university of adelaide observatory

The university's observatory, for some years relatively unused and perhaps heading towards dusty oblivion, was refurbished during mid-late 2001. The interior was repainted, the wooden floor sanded back and coated, and the subtantial remains of an old Thomas and Cooke equatorial mount (pier and RA assembly only) given a lick of shiny, black paint.

A 0.2-metre f/6.3 Meade LX200 has been mounted atop the old equatorial, which is now used only as a rather ornate pier for the Meade. Various items of equipment have been obtained, as follows:

Telescopes: Meade 0.20-metre f /6.3 LX200 and 60-mm f/15 refractor (piggy-backed)

Detectors: SBIG ST-6 CCD, SBIG ST-4 CCD, Astrovid 2000 monochrome video camera

Filters: Omega Optical UBVRI and clear filter set in SBIG CFW-6A filter wheel. Also white-light solar for LX200

Other: Rainbow Optics transmission grating

All dome operations are manual. There is no network connection in the dome, so the main computer is loaded with software for CCD image acquisition (SBIG CCDOPS), image processing (IRIS), photometry (Dr. Andrew Smith's st6phot), spectroscopy (VSpec), general image processing (Irfanview), and packages for photometric time-series analysis and data plotting. This allows all acquisition, reduction and analysis to be undertaken in the dome. A secondary PC runs SBIG's CCDTrack under DOS for auto-guiding using the ST-4 on the 60-mm f/15 refractor.

At this stage, operation of the LX200 is via its hand paddle only.


Pictures of the Observatory


Pictures taken at the Observatory


Data obtained at the Observatory


Latest Results

07/09/03 Successful observation of September 7th, 2003 transit of exo-solar planet around HD209458. Web-page (via Data link above) available.

25/6/03 More spectra of Eta Carinae and Gamma Velorum

11/6/2003 The ST-4 has finally been interfaced with the LX200, and initial tests (see the images of M65 on the "Galaxies from U.A.O." page, via the "Pictures taken at..." link above) show that the set-up appears to be working well. The tracking frequency in the LX200 is set to 60.4 Hz to achieve the best RA drive rate; the default value of 60.1 Hz is too low.