WCU Student Facilities

There are many facilities in the Department of Geology & Astronomy available to students. These range in nature from student study areas to extensive sample collections to high-tech research equipment.

On the second floor of the Merion Science Center, where the department main office and faculty offices are located, is a student computer lab and a student library. The computer lab hosts 16 Windows PCs and a printer. The student lounge functions as a library and a place for students to gather and work on projects.

microscopes
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computer lab

Weather Station

The deparment maintians a weather station on the roof of the Merion Science Center. Data collected from our local station in combined with satellite images, Doppler radar graphics, upper level atmospheric readings, and detailed surface maps which provide data concerning the conditions of the atmosphere world-wide. This data is used in classroom laboratory activities, as well as for student research projects. The department also operates a local GPS calibration station.

Astronomical Observatory

The College of Arts and Sciences maintains an astronomical observatory on the roof of the Schmucker Science Center which is overseen jointly by the departments of Physics and Geology & Astronomy. The main instrument is a 10-inch Meade reflecting telescope. The observatory has two SBIG CCD cameras and an SBIG stellar spectrograph. The telescope system can be used for basic observing, astrophotography, photometry, and spectroscopy. The observatory is used as an astronomical laboratory for astronomy courses and as a research area for independent study research projects. In addition to the permanently mounted telescope, there is also a suite of portable telescopes: seven 8" Dobsonian telescopes, three 8" Scmidt-Cassegrain telescopes, and a 14" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.

Other facilities and scientific equipment that are available to students for both classroom use and independent research projects include:

  • An electron microscopy laboratory equipped with an FEI Quanta 400 Scanning Electron Microscope with the Oxford 400 EDS system, and an FEI Technai 12 Transmission Electron Microscope
  • An outstanding collections of rocks, minerals, and fossils
  • A sedimentology/stratigraphy analysis laboratory
  • A geophysics lab with ground velocity station seismograph, portable signal enhancement seismograph, and flux-gate field magnetometer
  • A geochemistry laboratory
  • A petrography laboratory with optical polarizing microscopes and X-ray diffractometer
  • An X-ray fluorescence spectrometer
  • A mapping laboratory with ArcMap 9, digitizer, reflection projector and drafting facilities
  • Meteorological instruments
  • GPS calibration station