AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 118 Reaching Out: EPO
Poster, Thursday, January 8, 2004, 9:20am-4:00pm, Grand Hall

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[118.04] Further Advancements of the PARI Optical Ridge Telescopes for Education and Public Outreach

M. W. Castelaz, J. D. Cline (Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute)

Located in the half-million acre Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina the PARI Optical Observatories Ridge runs East-West with steep sloping north and south sides. The Optical Ridge is located at a latitude of 35d 11.8m N and longitude 82d 52.3m W, about 0.5 km south of the PARI Main Campus. When standing on the Optical Ridge, the highest point on the horizon is 5 degrees, with an average of 2 degrees.

The PARI Optical Observatories include seven observatories in operation with four more being planned. Every observatory is connected to the Internet. Some can be controlled remotely while others automatically publish their data to a web page.

The seven include two managed by graduate students making observations for their doctorates. A third is for astronomical community use, and a fourth for public use on a subscription basis. Another telescope is robotic and is doing photometry of Polaris day and night to measure the starís changing light curve. Another telescope publishes live images of the Sun and Moon as part of a public outreach effort. Real-time diagnostics of sky conditions are important to remote observers. So, one telescope is an all-sky camera to measure clear sky conditions, while another measures seeing and transparency based on continuous robotic photometry of fifty of the brightest stars on the sky. Four planned observatories include a 1.1 m f/4.4 prime focus camera with a 1.25 degree field of view, a 1.8 m f/1.5 adaptive optics telescope, a twin 0.5 m f/1.1 cassegrain binocular telescope, and a 0.5 f/9.0 telescope built for use by several universities.

The observatories are for astronomical research, education, and atmospheric monitoring. We will present detailed descriptions of the observatories, and provide information on access. We also will discuss the mechanism for consortia to build their own observatory on the PARI Optical Ridge.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.pari.edu. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: mcastelaz@pari.edu

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