AZcendant Observatory at Rancho Hidalgo, New Mexico

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Our Motorhome parked at the Rancho Hidalgo Site
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Newfoundland Observatory Cluster
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Observatories at Rancho Hidalgo Proper
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Clyde Tombaugh's personal telescope.  (Not the one used to discover Pluto.)
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Deluxe stake showing position where my observatory will be.
23 April 2011
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Deluxe stake.  Looking the other way. 
23 April 2011
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Preparing my Observatory site for pouring of concrete.
5 Jul 2011
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Pouring concrete for my Observatory.
6 Jul 2011
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Working on concrete.

6 Jul 2011
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Clearing pier pads.

6 Jul 2011
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Finished product.

6 Jul 2011
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Pads for roll-off roof supports

6 Jul 2011
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Building similar to mine that was partially complete.  Note "warm room" at right end.  (Actually, in July, I think I need a "cold room."

Three walls up.

1 Nov 2011

Three walls up.

1 Nov 2011

Four walls up and warm room separator.
4 Nov 2011

Four walls up and warm room separator.
4 Nov 2011

Looks like the beginnings of a roof!
20 Dec 2011

(Photo by Jim Riches. Thanks Jim!)


Roof Snow Removal?
Early morning
21 Dec 2011

(Photo by Jim Riches. Thanks Jim!)


Nearly complete.
24 Dec 2011

Thanks Gene and Loy!

Nearly complete.
24 Dec 2011

Thanks Gene and Loy!

Nearly complete.
24 Dec 2011

Thanks Gene and Loy!

Early Morning
29 Dec 2011

Early Morning
29 Dec 2011

Early Morning
29 Dec 2011

Early Morning
29 Dec 2011

Early Morning
29 Dec 2011

Right hand side - Not sure if mirage is right word but cold air flows chopped up distant hills.

Moving items that had been stored for months
29 Dec 2011

Moving items that had been stored for months
29 Dec 2011

Had help from a couple of people who carried these 150 pound piers and placed them upright on the pads.
29 Dec 2011

Interior view
29 Dec 2011

Caps on piers
29 Dec 2011

Caps on piers
29 Dec 2011

Meade and Celestron CGE mounts on piers
29 Dec 2011

Meade and Celestron CGE mounts on piers
29 Dec 2011

First time roof was rolled off
29 Dec 2011

First time roof was rolled off
29 Dec 2011

First time roof was rolled off
29 Dec 2011

View from just outside facing West
29 Dec 2011

I think I'm beginning to be happy
29 Dec 2011

Sand Hill Cranes flying by

1-6 Jan 2012

Work continuing on the Observatory coincident with my work setting things up

1-6 Jan 2012

The LX-200 and the Takahashi TOA-130.

Foreground camera attached is ST-11000.
Also have a TCF-SI temperature controlled focuser in front of the camera.

1-6 Jan 2012

Wires from scopes to power panel

That is the Web Power Switch on the wall that various extension cords are plugged into. It allows power to be turned on or off to 8 different pieces of equipment by remote internet control

1-6 Jan 2012

Very sensitive Black and White camera pointed up at the night sky. Light pollution does not exist so I don't think I can see clouds if they form. That was my original intention... Will revise on next trip to make that a meteor camera.

1-6 Jan 2012

View of the Takahashi TOA-130.

It is in "park" position. I wrote a Visual Basic Script to define "park" position so ACP would know where "park" was.

1-6 Jan 2012

Solenoid panel I created to get the CGE mount back into the "Last Align" mode. There is no other way to do it. You have to physically push buttons on the hand-controller somehow and this allows me to do that remotely.

1-6 Jan 2012

View of the Takahashi TOA-130. It also has a TCF-SI focuser. The camera is a single-shot color ST-4000CM

1-6 Jan 2012

View of the base of the Takahashi TOA-130 showing the power and other control cords.

1-6 Jan 2012

Base of the LX-200 showing the power and other control cords.

1-6 Jan 2012

Warm room computer that controls scopes.

Also shown is the remote controlled video server allowing me to see the position of the telescopes. Also Netgear Firewall handling Internet communications

1-6 Jan 2012

Warm room computer

Computer has a 2 TB disk sitting on it and a box on top of that which contains the Foster board which controls roof opening/closing and determines when magnetic switches show that it is safe to either move the roof or move the telescopes.

Uninteruptable power supply is on the floor.

1-6 Jan 2012

Small room heater. Provided plenty of heat once the door was installed!

1-6 Jan 2012

Additional camera I have not had time to set up yet. Not sure I will continue to leave it mounted in the warm room. I was thinking it could look at the monitor screen but it blanks out after so many minutes... :-)

1-6 Jan 2012

Red light controlled by wall-switch in the warm room.

1-6 Jan 2012

Red light controlled by wall-switch in the telescope room.

1-6 Jan 2012

Susan

1-6 Jan 2012

Scopes with me in background shielding my eyes from the totally unfiltered sunlight.

1-6 Jan 2012

Scopes and Susan who was smart enough to wear sunglasses...

1-6 Jan 2012

Susan behind our observatory.

1-6 Jan 2012

Sunset photo by Susan

1-6 Jan 2012

Sunset photo by Susan

1-6 Jan 2012

Susan near door to warm room

1-6 Jan 2012

Howard near door to warm room.

I'm REALLY happy at this point. Everything works! (With exception of communication with the SBIG ST-4000 under VMWare Virtual Machine. Ran out of time. Will debug next trip.)

1-6 Jan 2012

First remote image - M42.

From inside our motor home parked at the Rancho Hidalgo site. Remotely controlled roof, telescope, camera, etc.

Stack of 10 5-minute Luminance images.

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Early Morning Mirages in March

And yes, I did get VMWare Virtual Machine systems working during this March trip...

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Early Morning Mirages

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Early Morning Mirages

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Howard at outer door. I did the blue paint trim. Thought it would look nice...

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Howard at warm room door

 

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Howard in warm room

 

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Susan at outer door

 

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Susan in warm room

 

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Warm room computer terminal

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My weather monitor (white thing on pole) and my anemometer in foreground

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Howard at edge of observatory looking happy.

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The AZcendant Observatory

 

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The AZcendant Observatory with snow

 

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Water tank with snow

 

 

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Our motor home with snow

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View on the way home.

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View on the way home.

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View on the way home.

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As soon as we crossed the Arizona line!

B1.JPGGene Turner, owner of Rancho Hidalgo.  B2.JPGMine in the area that offers tours.      

Rocketry associated with Rancho Hidalgo

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Couple of rockets ready for launch.
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Rocketry launch pad.
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Picking up the pieces... Parachute failed on this one when chute deployment powder charge failed to ignite.
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Pickup of a successful rocket.  Everything performed perfectly.


Local wildlife at Rancho Hildago

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Turkey Vulture in the area.
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Horned Lizard.  Often called "horney toad."  These almost became extinct in Texas in the 60's when people were selling them to tourists and paying kids a nickle per critter to collect them.
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Horned lizard.  They eat ants.  The ones bought by tourists typically died...
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Horned Lizard.
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Jack rabbit.
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Jack rabbit loping slowly.
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Dove?

Colorful Grasshopper
I've never seen any like this before!