Barcroft Observatory

Barcroft Observatoty

The Barcroft Observatory small dome (now just the foundations remain) was built in the 1960's to study the moon and planets at infrared wavelengths. In 1976 the main observatory dome was built and a 62" mirror telescope installed. The telescope was part of a study to determine the best location for the soon-to-be-built Keck telescope, which was eventually sited in Hawaii. In September 2003 the UCSB astrophysics group custom designed and installed the MPOL telescope, to determine aspects of the polarization of the cosmic background radiation. The telescope was designed to be operated remotely via internet and telephone controls, and successfully ran during parts of the winter and spring, 2004. The mirror, designed to reflect at millimeter wavelengths, is clearly visible in the opening. The telescope is mounted on the upstairs level, while the ground floor is occupied by support equipment and the control system. The UCSB zenith cam looks out the window on the ground floor toward White Mountain Peak, and takes a photo every 10 minutes.The astrophysics groups also maintains a Dome weather station just outside the dome. The photo below shows the UCSB MPOL telescope in operation.