We are located in Craigieburn, an outer Northern suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Lat: -37.59, Lon: 144.93). Skies here are Bortle Class 5 which is less than ideal but where there's a will there's a way! We constantly strive to obtain the best from the prevaling conditions and equipment we have.
That's half the fun with Astronomy!Join us on our mission to examine the universe and learn along the way.
Currently our main telescope is a Celestron Nexstar Evolution 8HD Edge 60th Anniversary Edition (1 of only 600). We are members of the USER GROUP for this limited edition scope, some of the images captured by users are shown in the accompanying video.
The telescope can be operated at a focal length of 390mm (f1.9) via hyperstar, 1422mm (f7) via focal reducer, 2032mm (f10) native, or longer via barlow lenses.
The main telescope can be fitted with a white light filter to view sunspots (as shown in the following picture).
Also in the picture is the solar telescope mounted on the main telescope. It is a Lunt LS40THa B500 which allows imaging in hydrogen alpha. This allows prominences, filaments, spicules, plage, solar flares and the chromosphere to be recorded.
Various software packages are used to enable operation and monitoring. From controlling dew formation, cameras, mount & dome position.
The image shows Stellarium planetarium software superimposing the local area on the night sky to give an accurate portrayal of what is visible from the observatory.
The all sky camera offers a 360° view of the sky above the observatory. High resolution images are captured and saved for processing and can be converted to movies, creating a timelapse of the sky. This allows recording of meteors passing overhead.
Every so often an image is converted to lower resolution, overlayed with weather information and uploaded to the web for online viewing.
The latest image uploaded is shown on the Sky Now page. If the camera is operating, refreshing the page every so often will show a newer image.
Further developments to follow.