2018 July

2018-07-25 Where is Smokey the Bear when you need him?

Forest fires are raging in western Canada, with nearly 600 fires in British Columbia and northwestern Alberta. The dry conditions experienced here continued all the way down the Rockies and Sierra Nevadas. Lightning, dry conditions, and people appear to be the cause of many of these fires.

Several major fires were blazing in California, including a major fire at Yosemite National Park, less than a two hour drive from SRO.  (Credit: Map exerpt below modified from a Google Maps image).

Leadership decided the best thing was to keep the roof closed on all buildings, and we received an operational update on this situation daily until the smoke began to clear up.

We had to wait until the beginning of August to see some relief.


2018-07-23 Shiny Side Up

The optical filters mentioned below are an essential and expensive part of the imaging system.  They block the unwanted light, and allow just the wavelengths we need to reach the CCD camera imaging sensor.

A common question every body asks - which way do they go in?

They go shiny side up - toward the telescope. One side has a more refective appearance, and that needs to go to the source of incoming light, to block everything but the wavelengths (colours) we want to come through. If you put them in backwards, you'll get undesiable reflections, sometimes known as ghost images.  This can be really annoying, as you may think you've suddenly discovered a whole bunch of unknown objects.


2018-07-21 Camera and Jim Goetz arrive in California

We all breathed a sigh of relief when SRO staff confirmed they received the camera on the 19th.

Jim, seen here next to the telescope took dozens of photos of the equipment and site as a reference. Big thanks to Jim for making this extra stop and taking the time to take and send along these images.

Jim G beside the scope


Jim sent us this photo, showing the partially assembled CCD camera. 

STX16803 on Workbench

(We hope the Sierra Nevada bottle is there to show the scale, so you can get a sense of size).

The big square holes are for the optical filters - we have seven, Luminance, Red, Green, Blue, Ha Hydrogen Alpha (deep red), SII Sulphur II (deeper red), O3 Oxygen III (green). 


2018-07-20 Automation Milestone Passed

This is the night when the first of many little emails arrived from the our telescope.

ACPS Successful startup

A big thank you to DC3 Dreams, SP !  Their software helped make this happen.

This was the first time ACP Expert Scheduler let us know it was successful with automatic power-up of everything, automatic launch of all software, automated acquisition of scheduled tasks, and automated shutdown of everything. And no headaches when roof safety system closed the roof in the morning. Worked great. We will have to see how it works after a few days of running and will examine the logs for any anomalies.


2018-07-13 Good news on Friday the Thirteenth - Camera ships!

Diffraction Limited , a key supporter of this project, let us know the new CCD camera left Ottawa for Fresno, California.  (I must have hit "Track Shipment" twice a day since this happened). Exciting stuff!

Of course, without Renata Koziol's help in our office, this never would have happened. She tracked down all the information to enable the RASC's new camera to be shipped to SRO, and deserves a thank-you for her unusual effort that is a bit out of the ordinary. Thanks Renata!


2018-07-11 Yes Jim Goetz Really Is Going

Kitchener-Waterloo Centre member Jim Goetz confirmed he was heading to California - and asked if there was anything he could do to help.  Normally SRO isn't set up for visitors, and frankly it's not safe to be in the buildings as the telescopes can move at any time.  Dr. Helm agreed to give Jim a tour, and Jim agreed to take some photos of the equipment for us. Look for those above.


2018-07-03 Sierra Remote Observatory Weather Monitoring

Mel Helm of SRO kept us up-to-date on forthcoming improvements to the weather safety system at the site.  Meanwhile, Colin began full automation testing - so that the telescope would wake up around sunset, wait for the weather to become safe, and begin any scheduled work or live observing, and then automatically shut down either at the apppointed time or when the weather changed.  This testing would go on for several weeks.

Weather Sensors

This image of some of the weather and sky monitoring sensors courtesy of Jim Goetz, KW Centre.


2018-07-02 A little help from Down-Under

A special thanks to Terry Robison, an ACP and RCOS user based in Australia. He provided some useful information on the equipment and how he has set up some software for similar needs.

Last modified: 
Thursday, January 7, 2021 - 10:47pm