(Image © 2006 Elizabeth McCoy)
Niteskys Observatory is located within view of the Colorado Front Range. It has evolved over the years from a simple scope on a tripod to an automated observatory. I would like to say that it was designed to turn out the way it did, but the journey from the tripod to the observatory was not a planned one. While I have enjoyed each and every setup, it did not take long to discover the challenges of each as my interest in imaging grew. Over the years of using different setups, I developed a checklist that described my ideal imaging setup.
1. Quick setup and tear down to be able to start imaging in 30 minutes or less.
2. Wind protection.
3. Light pollution protection from cars and nearby street lights.
4. Maintenance free materials.
5. Low heat retention materials.
6. Provide some security.
7. Reuse existing equipment and infrastructure.
8. An enclosure that could be permitted in a covenant-controlled neighborhood.
9. Something that could be automated.
11. Large enough for two observers.
Constructed in 2006, the current observatory addresses many of the items on my checklist. It's an ever-evolving experiment that would never have happened without the patience and understanding of my family.
Niteskys Observatory circa 2002
Niteskys Observatory circa 2004
Niteskys Observatory circa 2006