After many years of backyard imaging and driving to dark sites to image the decision was made to give remote imaging a try. First place to look was towards our local club but at the time (2006) remote imaging was not well understood by most amateurs. We were told it was possible to put a dome or roll-off on club property but you would really need to be on premise to use the equipment (of course all that changed within a few years and there are many remote observatory’s at the club now).
The search for dark sky started, we ended up looking in SE New Mexico and found a nice sized property that we could put a dome on and give remote imaging a go. The dome (Technical Innovation 10 Ft Pro Dome) was commissioned in late 2008 and has been running almost every clear night since. The first scope was a Takahshi TOA130 and then a AG Optical 16” Newtonian astrograph was acquired and installed in December of ’12.
A second dome was added in late 2014
In the second dome we have a 12.5 “ AG Optical iDK on a Paramount ME housed in another 10 Ft TI pro Dome. It features a SBIG STXL11002 with the FW8G and Astrodon Gen 2 LRGB filters with a Brader 7nm HA filter. To reach focus an Optec TCS3-Si is used. An Optec Pyxis rotator is also in the image train.
Guiding is via the built in guide chip in the FW in front of the filters..
We have been thinking about adding another dome possibly as provisions have been made for another 10Ft TI Pro dome and maybe even a 20 x 16 roll-off if we have any interest shown in having your own equipment in an area with very dark skies.
The dome can handle up to a 16 inch scope on a Paramount class mount.
If someone is interested, the equipment you would need to supply includes Mount, Scope, Imaging camera, FW, filters, rotator, OAG or guide scope and guide camera, all cables and power supplies, Computer, UPS back up power supply, web switch. We would probably include a pier, internet connection and power.
Its a real pleasure having a remote setup with automation. Its easy to start a run every clear night but the other side is Mr Murphy. All the equipment must be robust as what can go wrong will.
Please drop us a line if you have any questions.
Tom & Suzie