Prior to the autumn of 2002 I transported all of my
gear to remote imaging sites. It is
no easy task to haul and set up hundreds of pounds of equipment after a three
hour drive into the mountains. The
challenge increases when one includes a computer and CCD camera as well as the
power source to run them. After
nearly 14 years of using a portable setup I decided to look for a permanent
site. I live in Las Vegas, NV, so a
backyard observatory is not practical. Fortunately, I made the
acquaintance of an individual who owns a large ranch near the rural community of
Ash Meadows, NV which is located 90 minutes northwest of Las Vegas. I found an ideal site on his property to construct a building with an
adjacent concrete pad. In
the arid Southwest, an unoccupied observatory is subject to blowing dust and the
invasion of undesirable crawling pests. For
this reason I chose not to construct a traditional roll-off roof observatory
since I visit the site only a few days each month.
Instead I store my pre-assembled setup in a sealed, climate-controlled
building and image outdoors under the stars.
telescopes and mount are attached to a pier which is welded to a sturdy aluminum
pallet. Using a pallet jack, the entire setup is easily removed from the
building over to the nearby imaging station.
Permanent markers accurately align the pallet and pier to the pole.
This setup is described in detail on the Imaging
Equipment & Techniques
Click on the thumbnail images below to view Ash Meadows Observatory: