Sundance Observatory Equipment

C14Sundance Observatory houses three telescopes. The main telescope is a fourteen inch Schmidt-Cassegrain (SCT) scope - a Celestron C14. The scope and mount are the same as that on the International Space Station. The C14 has an 80mm Onyx refractor mounted on it, which can act as a guide scope for the C14 or as a wide field scope for independent exploration. A third telescope, a Celestron C8 is on a CGE mount, which is an eight inch SCT telescope and is used outdoors to supplement the C14 for large groups. The observatory houses three cameras that are used with the telescopes. A Peltier cooled Atik 16IC monochrome CCD camera serves as both an imaging camera and a guide camera, while a 15 mpixel Canon 50D serves as the main imaging camera. In addition the observatory has a NexImage 640 X 480 camera that can provide live views of the heavens that can be displayed downstairs on the 24 inch LCD screen, and in the future, on the web at the "Live Access" page. The focuser used on the SDO-C14 is a Starlight Instruments Feather Touch 2015BCR, which was kindly donated to the observatory to support its educational programs for scouts and central Texas students.

AP1200GTO The mount for the C14 is an Astro Physics AP1200GTO capable of a 140 lb load. The mount will track and guide well past the meridian in either direction if the object is located such that the telescope will clear the pier. This allows one to set up the mount for a long series of exposures without stopping in the middle to flip sides. One can start the telescope under the mount while pointing at an object in the eastern part of the sky and track it all the way deep into the western sky. In addition, the mount is fast enough to track satellites, for example, fast satellites like the Iridiums have been tracked from one horizon to another.

Now the Sundance Observatory is going even more green, by powering the mount, dome, observatory and weather computer, an Apple MacMini, from solar power. A four solar panel 20 watt array charges the mount battery when needed and two 135 watt solar panels charge the dome and computer batteries (a total of four 220 Ah 6V batteries) so that most all of the power to the Sundance Observatory is now solar. So now its name "Sundance Observatory" is even more appropriate.








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