Observatory

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  1. © Copyright 2014 by Lieven Persoons

The first time I went to Verclause I went together with Karel Teuwen, in 2009. Observing remotely was entirely new for me back then. Karel, together with Daniel Marquardt founded ROSA and both had their own observatory. Their pictures were astonishing. It was very clear that a dark sky is at least as important as a good telescope. Steadily I became more eager to build a remote observatory too. But that's easier said than done. During 2010 and 2011 I went to verlause several times, together with Karel, to search for a suitable spot at the ROSA site and also to better understand the technicalities of observing remotely. During these short trips I also put my equipment to the test on these splendidly dark skies. At the same time I started collecting all the required equipment and put it together in my observatory at home. But it was only decided to really go remote mid 2011. A dome got ordered from Sopedome in Poland and it got delivered late july 2011.

Wouter D’Hoye

Martin Rusterholz

Karel Teuwen

On exploration in Verclause 2010 and 2011

Verclause

How it all began

After a last visit early august the groundbreaking works and pouring of the foundations were done by Alain Cagossi, the owner of the site. By the end of august I went back togethjer with Wouter D'hoye, Karel Teuwen and Martin Rusterholz. After a week of hard work everything was built up, including all instrumentation. But soon it seemed than not everything was working properly. Not one but two extra one week visits were required to get everything operational. I went back together with Wouter early november 2011 and in januari 2012 to make all kinds of little tweaks and fixes. The biggest challenge was to get the dome operating flawlessly. And to accomplish this the most important tool was the angled grinder. Also pretty much all of the wheels needed replacing due to various reasons. The gearboxes of the motors controlling dome rotation and shutter control required heating in order to prevent them from stalling when temperatures dropped below 3°C. The slaving and synchronising of the shutter was another problem that only got solved with the help of Jacek Pala of Scopedome. For the network I could count on the help of Martin Rusterholz, another ROSA member. Finally, after lots of work and setbacks, I was able to start making pictures in march 2012. Here I want to express some special thanks to Karel Teuwen. Without his help, advice and friendship all this would not have been possible. Thank you Karel!

Building my observatory

Building my observatory

Myself