On July 5th, I entered Small Hall and made an action plan with my research adviser, Professor Deconinck, in regards to the troubling news that the observatory dome is not quite yet operational, and likely will not be ready to use until after my investigations with asteroid lightcurves has concluded. We have a contingency in the Meade LX90 telescope that Prof. Deconinck brought in, although its 8 inch aperture limits the size of the asteroids that I can view. Therefore, instead of viewing asteroids which have few to no lightcurves previously made of their rotations I will add to the data collected on larger minor planets, such as Ceres. This is useful information to the international scientific community since it helps to identify and quantify the error involved with using the Minor Planet Observatory Canopus software.
I have begun to adapt my freshman Monroe project to fit this new scope. First, I updated a new setting in the Canopus software to match the specifications of the Meade LX90 telescope, adjusting for the focal length and other specifications of the instrument. Second, I have started to compile a list of larger asteroids to image. Third, I have secured the SBIG Model STF 8300 M/C within a workspace in Small Hall, and will obtain an adapter for this camera if necessary next week. Other issues that I still need to address include a malfunction in the AutoStar tracker that causes the LCD screen not to display information, although Prof. Deconinck and I have identified a contact and technician who might be able to help in this situation.
Hopefully there will be solutions and clear skies when I return to campus from a summer job on July 16th.