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3towers Observatory Operations

Dome B


Equipment and Operations:


TritowerA.jpg (103480 bytes) 3towerspanorama.jpg (35299 bytes)

The 3towers Observatory originally had a single 10 foot Home-Dome (now known as Dome 1) containing a Celestron NexStar 11 GPS telescope. In June 2014 a second dome (now known as Dome 2) was installed just north of the circular driveway by the main entrance to the house. It is approximately 100 feet south of Dome 1 and closer to the house. This second dome is from an abandoned Contraves EOTS Cine Theodolite Mobile Telescope Missile Tracking sytem. It is approximately the same size as the Home-Dome but has a large six foot wide shutter which is manually operated. The dome has six large steel wheels which sit on six concrete footers. The dome is manually rotated by hand. Dome 2 contains a Celestron C-14 f/11 telescope which was originally situated at the Grasslands Observatory. This telescope is designed for visual observing and lunar and planetary imaging.


Dome 2 Dome 2 wheels and footers Dome 2 at night Dome 2 at night


The Celestron C-11 telescope in the 10 foot Home-Dome has special coatings for enhanced transmission of light. The C-11 is used with a Starizona HypeStar focal reducer and a Starlight XPress SXVR-H9C single shot color camera or a Canon 60Da camera for most imaging applications. An Orion Star Shoot AutoGuider on an Orion 50 mm Guide Scope helps with longer exposures. The observatory computer is networked to the in-house computer, and image files can be transferred to the in-house computer after they are downloaded from the CCD cameras.

The C-11 HyperStar combination has a focal length of 560 mm with the f/2 HyperStar. The field of view of the Starlight Xpress SXVR-H9C is 56.6 x 41.1 arcminutes, and the field of view of the Canon 60Da is 139 x 91.5 arcminutes. This permits ultra-wide field imaging, particularly with the Canon 60Da. Stray light from inside and outside the observatory including light from the nearby 3 towers is blocked from the telescope imaging system by a long semi-permanent dew shield which extends beyond the length of the HyperStar CCD combination.


Comet ISON November 10, 2013

Comet Lovejoy on November 14, 2013 Comet Nevski November 18, 2013 M11

Comet ISON November 10, 2013

Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) November 14, 2013

Comet Nevski (C/2013 V3) November 18, 2013


M3 M16 M17 M33





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