PrimaLuceLab Team installed a custom version of the ASTRO-RES Observatory Station in University of Milano-Bicocca (Italy): a turn-key astronomical observatory with Officina Stellare RiDK400 telescope, 10micron GM3000 equatorial mount, ScopeDome 3Mv3 dome, EAGLE remote control and power unit, ESATTO robotic focuser and GIOTTO smart flat field generator with ALTO telescope cover motor. In this article you can watch the installation video and read details about the telescope design and main features.
University of Milano-Bicocca requested PrimaLuceLab to create a personalized setup based on the ASTRO-RES design since they wanted to have a compact but remotely operated astronomical observatory for education purposes, to be installed on the roof of one of the institute buildings. The ASTRO-RES Observatory Station design has been chosen given the available space on the university roof and the will to protect as much as possible the telescope inside the ScopeDome 3Mv3 fully automated dome. Of course during the design stage we also kept into consideration the large amount of light pollution coming from the city that reduces system performances and we suggested operational ways and devices in order to minimise it.
The telescope is composed by an Officina Stellare RiDK400 f7 OTA with ESATTO 4″ robotic focuser, installed on a 10micron GM3000 equatorial mount that is fixed on a special version of the C120 pier with reduced height in order to fit the telescope inside the dome. In parallel to the main OTA we installed the EAGLE to remotely control and power devices, that is supporting a DayStar SolarScout 80mm solar H-alpha telescope with a QHY5III monochrome USB 3.0 camera for solar imaging. Special counterweights have been added to the telescope in order to find the optimal weight balance.
On the main telescope prime focus, the Starlight Xpress Spectrograph PRO has been installed together with a dedicated TRIUS PRO-694 camera. The spectrograph connects to the ESATTO 4″ focuser with a custom adapter we designed to bring spectrograph at proper backfocus distance. As an alternative, the telescope can be used with an Atik 16200 mono cooled camera with filter wheel and OAG, together with H-alpha/OIII/SII narrowband filters that have been selected in order to reduce as much as possible light pollution effects. Also for the Atik camera, we designed a custom adapter to connect to ESATTO 4″ focuser with the proper backfocus distance from the telescope internal field flattener.
The telescope can be remotely operated thanks also to the custom version of GIOTTO smart flat field generator that is used as a motorized cap thanks to the ALTO-3 motor. This way operator is able not only to remotely open the dome shutter but also to remotely open the telescope cap, that can be used also to record flat field images. After three days of work, PrimaLuceLab Team completed the installation and now University of Milano-Bicocca owns the ASTRO-RES Observatory Station, the compact and remotely operated astronomical observatory that will allow them to develop an astronomy educational program for their students.