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Some Assembly Required: LCOGT Astronomy Postdoc Builds the Telescopes He Will Use

3 Apr 2013, 16:14 UTC
Some Assembly Required: LCOGT Astronomy Postdoc Builds the Telescopes He Will Use
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“It has not been a normal postdoc position,” Abiy Tekola, postdoctoral scholar with Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope (LCOGT) and the South Africa Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) explained. “I’m not doing quite what I expected to do.” Dr. Abiy TekolaThis is something of an astronomical understatement. In the last six months, Tekola, who holds a Ph.D. in observational astronomy, has turned a wrench and manned a hoist, among other tasks, in the installation of three robotic telescopes and the underlying IT and electrical systems.Tekola, based at the SAAO headquarters in Cape Town, has supported two separate teams from LCOGT during installation visits to the SAAO site outside Sutherland. The first team, arriving in September of last year, installed electrical and computer systems for three domes. The second team arrived with three 1-meter telescopes in mid-February of this year, and installed and tuned the telescopes before they left. Tekola worked as a full-fledged member of both crews.The SAAO node is LCOGT’s third node of a planned global telescope. The first node at McDonald Observatory in Texas currently houses a single 1-meter telescope. The second node at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Chile has three operational 1-meter telescopes. A fourth node of ...

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