About the Catipovic Observation Project

Catipovic Observation Project: UB Physics/BAA Audubon/UB SENS

The Catipovic Observation Project is a joint endeavor by the University of Buffalo Department of Physics, UB's Science and Engineering Node Services (SENS), and the Buffalo Astronomical Association (BAA). Its goal is to enhance the knowledge and appreciation of astronomy for UB students and for the general public in Western New York. To accomplish this, the Catipovic Observation Project brings to its users the combined observing power of a number of fine telescopes located at UB's North Campus and at the BAA observatory in Beaver Meadows Park, Java, NY. The images and data of these telescopes are linked and organized within the SENS administered web site www.astronomy.buffalo.edu, and so made readily accessible to individuals, and to large groups meeting in UB's computer-projection lecture halls. In the future, we plan to establish scripted telescope operation via remote computer, thereby opening the excitement of telescope observation to a wide audience. We are indebted to the generosity and enthusiasm of the Catipovic family for enabling the Catipovic Observation Project to become a reality.

A picture of Miro Catipovic with his telescope. The genesis of the Catipovic Observation Project began in 1986, when Miro Catipovic (founder of Tonawanda Limb and Brace and an inventor and hobbyist) donated to the UB Physics Department a 20" Schmidt-Cassegranian telescope that he had built from the ground up. Professor Gil Brink (emeritus in Physics), who established UB's popular astronomy courses PHY 121/122, interacted closely with Miro Catipovic at that time, both men being avid amateur astronomers. However, largely because of Buffalo's infamous lake-effect skies, a suitable observatory site could not be found for this high-quality telescope.

The incredible advances in digital photography and computer storage over the ensuing years have radically changed this situation, and, thanks to the continuing enthusiasm and support of Richard and JoAnn Catipovic, we are able to go forward with the Catipovic Observation Project. In the summer of 2003, the Miro's 20" telescope will begin operation on the roof of Fronczak Hall at UB as a transit instrument, with all-night observation, and quasi-real time storage of celestial images. But this is only one-third of our joint endeavor. In addition, we have established a satellite electronic-link between UB and the BAA observatory, and have created the www.astronomy.buffalo.edu web site to permit our users two-way access to all of our telescopes both for remote viewing of images, and, eventually, for remote control of the telescopes.

For more information on the different aspects of the Catipovic Observation Project, please contact:

B. A. Weinstein, Prof. of Physics, UB North Campus: phyberni@acsu.buffalo.edu
P. Proulx, CEO PremCom Corp., Amherst, NY: pproulx@premcom.com
C. Brunskill, Dir. of SENS, UB North Campus: corky@eng.buffalo.edu
J.-K. Gibson, Dir. of Development, Alumni Relations: jkgibson@acsu.buffalo.edu

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