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AstroTasmania

Southern Cross Observatory

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This is Mark 2, built in 1999, and is a 4-metre diameter rotating structure with three independent sliding observing slits 1-metre wide. Currently houses a homebuilt 12" f/5 Newtonian on an EQ fork with many innovative features and several scopes mounted 'piggy back'. Soon to be replaced with a much larger mounting to hold a 16" home built Newtonian incorporating many of the design features from the 12". Capable of DSLR, Web Cam, Film - 35 & 6x7, Video of various types and Cooled CCD cameras.

A smaller (2.5 metre) "Ocatdome" is being constructed in a a separate location, to house the Alhena GEM with either the systems for Solar, Lunar & Planetary imaging, or the Takahashi 180D f/2.8 Astrograph & Meade SN-10. A starlight Express AO unit with CCD Guide camera will then come in to operation. FS2 controlled with remote operation in mind.

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Wow! I am impressed with your setup. Actually, more like jealous, lol. :thumbsupmate:

Did you make the octa dome from scratch or is that a kit you can buy from somewhere?

Also your mounts, it appears they can carry some serious weight.

The Takahashi is a nice scope. I use a Takahashi E 160. But at some stage I want to move up to a longer focal length scope.

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Holy Cow!

Nice rig AstroTasmania. :cool!: :cool!: :cool!: :cool!: :cool!:

I don't mean to be rude but how much is something like that worth. :hmm:

I want a setup like that for Christmas :yesplease:

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Thank you for the kind remarks, let me assure you that it has taken me 40 odd years to reach this point, and I have no intention of leaving my kids well-off! I can't take it with me so the last 5 years I have bought some ready made gear for a change.

The Anssen Technologies Alhena mount will carry 65 plus kg, the bare head alone weighs in at 35kg, so I am not even touching its capability. Solid as a rock. It has clutches, no locking on Dec and I can add and remove a fair bit of camera gear without having to re-balance anything. As well as a data base in the handset for motor goto, I also plug in an Argo Navis DSC so I can push around the sky for quick viewing with visitors.

The down side is the serious money involved, about 8K for the head and the FS2 controller, plus the Tak Mewlon 210, Tak FS-102, WO 66 Petzval, etc. The stainless and alloy pier I made myself and got the metal at scrap prices.

The images I have just added are the wide sky scopes, Meade SN-10 and Tak Epsilon 180ED.

The "Octadome" is a design I have come up with, which I have to say I have never seen before, so it will be interesting to see how well it all works. I will post pics eventually but it needs help from a great buddy who also helped me build the main dome. The 8 timber frames are made and the colourbond panels are being made by a firm who make sheds and garages etc. I do the digital photography for their brochures, so have a good relationship to get things made.

I have a good engineering workshop of my own and make as much as I can, just love making gear as part of the hobby.

In my 'spare' time I am the Associate Editor for SKY & SPACE Magazine, editor is a misnomer, as I write various articles, review equipment and write a regular column called "Moonlighting". I also write astronomy articles for Tasmania 40 Degrees South, a glossy magazine with a world wide circulation.

Hope this fills in a few more gaps.

Thank you all for your interest, I look forward to contributing whenever I can to this new venture.

Shevill

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3 Takahashi telescopes? Do you have a spare bedroom? :Chessy_Smile:

I imagine you have some dark skies down there in Tassy. Are you away from light pollution? And being South, what is the dew problem like?

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I have no intention of leaving my kids well-off!

When it comes down to owning some nice astro gear or saving some cash so the kids can blow it once I'm dead, I'll take the asto gear anytime. :pipethinker:

The Anssen Technologies Alhena mount will carry 65 plus kg, the bare head alone weighs in at 35kg, so I am not even touching its capability. Solid as a rock. It has clutches, no locking on Dec and I can add and remove a fair bit of camera gear without having to re-balance anything. As well as a data base in the handset for motor goto, I also plug in an Argo Navis DSC so I can push around the sky for quick viewing with visitors.

That is an impressive mount. And I'm impressed and glad that it is Australian made.

http://www.anssentechnologies.com.au/profile.html

What is the pointing accuracy like?

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Anssen Technologies Alhena Mount-Made in Australia

To date I have not used it seriously, until it is installed in its yet to be finished "Octadome" I have not tested out its pointing accuracy etc. I have used it mainly for solar, lunar and planetary stuff as a mobile system. This mount is no longer available and has been replaced by a new and more expensive design.

There was nothing on the amateur market in Australia of this size. I also have an EQ6 Syn Scan, which will carry one of these scopes quite well, easy enough to take anywhere.

The current observatory is not the "Octadome' I refer to. The 4-metre rotating observatory is based on some of the big professional observatories. I planned it as a structure that I could build on a sloping block, essentially all steel which started out as flat material that I could get up the slope by hand bit by bit. I will scan some original film shots and post them in due course as well as the new "Octadome", which I think could be a marketable design.

Regards

Shevill

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Dream Setup

Hello from the SCO at 42 South

One thing I enjoy about astronomy, is the intercommunication with like minded amateurs around the world. Living where we do on an island, at the bottom of the globe, we are a bit remote from the mainstream, so It is very helpful to get feed back. Just one thing, I always like to know where in the world other members live! Would members mind just adding their country/region. I was born in the UK, spent a few years in Germany during my RAF days, spent 7 years in South Australia, so have friends in many corners of the world.

Now all I need are the velvet black skies we used to get here 20 years ago, night after night, a dim memory now.

Here are a few more images of the main dome and what's inside.

Best wishes to all wherever,

Shevill

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