British Astronomical Association
Supporting amateur astronomers since 1890

Secondary menu

Main menu

Home Forums General Discussion
Terms of use

Remote observing opportunity?

12 posts / 0 new
Last post
andrew.j.smith1905's picture
Offline
Last seen: 24 min ago
Joined: 02/12/2016 - 12:22
Remote observing opportunity?

Given the weather in my part of the world my kit is an increasingly wasted investment. I have looked at moving it to a remote European location with good clear skies but, the costs are quite high ( ~ £300 per mth) and I probably could not process all the data I could potentially generate.

These considerations have led me to make the following offer.

I would be happy to donate my kit to a small group of BAA members or the BAA as an institution to set up and jointly fund on an ongoing basis a remote observing facility for photometry and spectroscopy.

If individuals, I would think five including me would be a good number giving about a night’s worth of observing a week each.

The kit I have is a Paramount MEII with the Sky X on Desktop PC and an Orion Optics ODK 16. Together with and FLI an Atlas focuser and various two backs ends.

One has an Optec rotator with filter wheel and ASI1600mm CMOS camera for V,B photometry and SA200 spectroscopy. The second has a Foresight Innovations ONAG with a FLI ML8300 CCD acquisition camera, Shelyak Fibre Guide-head with Utrastar guide camera etc. plus fibre fed spectroscope (although this would need some modifications for higher night time temperatures and might not be fully practical).

Obviously happy to consider other backend options.

I realise swapping would require manual intervention but it could be made quite simple as the core system is very robust. Maybe one is enough in any case.

I would like to know if anyone is seriously interested in taking part in such a venture and or would the BAA as an institution be interested?

I would expect it to result in a formal agreement so it is clear what happened to the kit when I pass on, members drop out etc.

Regards Andrew

Americo Watkins's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 hours 45 min ago
Joined: 11/03/2014 - 13:12
Remote Observing

Hi Andrew,

have sent you a short reply on BAA  address.

Eric

Richard Miles's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 days 22 hours ago
Joined: 07/03/2014 - 16:09
Remote observing opportunity?

What a great suggestion, Andrew!

The kit you describe would be very effective operating in remote telescope-mode.

The ODK 16 is a very multipurpose scope and you look to have focussing sorted out: stability of focus is an important factor in remote operation.

Am sure there are several BAA members who would be seriously interested in your proposal - I can't speak for the Association but would be happy to discuss with you and others offline.

Clear skies,

Richard Miles

andrew.j.smith1905's picture
Offline
Last seen: 24 min ago
Joined: 02/12/2016 - 12:22
Will be in touch

Hi Richard, will get back to all who have expressed an interest in a few days. Still space if others are  interested.

Focus is important. Yhe Atlas can be trained for temperature compensation and The Sky X focus routines can be scripted. The carbon fibre tube of the ODK seems quite stable.

Regards Andrew 

Xilman's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 49 min ago
Joined: 24/03/2018 - 15:17
I could may be offer a site in La Palma.

Don't know whether it is relevant, but I have a spare concrete pad in La Palma.  It's 4m square, around 20cm thick and has been used by a European university physics department as the site of a robotic telescope.  Power and ethernet are laid on but there is no other infrastructure right now.  A Google maps image is available at https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@28.6419037,-17.8677037,123m/data=!3m1!1e3 which shows the orange circle painted on the slab.  To its left is Kevin Hills' robotic observatory and to its right is mine.

nickjames's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 47 min ago
Joined: 12/10/2013 - 18:16
Kevin's talk on setting up

Kevin's talk on setting up his remote observatory at your place on LP is here. It's worth watching to see how much commitment is required to keep things working. I think this is something that the BAA should certainly consider but I'd be interested on thoughts about whether to do it this way or use a fully supported PAYG system such as iTelescope.

Xilman's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 49 min ago
Joined: 24/03/2018 - 15:17
Hosting

Andrew has turned down my offer of free hosting for the BAA, including power, internet and tech support.

The pad is still available, either to a private individual (in which case I would charge the same as Kevin now pays and would provide the same service) or for at most a peppercorn rent to the BAA if the observatory were to be used for charitable purposes.

Richard Miles's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 days 22 hours ago
Joined: 07/03/2014 - 16:09
Tacande Observatory

Yes - I visited here when Joan G. owned the place. It would be a suitable site for sure.

La Palma is relatively easy to get to from the UK and a good holiday destination too.

nickjames's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 47 min ago
Joined: 12/10/2013 - 18:16
I've been to LP many times

I've been to LP many times and I wouldn't say that it was that easy to get to. Sites around southern Spain are much better served by frequent easyJet (other low cost airlines are available) flights. This is a consideration when you need to go out to repair something.

Xilman's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 49 min ago
Joined: 24/03/2018 - 15:17
Getting to LP.

We're flying out in 36 hours time.  LP isn't as easy to get to as GC or TF, I fully agree,  but it aint that difficult either.  There are direct flights once a week from MAN and LGW.  On this occasion, all the flights LGW->SPC were fully booked.  From where we are in Cambridge, STN is a much nicer option anyway, so we are taking Ryanair STN->LPA and then Binter for the LPA->SPC hop.  Really not that difficult.

gasman's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 days 17 hours ago
Joined: 05/02/2015 - 20:08
Very generous!

Hi Andrew

That is an amazing and generous gesture and one I’m sure the BAA will welcome with open arms!. The weather in my neck of the woods has also stopped spectro for some time now which is a shame as we are having dark friendly street lights installed in the area!.

Steve

andrew.j.smith1905's picture
Offline
Last seen: 24 min ago
Joined: 02/12/2016 - 12:22
Next step

I have sent an email to all I think wanted to be involved. If you didn't get it and want to be involved send me an email and I will include you.

Regards Andrew