The observatory telescope is a 0.61-meter (24-inch) F/10 Optical Mechanics Nighthawk CC06 telescope. The Nighthawk CC06 is a high-precision automated/robotic telescope with superb Classical Cassegrain optics fabricated by OMI's president James Mulherin.
The primary imaging instrument is a Finger Lakes Instrumentation ProLine camera. This is a research-grade CCD camera with triple-stage cooling and capable of maintaining stable temperatures to -65C below the ambient temperature.
The camera contains a Kodak KAF-09000 3056 x 3056 pixel CCD chip with 12-micron pixels giving an image scale of 0.4 arc seconds/pixel un-binned and 0.8 arc seconds/pixel binned 2 x 2. The area of the chip is greater than a 35mm format camera providing a field of view of 21 x 21 arc minutes. The KAF-09000 chip has a high quantum efficiency (69% peak).
Our Finger Lakes Instrumentation ProLine CFW-4-5 filter wheel is designed to integrate with our ProLine camera. The filter wheel holds four scientific-grade Astrodon SCHÜLER Johnsons-Cousins 50mm square filters for photometry and tri-color imaging: B-V-R-I (Blue, Visual [Green], Red, and Infrared) photometric filters and a "clear" opening without a filter. The filter wheel also contains two Transmission Grating Spectrograph (TGS )gratings.
The filter wheel contains two 50mm square Transmission Grating Spectrograph (TGS) 600-line/mm gratings. One TGS has a 3mm slit that blocks out light except for a narrow (3mm) vertical band centered on the selected object. The other TGS is unblocked. A description of the SSO TGS and how to use it is described in the SSO TGS Guide.
The observatory building has two rooms - the dome room (which contains the telescope) and a control room. The dome is a 15-foot Technical Innovations Pro-Dome modified with custom hardware, electronics and software to integrate with Talon for automated operation with the telescope.
The Sierra Stars Observatory is located in the south end of the Carson Valley in Alpine County California about two miles from the Nevada state line. The semi-desert climate provides over 200 clear nights (and sunny days) per year with low relative humidity. During the summer months, high temperatures average around 90 F; during the winter highs average around 45 F. Average annual rainfall is approximately 11 inches and average annual snowfall is 22 inches.
The sky at the observatory site is very dark with a small amount of light pollution limited to directly north towards Carson City in Nevada.
Longitude: 119:46:30 West
Altitude: 5,070 feet (1,545 meters)
MPC Observatory Code: G68