draw on young people's interest in astronomy to teach them what science is. It will offer students in the United Kingdom (UK) and Hawaii hands-on research experience. Students will conduct research projects under the mentoring of their teachers and professional astronomers. In Hawaii, access to the telescope will be available to public and private schools and to the science programs of the UH system and other local colleges. It will be operated remotely from control centers in the UK and on Maui.

The Dill Faulkes Educational Trust of the UK is financing the telescope, which will be named in honor of Dr. Martin "Dill" Faulkes, the British scientist and software developer who founded the trust.

The first instrument to be installed on the Faulkes Telescope will be a state-of-the-art CCD camera. Later, funds will be sought to add an infrared camera to allow operation of the telescope during daylight hours. A spectrograph is also under consideration as a future instrument.

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