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One Pier Available For Lease

Great news!  We will have a pier available NOW. Pier rental is $575 per month and includes electric and internet. Contact us for more information. Experience Bortle 1 sky.

Insight Observatory Has Arrived!

SkyPi has the distinct honor of hosting a 16″ Dream Telescope a Newtonian Astrograph owned by Insight Observatory. Muir Evenden and Michael Petrasko spent a week on site with John for the installation. They were able to see, first hand, the beautiful and clear sky conditions our remote location has to offer. Thanks so much guys. We are happy you enjoyed your stay! John is a fabulous host! I am sad I was not able to be here as well. Jan

Below is a link to their blog that discusses their visit here at SkyPi.

http://www.insightobservatory.com/2017/05/ateo-feeling-at-home-at-skypi.html

 

 

 

Phoenix March for Science April 22, 2017

Along with thousands of other attendees, John and I were there.  The march began at 10:00 a.m. with a rally and public speakers in front of Historic City Hall. After the rally we marched; not only for science and the politics that surround it, but for the real role that science plays in our lives every day. It was estimated the attendance was about 8,000.

Many carried signs and the slogans were fantastic.

  • No science, no beer
  • I’d make a protest pun, but I’m no good atom
  • There is no Planet B (which became a chant during the march)
  • Have you hugged your Higgs boson today?
  • Got plague? Yeah, me neither. Thank a scientist.

Met some wonderful people and had a great time. We are proud that we were able to participate in a wonderful event.

Welcome Insight Observatory!

SkyPi Online Observatory would like to welcome Insight Observatory!

Insight Observatory will house a  16″ Astrograph imaging telescope , named the Astronomical Telescope for Educational Outreach (ATEO), at SkyPi Online Observatory. “Go live is planned for the Spring of 2017. The telescope will be accessible remotely via the internet from classrooms for students as well as the general public to conduct astronomical research projects for science education or just deep-sky imaging.”

We are excited to welcome Insight Observatory and very proud to be affiliated with an organization as active in public education as Insight Observatory.

If you would like to help sponsor the ATEO Project just copy the link in your URL.

http://www.insightobservatory.com/p/telescope.html

AstroImage- NGC 6992, The Rest of the Veil Story – Bob Rieger

“The last astro image I recently sent was NGC 6960, the Western Veil Nebula.  As you may remember, it is a remnant of a supernova explosion that occurred to a nameless star in the constellation of Cygnus some 3,000 to 6,000 years ago.  The shock waves of gas from the explosion formed a spherical shell moving outwards from the dying star.  While most of the shock wave is invisible to us, several of it’s brighter arcs are detectable by the eye using special filters.  Photographically, the shock waves of oxygen, hydrogen and sulfur are readily detectible.
I mentioned in my last email my next image would be of NGC 6992, the Eastern Veil Nebula.  That image is attached, and while it is similar to NGC 6960, you can see differences in the amount of oxygen (blue) and hydrogen (red).  It is believed the shock waves are relatively thin.  This is what causes the appearance of filaments of gas, since they are only visible when they line up along our line of sight.  The twisting of the filaments are actually undulations in the surface of the spherical shock wave that is moving outwards.
In order to provide a bit of perspective, here is a small graphic from the internet which shows the entire nebula in infrared light, with the major structures indicated.  The approximate center is where the original star explosion occurred:
ngc6992
Now, when you examine my attached image, you can get a sense of the overall size as compared to the relatively small area I am imaging.  The entire nebula is believed to be some 70 light years in diameter, at a distance of almost 1500 light years.  This nebula resides in the next closest arm of our Milky Way Galaxy.
 ngc-6992-eastern-veil
By the way, when you look at the internet photo, and the names of the nebula, you will note a rather curious thing.  It is not a mistake, but can you see it?
Do you see the designations of East and West confused?  Well, they are not- it’s just a matter of reference.  On the surface of the Earth, East and West are defined by meridians of longitude running left or right from the prime meridian.  In the sky, the reference point is is not from the surface of the Earth, but rather an imaginary vantage point infinitely far away where the observer is looking DOWN upon the Earth.  Now you can see the familiar orientation of West and East being left and right, respectively!
Hope you enjoy my image of NGC 6992, the Eastern Veil.”
Bob Rieger

AstroImage- NGC 6960, A Celestial Wedding – Bob Rieger

ngc-6960“Our home observatory in Tucson was dismantled, and the telescope equipment was moved to a very dark sky location in Pie Town, New Mexico.  Our friends, John and Janet Evelan, own SkyPi Remote Observatory, and the equipment is set up and operational in one of their pod observatory buildings.  I now operate the telescope completely by remote control over the internet from my home in Rhode Island!  The technology is amazing, and with the help of John and Jan I can conduct great imaging under extremely clear and dark skies at an elevation of about 7900 feet.

So, the telescope has now seen first light, and I have captured and processed my first image at SkyPi Observatory.  The attached image is NGC 6960, the Bridal Veil Nebula.  It is a section of the much larger Veil Nebula, located in the direction of the constellation of Cygnus, the Swan.  The Milky Way runs right through Cygnus, and therefore this part of the sky is very rich in celestial wonders.
But let’s examine NGC 6960.  It is part of a supernova remnant.  About 15,000 years ago, an unknown star died in Cygnus.  It had exhausted it’s nuclear fuel, and after successively fusing elements up to Lead, it could no longer exert outward pressure against the ultimate force of gravity.  In a matter of seconds the star, which was about 8 times the mass of our own sun, detonated in an inconceivably monstrous explosion.  This explosion produced more light than a billion stars.  In fact, if our Cro-Magnon distant ancestors were looking at the night sky, they would have witnessed a new star visible even in daylight for a few months.
The shock wave of that star has been moving outward for the past 15,000 years at velocities of several million miles per hour.  Today, the spherical bubble of that exploding shell is about 80 light years across.  While it is extremely faint, several arcs of the shell are brighter, and can be imaged in visible light.  NGC 6960, the Bridal Veil, is one of 3 major bright arcs.  I don’t think the nickname of “Bridal Veil” needs much explanation- it is beautifully lacy and delicate.
When you examine the Bridal Veil closely, you can see a fantastic array of gas streamers twisting and turning.  The ferocious winds of the explosion pushed out the star’s matter, and as it slammed into other dense gas in the vacuum of space, mixing turbulence created the wonderful shapes we see today.  The various colors are created by ionized hydrogen, oxygen and sulfur.
The extremely bright star, 52 Cygni, is not part of the Veil Nebula.  The nebula lies at an estimated distance of 1470 light years from us.  52 Cygni is only 201 light years away, close enough for astronomers to have measured an accurate parallex distance.  52 Cygni is interesting in it’s own right.  Spectroscopic measurements indicate it really is a triple star system, although the star components are too close together to be imaged visually.  The primary component is about 8 times the diameter of our sun and some 80 times brighter.
NGC 6960 is also referred to as the Western Veil.  I am presently imaging NGC 6962, the Eastern Veil.  That will be the subject of the next astroimage.”
Bob Rieger

PIER AVAILABLE AUGUST 1st

Great news!  We will have a pier available on August 1st. Pier rental is $650 per month and includes electric and internet. Contact us for more information. Experience Bortle 1 sky.

Route 60 Astronomy Corridor Proposal

The industrialized world suffers from the dwindling availability of truly dark skies in dry and high altitude locations. This precious resource for astronomy can be found in only a few places in the continental United States. New Mexico has the blessing of being counted among one of the last places in the southwest, and indeed in the continent, that is still free from light pollution. It is currently relatively well served by roads.

The Route 60 Corridor, proposed in this document suggests the creation of an economic development and science support region along this portion of New Mexico territory.

Currently within the Route 60 Corridor we find The Magdalena Ridge Observatory (MRO) and the Magdalena Ridge Interferometer both managed through New Mexico Tech, The Very Large Array and a Very Long Baseline Array antenna, (VLA/VLBI), both managed by the National Radio Observatory, and at least eight private observatories with research grade instrumentation.

Three of these facilities are current commercial ventures and aspire to participation in the educational aspect of astronomy. The Pie Town area is the last high, dry and dark location accessible to the ordinary citizen and entrepreneur. Astronomy business in southern New Mexico is dependent on access to broadband internet to thrive.

The availability of better communications and transportation infrastructure would stimulate the region economically and provide remotely operated facilities, astro tourism infrastructure and private and public educational collaborations. Broadband would create a global marketplace for astronomy edicated establishments in rural and underserved Catron County.

We are proposing the establishment of a science support corridor that will preserve and extend the radio quiet zone that already exists, establish and protect a light pollution free zone for the benefit of current and future astronomical based organizations, both private and publicly funded for the economic and educational benefit of the people of New Mexico.

This project calls for:

1- Establishing a state sponsored “astronomy preserve” that would protect the corridor from the encroaching light and radio pollution that has eroded the scientific value of many other locations around the country. Examples of this erosion include Mt. Palomar and Mt Wilson in California as well as Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona. All have seen their scientific relevance degraded or destroyed by uncontrolled increase in light and radio pollution. We wish to avoid this in New Mexico.

2- Establishing a fiber optic network that would make possible the economic, scientific, and educational exploitation of the region’s atmospheric qualities. This preserve is expected to benefit both private and public enterprises and extend the region’s role in astronomy science and pedagogy to world recognition. We wish to protect and empower current and future generations of astronomers.

3- Pave the road to existing high altitude facilities such as Magdalena Ridge Observatory and establish dedicated public astronomical viewing areas there and perhaps at a second high altitude location, destined for general use of private and public entities.

The authors of this document petition the Round House and Elected Leaders of New Mexico to include this project in their economic and community development plans and funds allocation. This document originates from the community of astronomy dedicated citizens around Pie Town and the Route 60 corridor in general.

We wish to enter into planning and negotiation discussions with relevant state and academic officials to promote the Route 60 Astronomy Preserve. We are aware that this requires not only compliance with existing economic development law but also the writing and passage of general dark and quiet sky legislation at the state and county level.

Private Economic Development Model.

Private and public astronomy worldwide has benefited greatly from the advancement of telescope and robotic technology. Currently it is possible to access and manipulate telescopes over the internet, and to create fully automated telescope systems. This type of “remote astronomy” location is here now in Pie Town. In 2015 the enabling technology for this is accessible to serious amateur astronomers and modest educational facilities around the world. These facilities can service the private and public sectors alike by hosting remote telescopes for clients worldwide or by renting out time on private telescopes for use by educational or commercial institutions around the world.

The scarcity of good sky and the availability of broadband create a favorable environment for the Pie Town area to grow. For institutions and private users around the world it is convenient to access a telescope remotely in the night side of the planet, during day local hours. Broadband would make this possible.

The route 60 Corridor has the geographic elevation, the atmospheric dryness, transparency, steadiness and lack of light pollution that make up a unique and highly valuable resource. The corridor is lacking the proper broadband access to exploit this reality and attract further private, institutional and public investment to the region.

There are seven private astronomy facilities around Pie Town. These have been established independently from one another. All were attracted to the region because of its unique and favorable conditions for astronomy. Some of these facilities are currently engaged in “for profit” activities. Others aspire to that status and yet others are entirely non-commercial facilities.

SkyPi Remote Observatory

SkyPi Remote Observatory (SkyPi) is located in the Top of the World subdivision. It is currently the leader in the corridor for commercial development of astronomy. SkyPi aspires to commercial success similar to that achieved by New Mexico Skies in Sunspot, New Mexico. This private observatory currently hosts 40 astronomical instruments and operates with the assistance of three full time technicians and two very active owner operators. SkyPi currently hosts five astronomical instruments and is already building facilities for two more clients. It is relevant to convey that New Mexico Skies has seen the need to buy-up all available bandwidth, as it has become unclaimed. SkyPi also aspires to provide service to educational institutions by providing cost effective facilities or renting out of telescope time. Currently they are negotiating with Western Ontario University for the installation of a planetary research array. SkyPi is owned and operated by one couple with two part time technicians to support their expanding operation.

Top of the World

Top of the World, itself going venture, aspires to establish a telescope hosting facility of its own. It is already a thriving real-estate development and has included dark skies in its covenants to promote and insure profitable access to this emerging market. Top of the World has dedicated 30 acres of its holdings to astronomical use and has plans to establish nine permanent pads for telescopes as well as an annual star party to promote astro-tourism. There are four private observatories in Top of the World Subdivision including SkyPi.

Gama Cygni Observatory

Gama Cygni Observatory is located in the Elk Ridge sub division. It aspires to establish itself as a not for profit astronomical research facility and astronomical retreat. A combined research and astronomical bed and breakfast for astronomers. This facility is currently funded but has not yet commenced building its infrastructure. It will be patterned after other successful establishments for astronomy: Sky Watcher’s Inn located in Benson, Arizona and Star Hill Inn near Las Vegas, Nevada. Both of these facilities were put out of business by encroaching light pollution.

Sky Rancher Inn

Sky Rancher is a modest facility that aspires to serving the educational and astro-tourism community by providing large aperture visual experience of the night sky.

Other Private Observatories

There are currently four other private observatories in the vicinity of Pie Town. We expect two additional observatories to establish annually.

Fiber optics for the Corridor: CAT+ION

To permit the thriving of currently operating observatories and to promote the development of the corridor as a whole with remote astronomy facilities and local technical support we propose the creation of a fiber optic network through the engineering offices of Green Lion, Reserve New Mexico. Green Lion is a going telecommunications service and consulting firm. Currently Green Lion is our technical consultant.

CAT+ION (Catron Independent Observatory Network)

A positive ION for STEM and economic advancement in Catron County.

Vision

CAT+ION will be a model of how environment and technology can cooperatively support small rural communities while enhancing scientific pursuits and discoveries of astronomers worldwide. SkyPi is pioneering a distributed observatory model which leverages a pristine natural environment for observation integrated with a community committed to protecting their dark sky. CAT+ION will connect those distributed observatories with astronomers around the world through a network dedicated to low-latency streaming of video and photographic images of our heavens. In essence, SkyPi’s vision with CAT+ION broadband connectivity to the internet will allow those in metropolitan areas to share a slice of SkyPi and see their Milky Way remotely. CAT+ION will be a rural broadband network with connectivity to internet corridors dedicated to high resolution data transport supporting the successful achievement of astronomical pursuits.

Project Scope

High definition video transport to enhance and support astronomical pursuits requires a network dedicated to that mission. Traditional local exchange carriers whose mission is more diverse than serving one transport function have limitations but have resources and routes which can serve CAT+ION’s objectives. The project cost and operational expenses will be dependent on the cooperation between local phone and electrical utilities in accomplishing the needed connectivity between Pie Town and the internet hub in Socorro, initially. CAT+ION will consist of an architecture which accomplishes Fiber-to-the-Observatory (FTTO) the traditional “last mile” connectivity with manageable connectivity and future growth capacity. Traditional long-haul backbone architecture, cabling and technology will be chosen to enhance long term capacity. The ability to expand broadband connectivity in the region to schools, utilities, commercial or other users who may require connectivity beyond traditional DSL. Green Lion would create CAT+ION’s sustainable network architecture and engineering estimates for the projects initial capital expenditures and projections of operational cost over an initial five year projection as SkyPi’s senior technical project consultant. Green Lion through would also lead efforts to coordinate and cooperate with local telecommunication service providers and electrical utilities to establish routes and relationships with the aim of creating beneficial relationships which enhance CAT+ION’s goals.

Project Technical Lead

Green Lion LLC is a 2 year technical service and sales organization located in a traditionally underserved wilderness community within Catron County. We bring 30 years of experience as a senior communications engineer and network architect to the region with certifications in advanced optical networks with a specialty in deterministic low-latency transport. Led by Reese Janca and Kaarin Goncz who combine industry and university work experience to provide services from consulting through system integration, installation and maintenance local to the regions internal and external commercial, government and utility organizations.

 

Catron County Astronomy Association

Ignacio Cisneros

John Evelan

Janet Evelan

Darrel Moon

Michael Robinson

Tom Bauman

Tom Csurilla

and others

Meet the SkyPi Remote Observatory Team!!!!

SkyPi now has a Team page to announce the members of our team and give everyone an opportunity to meet each member.

First and foremost is John Evelan, the founding member of SkyPi. Without his skill, dream and tenacity SkyPi would not exist. He is always looking for new and innovative ways to improve operations. His desire is to make remote imaging affordable to the general astronomy community.  He has made that desire a reality.

Kevin Brown, our construction foreman/security manager and close friend. He has been with SkyPi from its’ inception and has contributed a lot of blood, sweat and tears. He works with John in the planning and construction of each observatory. Thank you Kevin!

Our newest member, Thomas Felber, is our IT developer and consultant. We are very lucky to have him on our team and he has quickly become a good friend to both John and I. He will soon be imaging at SkyPi so look for some wonderful images to be posted on our website. Tom currently resides in Vienna, Austria and we look forward to his next visit to the U.S.

Last, but not least, is Bob Birkett. Bob and John have been close friends for many years. Bob is the SkyPi astrophotography and imaging consultant. His telescope resides in the Alpha building at SkyPi and you can view some of his latest work on our site as well as Bob’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bob.birket  Bob and his son, Brian, have been a valuable asset during the construction of the observatories.

As for me, Janet Pogue, I am a managing member, accountant, sales/marketing and chief cook and bottle washer for SkyPi Remote Observatories. Have questions about imaging at SkyPi and what it would take? Shoot me an email and I will assist you in any way I can.

In the meantime, peruse the rest of our website and check us out on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SkypiOnlineObservatoryLlc .

2014 Orionid Meteor Shower

In 2014, the shower is expected to peak between October 20 – 21. An almost new Moon will make it easy to view the shower for both Northern and Southern Hemisphere observers.
The Orionid meteor shower is one of the two meteor showers associated with the Comet Halley. It is called Orionids because the meteors seem to emerge or radiate from the constellation Orion.
Orionids tend to be active every year in the month of October, usually peaking around October 20. At its peak, people can view about 20 meteors an hour.
The Eta Aquarids in May is the second meteor shower created by the debris left by Comet Halley. Halley takes around 76 years to make a complete revolution around the Sun. The next time, it will be visisble from Earth will be in 2061.
The Draconids also occur in October. They usually peak around October 7 and October 8.

Where to view the Orionids
The Orionids can be seen by viewers from both hemispheres.
While it is not necessary to look in a particular direction to enjoy a meteor shower – just lay down on the ground and look directly above and you are bound to see some meteors – astronomers suggest that observers in the Northern Hemisphere look towards the southeastern sky, while those in the Southern Hemisphere look at the northeastern sky.

When to view the Orionids
The best time to view the Orionids is just after midnight and right before dusk.

http://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/meteor-shower/orionid.html

 

 Debris from Halley's comet (pictured above) causes the annual Orionid metoer shower. NASA/ESA/Max-Planck-Institute for Solar System Research

Debris from Halley’s comet (pictured above) causes the annual Orionid metoer shower.
NASA/ESA/Max-Planck-Institute for Solar System Research