Sola Virtus Observatory

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The Sola Virtus Observatory is a privately owned and operated Astronomical and Meteorological Observatory located on several acres of land in northwestern Harford County, Maryland. The rural area provides a peaceful setting to record weather events and data and to view the heavens away from more light polluted skies.

The Observatory is from Clear Skys and is mounted to a deck platform which raises the elevation of the observatory 3 feet. Observatory features include a 16 inch 5000 psi high strength concrete pier. A custom made 1 1/4 inch aluminum pier plate with vibration dampening isolators resides on top.

Power is supplied to the observatory by 120 volt 20 amp GFI service and 12 volt DC service. Electric is available right on the pier by way of 2 duplex boxes supplied by wiring chased inside the pier. A Furman PL- Pro DMC and Furman Plus II equipped with 2 intensity adjustable lamps working in tandem with 2 CyberPower UPS units, monitor and condition all power sources as well as providing a back up power supply until all systems are shutdown.

Lighting is provided by 2 marine grade ships's bulkhead lamps, one red, one white, adjusted by 2 Lutron dimmer switches controlled at the pier. Four 12v pod lights provide perimeter lighting, one mounted to the underside of each wall deck.

Data and communications is supplied by way of a 2 inch pvc conduit. Phone and DSL are in a separate 1 inch pvc conduit.

Atmospheric conditions inside and outside the observatory are monitored by a Davis Vantage Pro2 with Solar & UV sensor pack and a Wireless Envoy. Weather conditions such as precipitation, dewpoint, barometric pressure ,wind speed and direction as well as temperature and humidity inside and outside the observatory are logged and uploaded to a computer inside the observatory. © SVO Weather software along with Storm Predator and StormLab Weather Radar software, monitor approaching severe weather and issue alerts allowing ample time to shutdown the Observatory. A Mitsubishi AC/Dehumidifier controls interior humidity and temperature levels automatically. A Honeywell air filtration unit controls interior contaminates. A Nicro solar vent fan mounted in the top shutter position exhausts excess heat build up.

The main duties of the observatory will be locating DSO's and NEO's as well as general observing, astrophotography and meteorite data collection. 

I'm often asked as to the origins of the Observatory name. Well, it is actually part of the motto from the Coat of Arms of my Scottish Clan.

 

 

Sola Virtus Technical Data
 
Location Coordinates
Lat  3942.15N   Long  07632.68W
 
Elevation
738 ft / 225 meters
 
Observatory
Overall Height:   10 ft.     Overall Diameter:   10 ft.
Dome Height:       5 ft.      Dome Diameter:       9 ft.
 
Mount
1 1/4" Adapter Plate   w/ Vibration Dampeners, Dan's Pier Plate,
Supercharged CGE EQ Mount, Mitty Wedge for Fork Mount Scopes
 
Pier
16 inch 5000psi High Strength Concrete
 
Power
20 amp  w/GFI Mains Breaker,
12v DC Power Supply, UPS, Power
Conditioner w/ 6500 amp Surge Suppression
 
Weather Monitoring
Davis Vantage Pro 2 Plus with Solar/UV Sensor Pack & Wireless Envoy
 
Internal Security
Classified
 
External Security
Doberman Protection Systems
     Don't Even Think About It !
 
Communications
Telephone, DSL, Data Lines, Cat6
 
Software
WeatherLink 6.03, Storm Predator, VWS v15.00, The Sky 6, 
Cartes du Ciel, Stellarium, Registax, MaximDL, Photoshop, IRIS
 
 
Observatory Systems Status Report
 
Observatory Status:  YELLOW        
 
Telescope Status:   YELLOW
Orion 127mm Mak:                              (Fully Operational)
Lunt LS 60  & Coronado PST Solar:     (Fully Operational)
Williams Optics 80 & 90mm APO:       (Fully Operational)
 
Mount Status:   YELLOW
Mitty Wedge:      (Fully Operational)                                    
LX 80 Mount:      (Fully Operational)
 
Camera Status:  GREEN
MicroSeven:        (On)
SBIG ST7:            (Idle)
Canon 350D:       (Idle)                       
Neximage:           (Idle)
Foscam:               (On)
MoonGlow All Sky Cam:    (On)
DMK 21 Color:                      (Idle)
DMK 41 Mono                       (Idle)
Foscam F18905:                   (On)
 
Climate Control:   GREEN
Mitsubishi  EC1  AC Unit       (System Off)
 
Honeywell Air Filtration:      (System On)
 
 
 
 
 
SVO Live Telescope Cam
 
 
SVO Live Observatory Cam
 

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Construction Photos Page 

(Click Images Below to See Photo Album) 

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The Schmidt-Cassegrain mounted in the Observatory. The Coronado H-Alpha Solar Scope is piggybacked using a Losmandy 3in Dovetail Plate.
 

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The Observatory Systems Control Center includes: Dell 1 TB Imaging computer with Ultra HD monitor, 4 TB external hard drive, wireless keyboard & mouse, Furman Pl-Pro DMC Power Conditioner with usb charger provides soft startup & shutdown power as well as surge, noise & voltage protection, 10 Channel controller, Dew Heater Controller, Weather Satellite Receiver, Lightning Detector Control Receiver, Slide out tray holds Dell Laptop used for imaging outside of Observatory, Weather Radio, USB Hub, 12v DC power inverter and 2 CyberPower 1500Va UPS systems in bottom box compartment with the new oak laminate floor below. All cables to pier and peripherals run under floor.

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The Lunt LS60THaDS50B1200 Hydrogen Alpha Solar Scope and the AstroTech 65mm ED Quad Astrograph  used with a white light filter. Another Lunt and the Coronado PST ride on an Orion EQ mount on a Scope Buggy.

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Weather Data used in Control Room for viewing and imaging.
(Click Image to See Latest Weather Data)

 

Equipment

Clear Skys Observatory
 
Pyramid 12v Power Supplies
 
Mitsubishi AC/Dehumidification 
 
Nicro Solar Vent
 
Honeywell Air Filtration
 
Dell Computers  120GB  22" Flat Screen
 
Ergotron Articulating Monitor Mount
 
Panamax & Furman Power Supply/ Backup/ Line Conditioning
 
All-Rite Dome Skirt Seals/ (Replaced Inferior Factory Seals)
 
Humane Rubber Flooring
 
 
Telescopes, Mounts and Accessories
 
Orion 127mm Mak

Meade LX-80

WO Megrez 90mm APO Refractor 
 
Astro-Tech 65mm ED Quad Astrograph
 
Coronado PST Hydrogen-Alpha Solar Scope
 
Lunt LS60THaDs50B1200 Solar Scope
 
Dan's Pier Plates   
 
Custom Made Mitty Wedge
 
Custom Made Pier Offset Plate
 
Orion Skyview Pro EQ Mount
 
Supercharged CGE Mount
 
ScopeStuff Dual Saddle Solar Mount
 
Astrozap Aluminum Dew Shield / AstroSystems Scopecoat
 
Kendrick Premier Digital Dew Controller 
 
AAC Vibration Dampeners
 
Losmandy Counterweight System
 
Z-Bolt BTG-10 Plus Laser
 
Doc Clay's Cleaning Kit

Scope Buggy

 
Eypieces and Filters -  7mm, 9mm, 12mm, 20mm Nagler, 26mm, 32mm 40mm Plossl , 20mm Cemax, 12mm Cemax, Orion 12mm Iluminated Reticle, 2x Barlows, Thousand Oaks 60mm  2+ White Light Solar Filter, Orion 10" Full Aperture White Light Filter, Misc Filters, AstroTech: 1.25" & 2" Diagonal, 2x & 5x Triplet Barlows, ND Moon Filter, Lunt Solar Zoom
 
Celestron Binoviewer
 
Imaging Cameras
 
Canon350D IR Mod/Hacked
 
DMK 21 Color & 41 Monochrome Camera
 
SBIG ST7
 
Celestron NexImage Lunar/Planetary Imager
 
MicroSeven M7B57 HD  (Weather Cam)
 
MicroSeven M7B57 HD  (Exterior OB Cam) 

MoonGlow All Sky Camera

Imaging Software

 
IRIS
 
Maxim DL
 
PhotoShop
 
Registax
 
SkyHound Sky Tools
 
Software Bisque Sky6
 
Vendor Links here.......
 

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The content and all images on this website is copyrighted and is the property of the Owner and/or The Sola Virtus Observatory and Farpoint Weather unless otherwise noted. The use or reproduction of any content and/or images is not allowed  except by permission only.  Any  unauthorized use  will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  The content on this website  is for informational purposes only and I make no representations  or warranties  as to its accuracy.I will not in any event  assume liability for any loss, injury or damage of any type from the use or misuse of any information or product found on and/or in the use of this website. The links made from this site or  linked to this site may contain content , vendor products or express views I may not endorse.
                                                           
                                                                                            copyright © 2006 - 2017

Please send questions or feedback to josh@sola-virtus-observatory.org