We have two observatory domes on the lower roof of the Hicks Building that contain telescopes that are solely for undergraduate use.
The larger contains the Hicks Telescope and the other, ROSA ("Robotic Observatory for Sheffield Astronomy"), is a fully remotely operated system.

Hicks Observatory and ROSA Telescope Domes

The Hicks Telescope is a Meade 0.40m (16") LX200-ACF Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope and utilises a SBIG ST10-XME CCD camera for imaging.
This telescope is used by all second year astronomy students and can be used by third/fourth year students for project work.
A SBIG spectrograph can be attached along with the same CCD camera to perform spectroscopy instead of imaging.

Hicks Observatory 16" Telescope
0.4m Hicks Telescope with imaging instrumentation

ROSA contains a Meade 0.25m (10") LX200-ACF telescope with an Atik One 6.0 CCD camera.
This telescope is used remotely by all first year students and can be used by third/fourth year students for project work. If the telescope is not needed for project work, it is freely available to all astronomy students at any time.

ROSA, a 0.25m Meade LX200-ACF telescope at the University of Sheffield
PHY ROSA with dome removed
ROSA with dome removed for clarity

Both telescopes have autoguiding capability so long exposures can be taken as necessary and also have a variety of filters that can be used for different types of astronomical observations.

As well as being used for general lunar, planetary and deep sky imaging, typical projects undertaken are for example: imaging open clusters to calculate ages and distances, and lightcurves of variable stars and cataclysmic variables. Due to the advancement of CCD camera sensitivity, excellent results can be obtained from the Hicks Building roof even though it is located close to Sheffield City Centre. Astronomical objects with V magnitudes down to 17 are usually observed and the atmospheric seeing median is 3 arcseconds.

REF 2021 illustration showing University building and subject areas

Research Excellence Framework 2021

We have been rated 1st in the UK in terms of the quality of our research. In the latest REF, 100 per cent of research and impact from our department has been classed as world-leading or internationally excellent.

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