Why Image at SkyPi?

 

What is SKYPi Remote Observatory?

SKYPi Observatory is dedicated to providing the discriminating astrophotographer the ability to image remotely in a superb environment.

An Overview of SKYPi Remote Observatory

The observatory was conceived as an installation by which I could retire and enjoy observing and imaging in the finest sky within reasonable distance from my present home in Mesa, Az.

Pie Town, New Mexico is the location; population approximately 200. It is arguably among the darkest sky sites in the lower 48 states. There are many other advantages that come along with this site. As I began planning the observatory, I realized that sharing and hosting the site was a natural evolution for it. The goal is to make remote observing accessible and more affordable to the astronomy community. Paying more is not always better.

Listed below are advantages that have been shared or experienced over the past six years.

Advantages:

  • Bortle Dark Sky Scale rating = 1.
  • Optimal Seeing conditions; many times under 1.5 arc seconds.
  • High 7,800 foot transparency.
  • Early evening ground and sky energy dissipation.
  • Low tree height providing wide horizon views.
  • Well distributed vegetation offering protection from potentially high winds and dust.
  • Lower potential fire hazard from wide vegetation dispersion.
  • Low annual average snow fall allowing nearly full time access.
  • Temperature extremes within tolerable limits for electronic and human function.
  • The security of an attended subdivision.
  • Very close emergency services. Pie Town has a highly dedicated, well trained fire department.
  • Community CC&R’s that protect the night sky by paralleling International Dark Sky Association recommendations.
  • Subdivision management concerned with dark sky related issues and participates in protection of the pristine environment shared by astronomers and citizens.
  • Other like-minded astronomers and citizens within the community that communicate and support activities related to maintaining this precious dark sky resource.

Observatory Features:

  • High reliability observatory roof function:
  • 2ea, 28” hi, 12” dia. top, 24” dia. x 36”dpth. base, steel reinforced and anchored 3Kpsi concrete piers. 7’ separation.
  • Design 9ft roof clearance that eliminates the possibility of impact with observing equipment.
  • Manual user roof function override.
  • Continuous weather monitoring performs roof closure when potential detrimental weather situations arise.
  • Software interface free, position based, roof open/close function.
  • SMS/text roof position/weather condition alerting.
  • SMS/text power failure alerting.
  • Internal and external video redundancy of observatory roof position, real time sky conditions, and security verification.
  • Surge, lightning, power fail protection with Smart UPS systems on pier and observatory control.
  • 24 hour emergency site service provided by a dedicated, reachable, well equipped and competent technician.
  • Weekly on site/observatory maintenance, inspection, and testing.
  • Satellite provided internet access supplies up to 15mb v, 3mb ^ .
  • Friendly, responsive, experienced service.

The remote nature of the system demands success. After all, we can all imagine, and some experience, the sinking feeling of watching rain or snow falling unimpeded down on all that expensive equipment we gave our left and right arm up for. We’ve acquired the goal and can safely say, “Oh well”, to the rain gods; ready when the inevitable clearing comes. At SkyPi Remote Observatory the mission is to promote the successful achievement of astronomical pursuits above all other aspirations.

Clear Skies,

John Evelan

 

 

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