Running the Observatory

Irving Porter Church Refractor

Opening Checklist

  • Remove tarp from telescope
  • Remove restraining bar and open dome slit
  • Remove the dust cover from telescope
  • Remove the piece of wood from the dome driver.
  • Tighten the bolt such that you can just slide your finger between the wheel and the belt
  • Bring the telescope down using the declination knob
  • Replace the original eyepiece with an observing eyepiece
  • Start the clock drive

Flipping the Telescope

  • Unlock the right ascension (RA) knob, and move the telescope using the ship's wheel to the XXIV mark on the brass hour angle dial above the wheel. Lock the RA knob.
  • Unlock the declination knob and move the scope so that it is pointing roughly due north (~90 degrees on the declination dial). Lock the declination knob.
  • IMPORTANT Loosen the RA knob again before flipping. This ensures that the RA brake won't get worn down. The telescope will be easier to flip as well.
  • Using the ship's wheel on the mount, rotate the telescope over the mount until it is pointing to the XXIV mark again on the hour angle dial.
  • Unlock the declination knob and move telescope to desired object.

Closing Checklist

  • Turn off and wind up the clock drive
  • Replace the observing eyepiece with the original eyepiece
  • Make sure the Telrad is off
  • Move the telescope in right ascension to the XXIV mark on the hour angle dial.
  • Park the telescope at 45 degrees so that it is facing due south
  • Rotate dome to face south, and close the slit
  • Replace the restraining bar
  • Put the dust cover back on the telescope
  • Put the tarp back over the scope. Ensure that the end of the finder-scope, the right ascension dial, and the declination dial are all covered
  • Make sure all equipment is put away in the cabinet
  • Turn off all dome/deck lights
  • Close and lock both the deck door and the dome door

† There is a small piece of glow-in-the-dark tape behind the wooden declination knob to distinguish it from the RA knob.

Celestron 14

Opening Checklist

  • Uncinch elastic cable securing telescope cover at its bottom.
  • Gently remove cover being careful to not let it catch on telescope parts.
  • Retrieve eyepiece mount assembly and dew shield from their storage place in the dome and install on telescope.
  • Plug hand paddle into connector at base of telescope if it is not already connected.
  • Plug in telescope to power outlet at base of pier.
  • Check finder alignment with main telescope and adjust if necessary.
  • Acquire a target and share with others!

Closing Checklist

  • Remove the dew shield and eyepiece assembly and store them in the dome.
  • Check the telescope for substantial dew accumulation. If the telescope is wet, retrieve the hair dryer from its storage location in the dome and dry the telescope before covering it.
  • Unplug the power connector from its outlet, coil it and the hand paddle to rest on the top of the telescope pier with the telescope.
  • Carefully cover the telescope with the weatherproof shroud and secure it with the elastic cord wrapped around the base to keep out the elements.

Fuertes Observatory
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