The MACRO Telescope Consortium

Macalester, Augustana, Coe Remote Observatory
Home of the Robert L. Mutel Telescope


Imaging the Universe

The Telescope

The Robert L. Mutel Telescope is a half-meter Corrected Dall-Kirkham style telescope manufactured by PlaneWave Instruments.

The Camera

This system uses an SBIG Aluma AC4040 CMOS, front-illuminated class 2 camera to capture light from as low as 22 magnitude objects.

Online Operation.

Midwest nights are mostly cloudy. The RLMT automatically takes pictures all night, allowing our users to download their images the next day.

Live Viewing.

Our telescopes can also be controlled live, giving viewers real-time views of the universe while any where on Earth.

A Storied Observatory...


Professor Robert L. Mutel began operating the Iowa Remote Observatory in 1997 to give Iowa students access to skies otherwise often hidden behind clouds.  After his retirement it needed a new home. Three former Iowa students at Macalester College, Augustana College, and Coe College took the reins and now manage the observatory for their students and user members at The University of Iowa and Knox College.

The System...


The RLMT is a state-of-the-art 20 inch CDK style telescope manufactured by PlaneWave instruments.  Attached is a 12 position filter wheel enabling RGBL, H-alpha, and infrared observations.  The images are produced by an SBIG Aluma AC4040 CMOS camera capable of multiple modes of operation, which gives our users unprecedented control over object capture.

Find out more

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Meet the team...

The Founders and Directors of MACRO

John Cannon.jpg
John Cannon, Ph.D. // Chair of the Board

John Cannon is an observational astronomer at Macalester College with a focus on nearby, low-mass galaxies.  Using data from a variety of ground and space-based observatories, he works with students to understand the nature and evolution of these systems in the local universe.

James Wetzel, Ph.D. // DIRECTOR

James Wetzel is a scientist and entrepreneur involved with experiments at Fermilab, CERN, the University of Iowa, Coe College, various startups in the Iowa City area, and now the MACRO Observatory.  He is mainly interested in connecting people with science to help to develop our shared understanding of the world we live in.

William Peterson, Ph.D. // DIRECTOR

Bill Peterson is an Iowa native whose research involves studying radiation produced by the Earth's magnetosphere, and taking high-resolution radio images of stars. He has published articles in Nature and the Astrophysical Journal.  His research at Augustana continues the study of magnetically active stars.