The Tim Liu (GRS ’86, ’90) Astronomical Observing Center

The Tim Liu (GRS ’86, ’90) Astronomical Observing Center (LAOC) is a remote observing facility located in room 414 of the College of Arts and Sciences Building.  Funds for LAOC were generously provided by alum Dr. Tianxing “Tim” Liu, who received his MA and PhD from the BU Department of Astronomy.  Click Here for pictures from the gifting ceremony.


LAOC contains a Windows machine (liu-comm.bu.edu), typically used for video conferencing with an observatory, three iMacs (liu-1.bu.edu, liu-2.bu.edu, liu-3.bu.edu), typically used for remotely operating instrument control software via screen sharing, and a 4 TB RAID array for temporarily storing data (liu-raid.bu.edu), mountable by any of the computers.

If observing using Lowell Observatory telescopes, please see the site Observing at Lowell for instructions on requesting remote observations in your proposal to the IAR Telescope Allocation Committee.  Otherwise, please coordinate with the corresponding observatory to arrange for remote observations.  LAOC is designed to support many different telescopes, and conflicts may arise.

  • Please reserve LAOC as soon as a remote observing session is approved by using the BU Exchange Calendar, via Microsoft Outlook or the Outlook Web App.  Create an appointment in the calendar for the time you will need the facility, including an invitation to cas414@bu.edu. If you have trouble making a reservation, please send an email request to David Bradford (bradford@bu.edu)
  • If this is the first time you are using LAOC, please contact Quinn Sykes prior to your observations to be granted key card access (qtsykes@bu.edu, CAS 520, 617-353-5700).

If you have reserved the LAOC, click here for instructions on the room’s setup and use.

BU Lowell Partnership

Perkins Telescope

Source: Lowell Observatory
Since August 1, 1998 Boston University and Lowell Observatory have jointly operated the 72-inch Perkins telescope located on Anderson Mesa, near Flagstaff, AZ. Members of BU’s Institute for Astrophysical Research (IAR) have built two instruments for use on the Perkins telescope: PRISM, which provides optical imaging, polarimetry, and spectroscopy, and Mimir, which provides near-IR imaging, polarimetry, and spectroscopy.

Discovery Channel Telescope

Source: BU Interdisciplinary Programs DCT Project

The Discovery Channel Telescope (the “DCT”) is a state-of-the art, 4.3-meter optical and near-infrared telescope located in Happy Jack, Arizona, approximately 40 miles southwest of Flagstaff. The DCT is owned and operated by Lowell Observatory with support from Discovery Communications, Inc., Boston University, the University of Maryland, the University of Toledo, and Northern Arizona University.

In October of 2011, BU and Lowell Observatory signed a formal agreement that grants BU astronomers access to the DCT in perpetuity. See the BU Today article about the partnership: BU Astronomers Take a Giant Step Forward.

Click here to learn more about the DCT.

Click Here to learn more about the BU Lowell Partnership.