Georgia State University’s Hard Labor Creek Observatory has upgraded from a 20-inch telescope to a PlaneWave CDK700 that will provide students, professional astronomers, and the public with a world-class observatory system.

In March 2022, the PlaneWave installation team set off to bring the CDK700’s revolutionary optical design and innovative direct-drive mount technology to enhance the cutting-edge research, astrophotography, and visual observation of those at Georgia State University (GSU) and within the greater Atlanta region.

Team standing in front of telescopeThough the facility is primarily utilized by students and faculty, GSU plans to hold public observatory programs in the near future, making the CDK700 a perfect choice for their observatory. The flexibility of the telescope’s Nasmyth focus is great for public observation, as it allows for an easy switch between visual and imaging use in seconds.

The CDK700 will also be used for speckle photometry, an astronomical research technique that utilizes a series of short exposures to help reduce the effects of seeing conditions in the Earth’s atmosphere and capture high resolution and detailed images. GSU plans to further enhance its imaging with an adaptive optics unit that further reduces the effects of atmospheric seeing.

PlaneWave Instruments is passionate about instilling a love for astronomy and astrophotography in future astronomers. “PlaneWave covers a gamut of applications from teaching brand-new telescope users to operate a system all the way to meeting the needs of professional astronomers who will publish groundbreaking results,” says Matt Dieterich, PlaneWave’s Technical Services Manager. “Georgia State University is an amazing school for astronomy and research, and we are thrilled to be a part of their future.”