Astronomical Observing and Photography


Observatory Build

Location is in the Rye Park District,  approximately 149o E , 34.5o S

Dark sky :

Seeing :


generally excellent.

Borderline between Bortle 1 - Bortle 2

Occasionally excellent, often average to above average.

Varies from excellent to moderate. 

Lot's of clear weather From mid-Spring through the Summer and into Autumn.
Late Summer is wildfire season so smoke can be an issue. Winter is cloudy but not hopeless with occasional clear periods. Winter night time lows can be as low as -7oC. Weather is much clearer than that over Canberra city which tends to be a bit of a cloud bowl.

The detailed ECMWF forecast, which we access through the hour by hour option of the  detailed output of http://yr.no for Yass Valley gives us incredibly accurate weather prediction. If it says a totally overcast sky will clear at 11pm, you can drive up there, late pretty confident that it will clear. 

Instruments  to be housed include : -
Homemade 18" f5.6 Dobsonian (by Matt Saariko)
Takahashi EM200 equatorial mount with variety of smaller OTA's/camera's /lenses for astrophotography and asteroid occultation timing

Optical Tube Assemblies

Vixen VC200L
Homemade 6"f7 Newtonian (Joe Cali)
Synta ED80

Visual observing, DSLR's and low light video cameras

3D non-technical sketch - roll off roof design

Plan view
The 18" telescope  will mostly reside in the centre of the observatory.  The layout will allow the 18" to make a 360 degree swing with the tube at about 45degree elevation which is about where  I normally swing it outdoors. The walls will allow viewing through the 18" down to about 30 degrees.  I rarely use it below that altitude except to look at objects low in the north that don't rise very high.

For example, the Andromeda Galaxy only rises to a maximum altitude of 13 o.  The double doors open north allowing low altitude views to the north.  If this isn't sufficient, the wheels and halndles can be fitted and it can be moved closer to the door or even outside.

The Takahashi EM200 equatorial mount will be mounted on a tall pier in the north west corner of the observatory so that, although close to the 1.9m walls, will be able to see most of the sky. Depending how high I decide to make the pier, I might build a small deck or a rolling platform so that I'm not constantly working off ladders. 

The 18" can be rolled to the side in one piece or disassembed without much effort and stowed against a wall if I want to host other collaborators or visitors, or set up one of my other mounts.

Constrution  planned to start in Autumn 2019.

Updates to be blogged here....