Sola Virtus Observatory
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
Lat 3942.15N Long 07632.68W
738 ft / 225 meters
Overall Height: 10 ft. Overall Diameter: 10 ft.
Dome Height: 5 ft. Dome Diameter: 9 ft.
1 1/4" Adapter Plate w/ Vibration Dampeners, Dan's Pier Plate,
Supercharged CGE EQ Mount, Mitty Wedge for Fork Mount Scopes
16 inch 5000psi High Strength Concrete
20 amp w/GFI Mains Breaker,
12v DC Power Supply, UPS, Power
Conditioner w/ 6500 amp Surge Suppression
Davis Vantage Pro 2 Plus with Solar/UV Sensor Pack & Wireless Envoy
Doberman Protection Systems
Don't Even Think About It !
Telephone, DSL, Data Lines, Cat6
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
SBIG ST7: (Idle)
Canon 350D: (Idle)
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)
(Click Images Below to See Photo Album)
The Schmidt-Cassegrain mounted in the Observatory. The Coronado H-Alpha Solar Scope is piggybacked using a Losmandy 3in Dovetail Plate.
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.
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.
Weather Data used in Control Room for viewing and imaging.
(Click Image to See Latest Weather Data)
Clear Skys Observatory
Pyramid 12v Power Supplies
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
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
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
Canon350D IR Mod/Hacked
DMK 21 Color & 41 Monochrome Camera
Celestron NexImage Lunar/Planetary Imager
MicroSeven M7B57 HD (Weather Cam)
MicroSeven M7B57 HD (Exterior OB Cam)
MoonGlow All Sky Camera
SkyHound Sky Tools
Software Bisque Sky6
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