Remote Observatory at e-Eye, Spain
I am fortunate to have teamed up with a like-minded fellow imager, Steve Milne, and we have a jointly owned and operated remote observatory at Entre Encinas y Estrellas or E-Eye in Spain. The site is about 1.5 hrs drive north of Sevilla in the heart of very rural Extremadura near to the town of Fregenal de la Sierra.
At the time of our installation in early November we were the first team in their fourth observatory, Apollo IV. Construction of this unit was just being completed as we arrived. The surrounding groundwork for paths and driveway is to be completed along with finished cladding.
Apollo IV observatory
Below is the rig and electrical cabinet housing the majority of the supporting hardware that permits remote management.
Rig atop its pier
The imaging rig comprises:
1. Mount: 10 Micron GM1000HPS
2. Scope: Takahashi FSQ106 imaging at its native F5
3. Camera: QSI683wsg-8
4. Filters: Astrodon E Series Gen II LRGB Broadband and 5nm Narrowband filters
5. Flat Fielding: Alnitak/Optec Flip-Flat
6. Lakeside Astro stepper motor auto focuser
The black cabinet in front houses the management hardware:
1. Windows 10 pc
2. APS UPS to manage safe shutdown in the case of a power cut
3. Lunatico Astronomia's Dragonfly, an IP power and sensor hub that manages all of the elctrical systems providing remote control of switching over the internet and a suite a scripting capability
4. Lunatico Astronomia's Solo for pushing weather data to Ascom's safety switch; this is connected to an AAG Cloudwatcher mounted to the observatory roof structure
5. Ethernet switch hub
6. DC power distribution for the dew strap and focuser
7. Astromi.ch's MGBox which provides pressure, temperature and time data for the mount
8. IP camera mounted on top of the cabinet.
The roof is constructed and controlled by Talon6 and integrates into the system via a USB lead. Our imaging software of choice is Main Sequence Software's "Sequence Generator Pro" which brings together each system and co-ordinates the devices and imaging rig across a whole evening's sequencing.
Staff at E-Eye have been very supportive throughout the design, configuration and installation process and facilities are superb.