NCKCN, CTC Partner to Help Connect Remote Observatory for Research

This article was published on: 03/27/2024

Dr. Luke Schmidt’s research will benefit from the new remote observatory that NCKCN is helping to connect. (Courtesy Photo)

NCKCN and Cunningham Telephone & Cable (CTC), based in Glen Elder, Kansas, provide high-speed Wireless and Fiber internet to the remote observatory of the North Central Kansas Astronomical Society. North Central Kansas Community Network Co., or NCKCN for short, is an affiliate of the North Central Regional Planning Commission.

The SSC Observatory (SSCO) deploys remotely controlled astronomical instruments to image and study the night-time sky. The SSCO takes advantage of the clear, dark skies in North Central Kansas. It also makes research simpler for Dr. Luke Schmidt of Texas A&M University.

Currently, a typical observing session for Dr. Schmidt involves a 9-hour drive from Texas A&M University to McDonald Observatory, located in the Davis Mountains of West Texas. Once all the telescopes at the SSCO near Beloit are fully operational, an observing session will only require traveling as far as his home office.

“This is one of the more unique projects NCKCN has helped to connect,” says Systems Manager Todd Tuttle. “It will help provide easy access to many hours of observing time.”

This article appeared in the Quarter 1 2024 NCRPC Newsletter.