Introduction to Rosemary Hill

Located 30 miles from the University of Florida campus, in an isolated hilly region, Rosemary Hill is the University's optical research observatory. Founded in 1967, it was funded by an NSF Center of Excellence grant. The 80-acre site was donated by a public-spirited citizen, Mrs. Marie Hergert. The facilities include two telescope domes, a dormitory, and utility buildings. Through the generous cooperation of Mr. Bob Cremer, then Director of the University's Physical Plant, the infrastructure was completely renovated in 1993-4, and the interior roads were paved in 1995. In 2010 the telescope was upgraded with new instruments and imaging software, thanks to graduate student Scott Fleming with a grant from Sigma Xi. Satellite photos show Rosemary Hill near the center of the largest dark area in north Florida.

30-inch Reflector

The principal instrument is a 30-inch (76-cm) Tinsley reflecting telescope. It is currently set up with a permanant CCD at the an f/4 Prme focus. The telescope can also be used at the f/4 Newtonian focus or the f/16 Cassegrain focus. The instrument is equipped with an SBIG ST8X-ME CCD (which has a built-in autoguider) and a 10-filter filter with a set of Johnson-Cousins filters. The dome carries flat-fielding targets.

M57, The Ring Nebula (Taken with the new ST8 CCD)

Lately the telescope is being used to do photometry of transiting extrasolar planets and RV variability follow up from MARVELS. The instrument is being used extensively in teaching laboratories at the advanced undergraduate level.

In the past, the 30" was used extensively for research. Regular monitoring of the brightness fluctuations of active galactic nuclei was carried on by Professors Alex Smith and Robert Leacock from the commissioning of the telescope in 1968 until the 1990s. In recent years much of this work was done in collaboration with spacecraft such as the International Ultraviolet Explorer and the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory. Shorter-term programs included photometry of eclipsing binaries by Professors Wood, Chen, Oliver, and Cohen; sky-limited photography of galaxies by Professor Gottesman; monitoring of lunar occultations by Professors Oliver and Cohen; spectrographic studies of stars by Professor Oliver; and measuring light curves of asteroids by Professor Telesco. Sixteen graduate students have earned their doctorates through research conducted on the Tinsley reflector.

18-inch Ritchey Chretien

The 18" telescope is currently being updated to a robotic system, and is therefore not in use.