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.
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.