ARGO Observatory


ARGO (Astronomical Research Group of Oregon) is located in central Oregon, about 25 miles due east of Bend. Built in 1997 and continually improved upon since, it currently is run by 5 astronomical imagers. ARGO consists of 6 sheds for the imagers and one common shed that houses the batteries, charge system, toilet (with running water), shower and sink. Each shed has a concrete pad to the south that has one or two piers for each of our telescopes. Everyone is able to connect to their scopes from their sheds, no more are we forced to endure sitting outside while imaging! Everyone brings their equipment for typically week long new moon runs. No equipment stays at ARGO.

ARGO, looking northeast

Most of my CCD images are taken through either a 10" RC, a 4" Takahashi FSQ refractor or Nikon 180 mm lens. My current large scope is a 10" RC Optical Systems and ST-10XME attached to an Astro-Physics 900 mount. The FSQ and STL-11000 now ride on an Astro-Physics 900 mount. Both piers are set in concrete and are connected to the shed via underground conduit.

My typical setup

The picture below shows my CCD setup with the ST-10XME and the zillion wires. I use MaxIm for image acquisition and some processing and TheSky to control the scope. Tpoint helps to do polar alignment and fine pointing.

Main Imaging Scope

The next picture shows my ST-2000XM attached to a 180mm Nikon lens and controlled with the Robofocus. Thanks to Steve Mandel for the Robofocus idea.

Main Imaging Scope

Even though we are in the high desert, at about 4000', it does get hot. The top reading is the outside temperature, notice that the trend is down. The bottom temperature is the inside temperature for my shed. Despite the rainy forecast, it was a nice night for imaging.

A Warm Day in July