Astronomy courses utilizing the VAO include the introductory non-major survey courses Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe and Solar System Astronomy; the major-level course General Astronomy; and the upper-level course Astronomical Laboratory. The calendar below is used in scheduling Van Allen Observatory observations for Astronomical Laboratory students.

The MACRO Consortium Robert L. Mutel Telescope

In addition to the Van Allen Observatory, the University of Iowa utilizes the MACRO Observatory at the Winer Observatory in southern Arizona for undergraduate courses.

The University of Iowa was one of the first institutions to operate a robotic telescope primarily for the use of students, both for instruction and research. A robotic telescope’s operations are automated by software and observation requests are submitted over the internet using a web-based scheduler. The present telescope, consisting of a 0.51-meter-diameter Cassegrain reflector (PlaneWave CDK20) on an equatorial mount, a 12-position filter wheel, and an SBIG CMOS camera (Aluma AC4040), was installed in May 2015.

The MACRO Consortium, with member and user institutions Macalester College, Augustana College, Coe College, Knox College, and the University of Iowa, operates the telescope, which is named the RLMT for University of Iowa emeritus professor Robert Mutel.




The MACRO logo. White lettering is superimposed on a dark gray background and a yellow star moving right with with blue, yellow, and red streaks coming out of it; the colors of the MACRO institutions.
Students examine the Van Allen Observatory control computer screen.