Facility Planning


Where do we start?

Many times observatories are built with no input from the end users, often time because there is no designated end user with up to date knowledge on what is required to build a functioning observatory. Observatories can end up as observatories with the observatory as an afterthought. They have very specific needs that are not generally recognized by architects and contractors during the early stages of the project development and design. Observatory Systems can act as the experienced end user when none is available and can easily interface between architects, contractors, campus facilities, astronomy professors and vendors to ensure that everything required for a functioning observatory is in place when it comes time install a telescope.Topics such as proper lighting, electrical requirements and HVAC are often treated as they would be for any other building when in realitythere are special concerns for each that need to be considered and addressed for the project to be successful.

Equipment Selection


What equipment should I purchase?

The world of advanced amateur telescopes has grown rapidly in recent years as the cost of larger telescopes and advanced cameras has dropped. There are a huge variety of telescopes, cameras, mounts and accessories to choose from. Let Observatory Systems guide you towards the right gear to fit your end use and budget. We can offer suggestions on every hardware and software related aspect of the project; telescopes, mounts, cameras, computers, power and data infrastructure, weather systems, remote monitoring and automation systems. Many of these options are unknown to people outside the industry. Most people, when they think of a telescope for an observatory, they immediately think of well know brands such as Meade or Celestron. Unfortunately, while great for backyard observing, Meade and Celestron telescopes are not cut out for the long term rigors of an observing facility geared towards public use or advanced research.


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What if we need something completely custom?

There are times when off the shelf products do not fit the needs of the project. When this problem arises, Observatory Systems has the capability to do complete mechanical design and fabrication for anything you can think of; Custom piers, adapters,and equipment mounting. Observatory Systems uses the latest tools for 3D CAD and Finite Element Modeling while adhering to best practices for design and fabrication. Custom design solutions are often required when dealing with a retrofit situation where an older telescope is being removed and a new telescope is being installed in its place or when modern equipment is being added to a much older telescope. We can also analyze existing observatories, old and new, that may have problems that are preventing the facility from operating at its maximum potential and work to find robust solutions to those problems.

Systems Integration

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How does everything go together?

If you have already purchased equipment or if you have used Observatory Systems’s services to specify and purchase equipment, we can provide services to install everything in your observatory with a custom fit and finish. Integration can range from just putting all the big pieces together for you and letting you do the rest or complete end to end systems integration. For the later case this includes installing the telescope(s), computers, software, cameras, building and routing custom cables, installing weather monitoring systems, remote monitoring systems and setting up telescope automation systems.



The observatory looks great, but how do I use it?

A fully automated observatory is a very complicated system. There are many pieces of hardware and software that have to interact perfectly in order for the observatory to open, remain on the sky all night long and then close safely in the morning. Observatory Systems has performed extensive testing to find the best combination of hardware and software to build a consistently reliable system. We can provide extensive on site and remote training as well as custom operating procedures written for your observatory.

Program Development

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What should we do with our observatory?

An observatory provides a school, institution or even the private individual with an incredible tool to reach out to the public and influence young minds. Observatory Systems can provide guidance on how to configure your observatory and equipment to suit the needs of your observing program.

Observatory Management


Already have a remote observatory?

If you already have a remote observatory or have just had one installed by Observatory Systems but you just don’t have the time to make sure it is running every single clear night of the year, Observatory Systems can manage your night to night operations and data flow to ensure that you maximize your sky time. We are well versed in all of the available automation software packages.

Site Photography


I need promotional material for my observatory

Observatory Systems can provide high quality, dynamic images to showcase your new observatory. We have years of experience photographing observatories and know the right ways to capture the essence of an observatory.