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Deep Sky West Remote Observatory - Commencing Operations

astrophotography equipment imaging observatory
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#1 Sixburg


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Posted 21 July 2015 - 07:07 PM

After months of system testing and integration we are officially beginning operations at Deep Sky West (DSW).  DSW is a remote astronomical imaging observatory on Rowe Mesa in Rowe, New Mexico.  This high altitude 35 acre site (7,400 ft., 34 degree latitude, 30 miles SW of Santa Fe) offers dark (21.7 mag/sq arcsec), transparent skies and great seeing for remote imaging.  DSW’s primary audience is the average backyard imager who has a love for the hobby, usually has great equipment, but struggles to find the time or skies to use it the way they had imagined. 


We developed DSW to help imagers overcome the typical roadblocks faced by backyard imagers.  Finding and developing a dark site observatory is no easy task.  We've essentially done all the "dirty work" by choosing a great site, handling construction, maintenance, support, electricity, Internet, security, etc.  All you need do is build a team (or go it alone), and put your equipment to its highest and best use.


The observatory is actually a “roll-off building” on wheels, but we still call it an ROR.  It’s approximately 35’ long and 25’ wide and is fully autonomous.  The design guarantees the building can never come into contact with any telescope regardless of the scope’s orientation.  This allows the observatory to close as needed to protect the equipment…period.


DSW has 9 piers sites.  Conduits to each pier location provide separate paths for data and power cables so there are no cables running along the floors.  An inner stem wall enclosure serves to protect equipment from ground level wind, dust, etc.  The design provides sight lines down to 20 degrees in all directions. DSW is equipped with industry standard instrumentation, on-site support, security and safety features, but at an affordable price without compromise.  For connectivity, we have dual WAN business-class DSL with load balancing and automatic failover running on Cisco Meraki cloud managed network infrastructure. 


The standard pier lease is $700/month.  This is all inclusive.  With the right team comapliment (7 maximum per pier) remote imaging truly becomes affordable.  For imagers without the proper equipment or expertise we have 2 "company teams" you can join (an FSQ + MyT + QSI for $100/ month, and/or an RCOS 14.5" + PME + QSI for $200/month).  Each is operated by experienced remote imagers.  All team members vote on targets and have access to all data collected.  Final images are property of the processor.


Our membership is steadily growing and today we have members (both hosted team "starters" and "joiners") from all over including Australia, California, Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Tennessee, and the U.K. 


I’m glad to answer any question you have.  Clear Skies!


Lloyd Smith

Founding Partner, DSW


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