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2010 Summer Meeting

2011 AAPT Summer Meeting
July 30-August 3, 2011
Omaha, Nebraska

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PST1A04:

Automating Small Observatory Domes
  Location: KFC Courts
  Date: Monday, Aug.1
  Time: 8:45 PM -9:30 PM
  Author: Brian Hubbard, University of West Georgia
678 839-4095, bhubbar1@my.westga.edu
  Co-Author(s): Robert Moore, Jr. , Bob Powell
  Abstract: Many small observatories have computerized telescopes housed in manually operated domes. As the telescope automatically slews to another part of the sky, the operator must activate a motor to move the shutter of the dome to allow the light from the target object to enter the telescope. Retrofitting an observatory dome for automated tracking, the direction the telescope is pointed is likely to be too expensive for a smaller institution. Using an Arduin microcontroller, a compass module, and Xbee wireless communications, we were able to track an independently operated telescope without the use of bulky and expensive rotary encoders. This demonstration is a low-cost solution of consumer microcontrollers and accessories and is a viable wireless solution to observatory dome automation.
  Footnotes: Brian Hubbard is an undergraduate student at UWG. I, Bob Powell, am a member of AAPT and will be his sponsor. bpowell@westga.edu
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