Research Opportunities for Fresno State Students
Office: McLane Hall, Room 11, in the new Building J (or
The eight Sierra Remote Observatories were built in 2007. The project was
founded by Dr. Greg Morgan, Dr. Keith Quattrocchi, and
Mel Helm, all of whom are members of the Central Valley Astronomers.
The observatories are at a dark site at 4610' altitude, near Shaver Lake.
Fresno State's telescope is in Observatory #7. We operate it mainly from
campus, 47 miles away, by remote control over the Internet. The 16-inch f/8 telescope is
by DFM Engineering. It has an
camera by SBIG.
Fresno State's station at Sierra Remote
Observatories.Click the following for:
Science programs include:
Time-resolved photometry of
cataclysmic variables, including the discovery of apsidal superhumps and nodal
superhumps in several systems (with Fresno State students Kenia
Velasco, Jonathan Roveto, Michelle Meyers, Jerry Rude, and Dillon
Time-resolved photometry of the
outbursts of soft X-ray transients/black hole candidates (with Fresno State
graduate student Dillon Trelawny)
Searches for superflares
and related chromospheric activity in solar-like stars, suspected to be
enhanced by magnetized planets such as hot Jupiters (with Fresno State
graduate students Randy Clark, Jerry Rude, and Dillon Trelawny)
Searches for variability in hot
subdwarf stars, such as from pulsations, or from eclipses, irradiation
variations, or ellipsoidal variations in binary systems, or possibly also
unrecognized and misclassified cataclysmic variables (with Fresno State
graduate student Melissa Blacketer)
Time-resolved photometry of
post-common envelope binaries, to search for irradiation variations,
ellipsoidal variations, and eclipses (with Fresno State graduate student
The Campus Observatory is on the grounds of the Downing Planetarium, at
longitude 119.7447 degrees West, latitude 36.8147 degrees North, and
elevation 340 feet (104 m). (The local mean time correction is +1m
01.3s.) Its main telescope is a 16-inch Meade LX200. The
Campus Observatory is well instrumented, with a wide variety of cameras
and other equipment. For an equipment list and a description of their
performance, see here.
Fresno State's Campus Observatory.
Click the following for:
Ongoing science programs include:
Target-of-opportunity observations of the eruptions of classical
novae, with Dr. Greg Morgan and Fresno State undergraduate student
Discovering and timing transits of
extrasolar planets, with Fresno State undergraduate students Jesse
Rorabaugh and Matthew Garrett.
Variable star searches, particularly for hot, high-gravity stars
that heat cool companions that have undergone common
envelope evolution, with Fresno State graduate students Dan Chase and
Campaigns with the Center for Backyard
Astrophysics, hosted by Columbia University. CBA is a
global network of small telescopes, dedicated to observing cataclysmic
variable stars and their outbursts. This includes timing the spins,
disks, and orbits of cataclysmic variables, particularly SU UMa stars and intermediate
here). The Fresno State students involved were Randy Clark, Sarah
Lin, and Zachary Girazian.
Completed science programs include:
If you're interested, please read the following:
On many projects we collaborate with the Central Valley Astronomers, Fresno's
amateur club, who are a huge help!
If you are a Fresno State student or CVA member and have your own ideas for
projects, particularly if they describe a specific, plausible path from
telescope to finished scientific objective, which we can do with the
equipment we have now, please contact Dr. Ringwald.
(2) Other astronomical observing, as the opportunities arise:
Last updated 2014 September 16. Web page by Dr. Ringwald
(ringwald[at]csufresno.edu and replace [at] with @)
Department of Physics, California State University, Fresno.
Please read this disclaimer.