Northwest Indiana Robotic Telescope

The NSF-funded Northwest Indiana Robotic (NIRo) Telescope is PNW’s premiere optical astronomical telescope.

A 20-inch advanced Ritchey-Chrétien reflecting telescope with a wide-field CCD imager, NIRo is housed in a dedicated observatory at the Calumet Astronomy Center (CAC) in Lowell, IN. We can currently operate the telescope both on-site, in the adjacent control room, and remotely, from PNW’s Calumet campus in Hammond, IN or anywhere with internet access.

The Northwest Indiana Robotic telescope

NIRo by the Numbers

  • 20″ f/8.1 reflecting telescope
  • latitude: 41o16’13.92″ N
  • longitude: 87o22’30.94″ W
  • altitude: 205 m
  • MPC Observatory Code: W11

Value to Students and Faculty

Aside from the upper-level, physics major involvement with NIRo, we also use the telescope in the laboratory sections of our introductory-level astronomy courses (ASTR 263 & ASTR 264). Our intro-level students have successfully used images of the 1st-quarter Moon to calculate the distances to the Moon and the Sun, and images of the Galilean satellites to calculate the mass of the planet Jupiter.

  • high-quality research projects for undergraduates,
  • the development of new, upper-level astrophysics courses, and
  • the implementation of introductory- to intermediate-level lab experiments for our existent astronomy and physics courses.

Physics majors at PNW receive direct, hands-on, observational experience that may not otherwise become available to them until well into their graduate careers.