Thanks to another local member of
the Denver Astronomical society, who is also a dealer for
Explora-Dome, I was able to obtain the eight foot kit
at an attractive price. Since remote operation was the goal from the
comfort inside the home, I decided not to install a permanent pier.
Instead it was built as a deck with treated lumber, which was wrapped
with roofing felt and the exposed top covered with aluminum. This was
later covered with (FRP) fiberglass resin panel to provide additional
protection from the Colorado rain and snow. Completion of this
project was accomplished August 2012.
primary goal for this observatory is to accomplish deep space
photography in the adverse suburban environment using various filtering
means of current technology and the CCD camera.
have also successfully utilized operation over one USB extension cable
connected to two powered USB hubs to control the mount and two CCD
cameras used for primary imaging and auto-guiding. Remote
focusing of the Starlight Instruments FT3025 focuser is also
accomplished over the USB cable utilizing a home-brewed RC actuator
motor and Shoestring Astronomy USB interface with Goldfocus mask.
The RC focus motor has now been replaced with a Rigel Systems stepper
motor and will be utilizing Focusmax for control on the Meade LX850 10"
Updated 12/9/2012: A meteor capture camera has been added adjacent to the observatory. Controlled by AZcendant meteor capture software known as "HandyAvi"; which can be configured to only record when meteors are detected to save storage space. The camera is a Watec WAT-902H3 with Computar F/1.0 2.9mm-8.2mm lens in a heated fan-aspirated housing. Compressed, edited files can be download from the home page and viewed with a .MOV viewer if desired. This setup is in it's early stage so I hope to make improvements in the video quality.Updated 6/20/2013: Added a Meade 10" LX850/F8 to the scope inventory for use in the observatory.