Heaven's Mirror Observatory, Sierra Nevada, CA.

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copyright 2011
Martin Pugh




Every amateur astro-photographer dreams of an opportunity like this; a dark site, good elevation, fabulous seeing, and a high number of imaging nights per year. 

Well, through the tremendous generosity of a chap by the name of Keith Quattrocchi my dream came true on 1 Aug 2011 when I arrived at Sierra Remote Observatories and installed my equipment.

At almost 5000ft elevation, SRO has absolute tremendous seeing.  In the week or two I have been imaging there, stellar FWHM  (raw) has ranged from 1.3" to 1.8", with 1.5"-1.6" being the average.  This link below will take you to a short animation of the collimated CDK, which also shows the fantastic seeing at this location.

Heaven's Mirror will be remotely operated over the internet.  Weather situational awareness is provided by an array of sensors as seen below.

In partnership with Bill Snyder, Heaven's Mirror consists of:
Planewave Instruments 17" CDK with rotating focuser.
Software Bisque Paramount ME (MKS3000) and Bisque 36" Pier
SBIG STi Autoguider
Hitecastro Mount Hub Pro
Apogee U16M with 7 position FW
Astrodon LRGBSIIOIIIHa filters

Finally, I am extremely excited about what this site and this equipment is going to produce, and you only need to look at the images posted on the SRO website to realize that!

 

This is the official first light from the new observatory.

I also wish to acknowledge the following:

Greg Morgan for his help leading up to and during installation. Suffice it to say, that Greg has superb technical understanding of every aspect of remote imaging.
Richard Hedrick of Planewave Instruments for personally delivering my new 17" CDK to SRO on the day!
and Bill Snyder for putting up with my panic attacks.

    

                                 

     

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