In 2009, thanks to a generous donation from Physics and Astronomy alumnus John Luongo, SFSU partnered with UC Berkeley to refurbish the 30-inch telescope at Leuschner Observatory in Lafayette, CA. SFSU and UC Berkeley now share time on the telescope, operating it by remote control from the two campuses. East of the Berkeley hills, about 30 miles from SFSU, Leuschner's site provides more fog-free nights and darker skies than the SFSU campus Observatory. The 30-inch telescope is equipped with an SBIG STL-11000 CCD camera, enabling students to take data which they upload and analyze locally. Two SFSU graduate students helped commission the refurbished telescope and in 2014 completed Masters theses using data they collected with it.

SFSU students make use of the 30-inch Leuschner telescope in several ways. Students in Astronomy 301 take a field trip to Leuschner Observatory and learn to use the telescope as part of the course. Students in Astronomy 470/770 use the 30-inch for observing projects. The SFSU Physics and Astronomy Club organizes field trips out to Leuschner. Finally, the weekly Monday night workshop introduces students to the Leuschner telescope and provides them with opportunities to participate in observing projects outside of their regular course requirements. Curious? Email us or drop by TH424 on a Monday night between dusk and 9pm!