The design is a variation on the roll-off roof concept, with the roof split in two allowing each half to be moved independently, either by hand, or remotely by a modified garage door opener.
The entire operation is powered by a 120w solar panel which charges two large 200 AmpHr deep cycle batteries via a solar controller. An inverter provides 240v AC from the 12v DC battery source, although much of the equipment runs directly from the battery12v supply. In short, I image the stars using recycled energy collected from our own nearby star.
A wall mounted internet camera provides live video streaming of the observatory allowing remote monitoring of the setup.
Click here or on the image right for a page detailing the observatory construction.
The computerised mount, CCD cameras, lighting, and roof positioning are controlled by a small Netbook (HP 1001TU) equipped with a "Velleman K8055" USB interface board, which itself is controlled using the "Licht 24 Pro" software package . A wireless network provides access to the netbook from inside the house via VNC, which in turn is accessible remotely via the internet from anywhere in the world.
Losmandy G11 Equatorial Mount with a Gemini Computerised GoTo System (Level 4)
6 inch Astro-Physics StarFire Apochromatic Refractor (f/8.5 circa 1990 model)
10 inch Meade SCT Telescope (f/10, with f/6.3 focal reducer). This was an LX200 tube assembly that I removed from the forks to allow mounting on the G11
Televue 76mm Apochromatic refractor – can be either piggy-back mounted on the G11 (used as a guide scope) or used on independently on a Takahashi Teegul Sky-Patrol mount.
Santa Barbara Instrument Group ST-2000XM dedicated Astronomical CCD camera
Santa Barbara Instrument Group ST-402ME Astronomical Guiding CCD camera
Dew Heater system designed by Christchurch company 43°S Astro
Philips Toucam Pro 740 Webcam for planetary imaging
HP 1001TU Netbook running Licht 24 Pro, Starry Night Pro and Gemini Control Panel. CCDSoft is used for deep sky imaging.