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Oakley Observatory and
Oakley Southern Sky Observatory

About the Oakley Observatory and Oakley Southern Sky Observatory from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Our primary research interest is in asteroid photometry. We take images of select asteroids over several nights. From those images we determine the brightness of the asteroid. Since most asteroids are not spherical shaped, as they rotate we see a broad side and the asteroid appears bright and later a narrow end and the asteroid appears fainter. By plotting out these brightness variations we are able to determine the rotation period of the asteroid. We can also deduce information about the shape of the asteroid and even the orientation of the rotation axis in space. Scientists studying the solar system can use this information to better understand the origin and evolution of the solar system.

As of December, 2010 we have determined rotational periods and published lightcurves for 267 asteroids and published a total of 26 papers with 51 Rose-Hulman students, 3 Rose-Hulman professors, and 2 high school students as coauthors.