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Observatory and Planetarium

The department has the following facilities to support astronomy/astrophysics research and teaching:

  • The EKU Observatory, which houses a permanently mounted 16 in telescope under a retractable roof that can be controlled remotely. An opportunity exists for faculty to revive the use of the Observatory.
  • The EKU Telescope Deck, which contains a set of 6 in Celestron telescopes, that is used for observing sessions for astronomy courses and outreach events.
  • The Hummel Planetarium, which is a 194 seat theater with a 67.5 ft tilted dome. The planetarium is used for astronomy education research, as a classroom for introductory astronomy courses, and for outreach events.

Optics Lab

EKU’s optics research group is equipped with the type of equipment more commonly found at R1 institutions. In our lab, we have

  • A femtosecond Coherent Chameleon Vision-S tunable ultrafast titanium:sapphire laser
  • Two nanosecond pulsed Nd:YAG lasers with tens of mJ pulse energies
  • Horiba triple turret imaging spectrometer with TEC-cooled Synapse CCD
  • Precision interferometric delay stages with 230mm travel, 2nm incremental step size
  • Custom 18″ interferometric, pneumatically isolated TMC optic tables (10′ x 5′ x 18″), 8″ Thorlabs optical table (8′ x 4′ x 8″), and a range of optical breadboards used for prototyping/development/etc
  • Various cw laser sources, extensive selection of optics and optomechanics, translation stages, SRS digital lock-in amplifier, etc
  • AFM with ≲ 10nm resolution

Nuclear and Particle Physics Lab

EKU’s nuclear and particle physics detector lab is equipped with the type of equipment more commonly found at R1 institutions. We collaborate with universities and national labs to develop and characterize hardware across nuclear and particle physics with a wide range of sub projects. In our lab we have:

  • A Nal(Tl) detector array consisting of 24 detectors and a 32 channel CAEN DT5560SE digitizer
  • Fast scintillators (including CeBr3, BaF2, plastics) for fast coincidence timing applications with a CAEN DT5751 digitizer
  • A plethora of nuclear physics instrumentation modules, high voltage power supplies, amplifiers, PMTs, electronics, and precision pulse generators
  • Digital signal processing tools: fast CAEN digitizers, Red Pitayas, FPGAs, and off the shelf and custom software for DAQ systems
  • Quad node server with 192 AMD multithreaded cores for HPC Monte Carlo simulations and analysis of data
  • HiCUBE vacuum pump system with vacuum vessels, components, and gauges
  • Computational workstations for students