Purdue University Northwest has appointed Adam Rengstorf director of the Northwest Indiana Robotic Observatory. He will also continue his role as associate professor of physics and astronomy. Rengstorf will oversee all aspects of the observatory, management and maintenance of its NIRo Telescope and support facilities, and administration of research and education programs at the observatory. The NIRo Telescope is housed in at the Calumet Astronomy Center located at Buckley Homestead County Park in Lowell. Rengstorf played a key role in the former Purdue University Calumet’s acquisition of a $150,000 National Science Foundation grant that helped bring the high-powered telescope to Northwest Indiana in 2008. He has used the NIRo Telescope to teach astronomy classes and mentor some 20 physics and engineering research students to engage in asteroid monitoring. The reflecting telescope permits cutting-edge astronomical research and project-oriented science education. Equipped with a thermoelectrically-cooled, charge-coupled device imager, the NIRo Telescope can produce distortion-free images of a field of view as large as the full earth moon. Though Purdue Northwest does not offer a degree in astronomy, students who are interested in the discipline may participate in observational astronomic research and pursue a minor in the astrophysics program of study.  NIRo Observatory partnerships with the Calumet Astronomical Society and the Lake County Parks and Recreation Department also have enabled joint sponsorships of community events. A Purdue Northwest and Purdue Calumet faculty member since 2005, Rengstorf holds a baccalaureate degree from Binghamton (NY) University and master’s and doctoral degrees from Indiana University.

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