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New 24" Planewave at Lowell Observatory

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#1 rockethead26

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 04:04 PM

On the 18th, we installed a new 24" CDK into the old McAllister dome where the 16" Boller & Chivens had lived for 20 years. This scope will be used for the public program on busy nights, for special group events and for research after midnight when needed by our astronomers. It is now named the Brian Dyer Telescope and Dome.

 

The dome will now be renewed inside and we need to get the dome automation reconfigured to work without the old DOS based MOVE program that is still used on our research telescopes. This telescope will be pointed with an iPad using Sky Safari as are all the telescopes in the new Giovale Open Deck Observatory.

 

We expect this new telescope to be open to the public by early May.

 

Here's some pics of the installation that will be over the new few posts:

 

This is Eric from Planewave who flew in to help with the install. That's the new L-600 mount.

 

Dyer 24 Planewave Installation 1.JPG


Edited by rockethead26, 22 February 2020 - 10:18 AM.

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#2 rockethead26

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 04:07 PM

Ready to hoist with the crane. On the left is Jeff, our technical Facilities Manager, Eric and our Project Manager, Dave.

 

 

Dyer 24 Planewave Installation 2.JPG

 

 

Coming thru the slit in the dome:

 

 

Dyer 24 Planewave Installation 3.JPG

 

 


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#3 rockethead26

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 04:09 PM

Careful!!!

 

 

Dyer 24 Planewave Installation 4.JPG

 

 

Wrenching it onto the pier:

 

 

Dyer 24 Planewave Installation 5.JPG


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#4 rockethead26

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 04:11 PM

Securing the 24" for the hoist:

 

 

Dyer 24 Planewave Installation 6.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#5 rockethead26

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 04:13 PM

Look out for flying telescopes!

 

 

Dyer 24 Planewave Installation 7.JPG

 

 

There was a little breeze blowing on this one. No strikes though!

 

 

Dyer 24 Planewave Installation 8.JPG

 

 


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#6 rockethead26

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 04:15 PM

All mounted and balanced:

 

 

Dyer 24 Planewave Installation 9.JPG

 

 

Later that night, all ready to start creating a pointing model:

 

 

Dyer 24 Planewave Installation 10.JPG


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#7 Joe1950

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 05:39 PM

How many eyepieces do you get with that?

 

Just kidding. grin.gif 

 

That's amazing!  And the sky there must be great.  Enjoy!!!!!


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#8 GoFish

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 05:51 PM

Nice toys ya got there.


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#9 rockethead26

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 06:25 PM

How many eyepieces do you get with that?

 

Just kidding. grin.gif

 

That's amazing!  And the sky there must be great.  Enjoy!!!!!

I know you're joking and the CDK came with none of course, but it did get a new set of EPs since this is primarily for visual use. Skies are dark and transparent on a lot of nights, but until recently, we had about 6 weeks of bad seeing.

 

41 Panoptic @ 97X

30 ES 82° @ 132X

17 ES 92° @ 233X

12 ES 92° @ 330X

6 Delite @ 660X for those special nights.

 

PS, first light views were really nice with pinpoint stars to the edge and no real noticeable contrast loss from the large secondary. This is an f/6.5 scope.


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#10 Joe1950

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 01:59 AM

I took the opportunity to visit the PlaneWave website and read their information on the CDK-24 and L-600.  What a fantastic combination of telescope and mount. You must be overjoyed with that equipment!

 

Congratulations and a wish to have many years of wonderful observing!

joe


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#11 rockethead26

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 09:30 AM

I took the opportunity to visit the PlaneWave website and read their information on the CDK-24 and L-600.  What a fantastic combination of telescope and mount. You must be overjoyed with that equipment!

 

Congratulations and a wish to have many years of wonderful observing!

joe

Thanks, Joe. The 24" makes the third CDK in the public program's array of scopes. There is also a 14"/L-350 combo and a 17"/L-500 combo. Both of these are used with instruments instead of visually. The 14" uses a Malincam SkyRaider DS-10cTEC and the 17" a Shelyak LISA spectrograph and are part of the new Giovale Open Deck Observatory. We are very fortunate to have many wonderful donors that make these educational opportunities possible.


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#12 GoFish

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 09:37 AM

Thanks, Joe. The 24" makes the third CDK in the public program's array of scopes. There is also a 14"/L-350 combo and a 17"/L-500 combo. Both of these are used with instruments instead of visually. The 14" uses a Malincam SkyRaider DS-10cTEC and the 17" a Shelyak LISA spectrograph and are part of the new Giovale Open Deck Observatory. We are very fortunate to have many wonderful donors that make these educational opportunities possible.

I can’t wait to get back out to Flag and stop by again!  The new facilities sound incredible (and I assume Flag still has a good array of foamy adult beverages). 



#13 rockethead26

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 09:42 AM

I can’t wait to get back out to Flag and stop by again!  The new facilities sound incredible (and I assume Flag still has a good array of foamy adult beverages). 

Give us a couple of months to get the new Dyer scope/dome finished and then come on by. May is usually a wonderful time to visit! I think we now have 8 or 9 (I lost count) local breweries in town, so yes, plenty of foamy beverages available to suit all tastes.

 

Cheers!



#14 B l a k S t a r

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 10:14 AM

Marvin! I've been seeing lots of good stuff about your local and observatory stations and am chomping at the bit to get down there.  Amazing looking facility.


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#15 dustyc

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 02:01 PM

Jim, you are having WAY to much fun up there! waytogo.gif

How sweet it must be popping the wrapping on those babies. 


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#16 rockethead26

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 02:08 PM

Jim, you are having WAY to much fun up there! waytogo.gif

How sweet it must be popping the wrapping on those babies. 

It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it. 


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#17 N3p

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 02:21 PM

That's a beautiful observatory, telescope and mount Rockethead26. It's nice to receive new things on a beautiful day also.


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#18 Geo31

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Posted 04 March 2020 - 06:12 PM

Way cool!  Was just there on the 19th last month.  Really enjoyed the facility and the programs.

 

The outreach program was really cool.  We had some clouds roll in early, but they rolled back out pretty quickly.  The EAA using the Malincam was pretty cool.

 

My only disappointment (as with most outreach programs BTW) was just showing the same old things, i.e., M42 (both the 32" tracking dob and the 26" Clark), M82 (32" dob).  I asked about some more interesting objects and got a disinterested "nah."


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#19 Tyson M

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Posted 04 March 2020 - 06:29 PM

Amazing scope and mount!!! That would be outstanding to look through.


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#20 Kent10

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Posted 04 March 2020 - 06:32 PM

I just visited and viewed M42 through the 32" as well.  I tried to get them to move to M82 to compare it with what was seen in the 8" refractor, wide view, but they didn't want to smile.gif.  I did convince them to look at M46 because a boy requested to see a planetary and M57 and M27 were gone.  I also convinced them to look at M1 in the 32"  Large and bright but not much detail that night.  M42 was also in the Clark but they had to shut it down due to wind that night.  The Double Cluster in the Tec 140 was amazing.  Perfectly steady.  Tecs are amazing and 2 of the operators exclaimed the Tec was their favorite scope there.


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#21 rockethead26

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Posted 04 March 2020 - 10:46 PM

Way cool!  Was just there on the 19th last month.  Really enjoyed the facility and the programs.

 

The outreach program was really cool.  We had some clouds roll in early, but they rolled back out pretty quickly.  The EAA using the Malincam was pretty cool.

 

My only disappointment (as with most outreach programs BTW) was just showing the same old things, i.e., M42 (both the 32" tracking dob and the 26" Clark), M82 (32" dob).  I asked about some more interesting objects and got a disinterested "nah."

Hi George,

 

Thanks for visiting Lowell. Most of the scopes will change objects 2 or 3 times per night. Did you go back more than once? Not sure about the "Nah" comment, that's not how the educators normally respond to questions. Apologies if that actually happened.


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#22 rockethead26

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Posted 04 March 2020 - 10:54 PM

I just visited and viewed M42 through the 32" as well.  I tried to get them to move to M82 to compare it with what was seen in the 8" refractor, wide view, but they didn't want to smile.gif.  I did convince them to look at M46 because a boy requested to see a planetary and M57 and M27 were gone.  I also convinced them to look at M1 in the 32"  Large and bright but not much detail that night.  M42 was also in the Clark but they had to shut it down due to wind that night.  The Double Cluster in the Tec 140 was amazing.  Perfectly steady.  Tecs are amazing and 2 of the operators exclaimed the Tec was their favorite scope there.

Hi Kent,

 

Glad you made it back again. We usually don't put two of the scopes on the same object. They did just have the 32 on M82 a night or two ago while I was there.  The operators have a little leeway to move scopes around on slow nights, but generally the supervisors direct the targeting of the scopes. We have to allow time for all visitors to see all targets on all telescopes. The front desk tells new visitors what objects are currently being viewed and it would not be good to have visitors walk up the hill expecting to see something only to have the scope moved to a different object. That's why, in general, unless it is really slow with visitors the each scope only moves 2-3 times.


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#23 Kent10

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Posted 04 March 2020 - 11:02 PM

Thanks Jim.  That makes sense.  I wondered about calling to see what objects were being viewed before I came.  Especially in the Clark, because I know they wouldn't want to move that one.  The objects seem quite limited in the Clark because they don't want to use ladders.  Is that right?

 

I went on a night that was cold and very slow hoping that they would take requests for objects.  I'll have to go back to see M82 in the 32".  There should be quite a bit of detail.  It has been difficult to tear myself away from my 200 though.

 

The operators were also mostly good about changing eyepieces to try things out.  I appreciated that.  It was fun.  One operator was reluctant, however.  Do they have to pay for the eyepieces if they drop and break one smile.gif?  Has anyone dropped one yet?



#24 rockethead26

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Posted 04 March 2020 - 11:12 PM

Thanks Jim.  That makes sense.  I wondered about calling to see what objects were being viewed before I came.  Especially in the Clark, because I know they wouldn't want to move that one.  The objects seem quite limited in the Clark because they don't want to use ladders.  Is that right?

 

I went on a night that was cold and very slow hoping that they would take requests for objects.  I'll have to go back to see M82 in the 32".  There should be quite a bit of detail.  It has been difficult to tear myself away from my 200 though.

 

The operators were also mostly good about changing eyepieces to try things out.  I appreciated that.  It was fun.  One operator was reluctant, however.  Do they have to pay for the eyepieces if they drop and break one smile.gif?  Has anyone dropped one yet?

The front desk can usually tell you what's currently being viewed, but don't have a list for the night because conditions, both weather and crowd, change in a moment. Things are quite fluid. Remember that we always have new educators on staff and the least experienced may be a little more reluctant to do things with these expensive scopes than the old pros. No one has dropped an eyepiece, and no they wouldn't be required to pay for it. Most of the educators are broke college students, so that would be terrifying for them, considering the EPs are $400-$1100 each.



#25 Kent10

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Posted 04 March 2020 - 11:20 PM

I didn't think they would have to pay.  I was pretty sure she was joking about having to pay if she dropped it.  She had a higher power eyepiece on the Pleiades where you could only see a couple of the seven sisters.  I can certainly understand their reluctance.  I am very careful but I knocked one over the other night on my stand, while wearing gloves.  It was a light eyepiece that landed in the dirt so it only needed a little cleaning.  This happened and I am very careful.  With the amount of viewing I do it is bound to happen again.  I hope I don't drop the 30mm 100 degree on my foot.  It would probably survive but my foot wouldn't.


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