Observatory Automation Success

The Wall Township Public Schools Observatory had the first part of its automation system installed this week. The observatory is comprised of a 10′ x 10′ building with an 8′ dome, and will include four telescopes and photographic imaging systems that can be used for astronomical research. The observatory will have remote accessibility, so students and staff will be able to access the equipment from a website. Once an observing time slot is assigned, the user will be able to open the dome, activate the equipment, point the telescopes to an object of interest, capture and download images, then close the dome and shut down the system.

The first phase of automation equipment was installed in the observatory this week. Motors, actuators, controllers, and the associated wiring was installed, and the system was connected to a computer running a basic automation control system. Dome rotation and shutter opening and closing is now under computer control. When the telescopes are installed, they will be under computer control as well. Take a look at this short video that shows shutter operation and dome rotation, and check back soon for more updates.

Jeff Janover began his career as a structural engineer in the nuclear power industry. He worked as a Professional Engineer and consultant, performing computer-aided finite element analysis on a wide range of projects, and delivered seminars on advanced dynamics to many engineering firms. Mr. Janover is the Director of Technology with the Wall Township Public School System. His hobbies include tennis, scuba diving, amateur radio, and Olympic archery. Mr. Janover is married, has four children and two granddaughters, and lives in the Middletown, New Jersey area.

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