The newly operational California State University, Fresno remote observatory in the Sierra Nevada mountains is helping students explore the universe for planets that could not be seen previously.

The university’s 16-inch telescope can be controlled remotely by Dr. Fred Ringwald, an associate professor in the Department of Physics, using an Internet connect from his office on campus. The station is equipped with a sensitive digital detector that allows Ringwald to snap clear pictures of the universe.

Several science programs have used the Fresno State observatory since it became operational this semester.

“Currently we have students using the observatory to pioneer a new technique that would detect planets around other stars,” Ringwald said.

Fresno State’s station is one of eight sites at Sierra Remote Observatories, an observatory established in 2006 by members of Central Valley Astronomers. The observatory is near Shaver Lake, 47 miles northeast of Fresno at about 4,610 feet.

For more information, contact Ringwald at 559.278.8426 or

Related link: Fresno State Observatory