Badlands Observatory Notice to Observers
Badlands Observatory has had approximately 4 years experience accommodating
various types of remote observing. By far, however, the bulk of these observations have
been related to asteroid work…meaning that the target positions have been fairly close to
the ecliptic. In addition, most of the observations have involved mainly one target or two
targets per night whereby multiple exposures are accumulated while tracking the same
target for hours at a time. In this type of mode, the telescope has proven quite effective.
Since Network use of the telescope will no doubt require more variety of both position
and tracking requirements I have provided some helpful hints concerning other types of
observational requirements. The statements below relate primarily to the mount/drive
system in use.
The telescope mount in use at Badlands Observatory is a rather traditional
equatorial fork type. Because it is quite massive, the inertial requirements on the stepper
motor/ belt-drive system can be quite substantial. Problems in this area could either
involve stepper motor stalls, or drive belt slippage. These issues, although rather rare,
can happen…and will result in loss of position and synchronization of the telescope.
When this happens, the only fix is to have an onsite observatory operator correct the
situation and re-sync the telescope. If no onsite observatory operator present, the only
option is to end the observing session. Future upgrades are planned that will allow re-
sync of the telescope by the observatory operator from a remote location.
Listed below are some observing hints and guidelines for remote observers that
should make your planning easier, and your observing experience more successful.
In general it is preferable to avoid targets at high declinations, particularly when
they are on the W-N-E track under the celestial pole. The telescope cannot track
under the Pole because of mechanical restrictions of the mou