SSON Update May 2015

Below is a message I sent out about SSON that for some reason didn’t get to a lot of people. I’m posting it as an FYI that everyone can get to from the home page of our web site as well.

Rich Williams

Dear SSON Users and Supporters:

It’s been a while since I’ve sent out a general message to everyone and I want to inform you of some exciting developments for SSON.

Tonight is the last night that the current 0.37-meter Rigel telescope will operate. Dr. Robert Mutel and the University of Iowa will replace the telescope with a 0.5-meter PlaneWave CDK-20 telescope. The replacement and commissioning will require three weeks. The Winer Observatory, where the Rigel Telescope is housed, typically closes down for the monsoon season around the middle of June (exact time depends on local climate conditions) and reopens in September. Therefore, it’s likely that the new Rigel telescope will not be available to use until September. It will have a new Apogee F47 CCD camera with a back-illuminated e2V chip with a 90+ peak quantum efficiency rating. Also, Dr. Mutel told me that they will install a fiber-feed high resolution spectrograph (Avantes ULS 3684: 3684 channels, fiber-fed, 350 nm – 750 nm wavelength resolution, 0.9 nm spectral resolution, 50 micron slit, 1% wavelength accuracy). They are working on developing a system to re-center on stars in the automated system. It’s a challenge to implement, but I’m confident they will be successful. This will be another first for SSON and we are really excited to see how our users will take advantage of the system for exciting new spectroscopy project ideas.

Kathy has been insanely busy with her job the past eight months as the lead web developer for the Nevada State Legislature. This session ends in a little over a month and Kathy and I will finish the considerable work we’ve done to publish our new web site with improvements and nice new features. It’s taken much longer to do this than we originally planned. You can expect to see it up and running before the July 4th holiday.

The book on remote astronomy that I’m co-authoring with Jerry Hubble is nearing completion and will be published by Springer later this year. It is hard work writing a book, but it will be rewarding to see it finally get published. J

We are working with a new SSON partner to come online within the next few months. We will make an announcement when we know that the system is fully integrated and ready for you to use.

Finally I’ve been asked to give a talk at a robotic/remote astronomy workshop at Concordia University in Irvine, California. The workshop is on June 9th and 10th. When Russ Genet send me more information about the specifics of the place and program I’ll tweet a message on my Twitter account, which should also appear on our web site. If you are in the area and can make it there, I’d love to meet you.

If you haven’t yet taken advantage of using the fantastic telescope system at the Warrumbungle Observatory in Coonabarabran, Australia, you should give it a try. There’s lots of cool stuff to image from Down Under.

All of us as SSON appreciate your continued use and support of all our partner’s fantastic remote observatory facilities.

Best regards,

Rich Williams


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