NIHIL ULTRA: Nothing Beyond

Father Eugene Lafont Observatory (FELO)

 

FELO, an emerging observing platform for Xaverians
Dr. Shibaji Banerjee, Asst. Director, FELO

Father Eugene Lafont Observatory (FELO) sprang into action from March 2014. It is in fact, a twin observatory, consisting of a stellar observatory with a motorized dome and a separate sliding roof observatory meant for solar observations. Right from the beginning, it began to serve the "Practical Needs" of M.Sc Students specializing in Astrophysics and have held several workshops during 2015-16 including inter-state collaborations between sister Jesuit organisations, specialized workshops on Radio astronomy and talks on cutting edge areas of astronomy and astrophysics.

In 2016, the observatory was shut down for major refurbishing work related to the cooling of the dome during observations with the CCD and the spectrograph. During 2017 Several night sky observations including observation on a Lunar Week and National Science day events were organized in which students and faculty of our college and the B.Ed department participated with enthusiasm. It was also made accessible to the participants of the Prayas Camp and NAAC Peer Team. The Observatory could procure a CCD and a spectrograph from extended DST grants and have run test observations.

During the last one year, Nightly observing programs were held for the College and the University teachers and students on 21st, 22nd September and 2nd November 2017 and also on 9th and 10th January 2018. The International Observe the moon event was held for UG and PG students on 28th October.

The Total Lunar Eclipse was observed on 31st January 2018 while the National Science day programme was held on the 28th of February. The observing sessions ended with a Visiting programme for Rural Schools organized by the Department of Social work and NSS as a part of the Prayas-2018 Camp.

The CCD which have seen its first light in 2017 was calibrated and used by P.G Project students in this year. Soham Dey, an UG student, worked on Differential stellar photometry, identifying and measuring light from dim 8.5 magnitude stars. PG students Tanima Mondal and Sabyasachi Ghosh worked in Imaging and Data analysis leading to the construction of the H-R diagram for the spiral galaxy NGC230 in the constellation Cetus.