Purdy Mesa telescope joins the elite Air Force Falcon network

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) – When a satellite, an asteroid, or an old, dead rocket rages to Earth, a telescope on Purdy Mesa is ready to help detect it and alert officials from around the world.

Installers used a crane to carefully lift the 200-pound powerful equipment in his new home into the Grand Mesa Observatory, where it will be a gateway to the cosmos, which emerges under the dome at night. to watch.

The newest site that joins the Falcon telescope network of the US Air Force is located under the dark sky just east of Whitewater, away from light pollution and in an ideal location for researchers, students and monitoring room to get a clear picture from what's out there.

The Falcon network has three main objectives: to identify and identify man-made satellites, to help view and collect information about astronomical objects and to provide outreach and educational opportunities for students from kindergarten to universes at university level.

The American professor of physics professor Francis Chun supervised the installation of the 20-inch Oficina Stellare telescope in the dome of the observatory at the end of August, as with the other telescopes that have already been installed around the world.

The telescope is the 10th to be installed in the network, according to Chun. Five others have already been installed in Colorado: La Junta, Sterling, Durango, Woodland Park and Yoder. Penn State houses the remaining Falcon telescope in the US. There are two telescopes in Australia and one in Chile, and Chun said that the organizers plan at additional locations in Germany and South Africa. The first location was installed in 2013 at the Otero Junior College.

Having a network of telescopes, located on different continents at different hemispheres, helps those who view objects in space to gain multiple perspectives and gather more information about them, Chun said. Experts call this "multi-messenger observation" and the collected data can help students and researchers better understand the physics behind objects in space.

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