SETTING THE STANDARD IN

Turn-Key Observatories

OUR WORK

Our Recent Projects

GENERATIONS OF INNOVATION

Sea West Observatories has been a leading observatory builder, specializing in observatory construction, design, and optimization since the 1990s. Our team of professionals has extensive experience in creating customized observatories to meet the unique needs of our clients worldwide.

01 New Observatories

New observatory builds go through a consultative process that involves input from all key members of your team, ensuring that your vision is met.

+ Turn-key observatory design and build packages

+ Site selection, assessment, and permitting

+ System integration of telescope, accessories, and software

+ Observatory management system installation

02 Existing Observatories

Proper selection of telescope, camera, and observatory automation hardware can be a confusing road to navigate. On a daily basis, we work with the latest and greatest hardware manufacturers across the industry, ensuring your observatory is capable of collecting groundbreaking data.

+ Observatory dome replacements

+ Observatory automation retrofits

+ Observatory equipment and software upgrades

+ System integration of telescope hardware and software

03 Service Packages

After your observatory is constructed and the telescope receives first-light, Sea West is here to provide ongoing technical support, maintenance, and assistance in telescope operation. Through our maintenance packages, your observatory is guaranteed to stay in optimal performance.

+ Offered to clients with new and existing observatories

+ Preventative maintenance for observatory and telescope components

+ Annual site visits for dome maintenance and telescope optics cleaning

+ Technical support for remote troubleshooting and user training

New Observatories

New observatory builds go through a consultative process that involves input from all key members of your team, ensuring that your vision is met.

+ Turn-key observatory design and build packages

+ Site selection, assessment, and permitting

+ System integration of telescope, accessories, and software

+ Observatory management system installation

Existing Observatories

Proper selection of telescope, camera, and observatory automation hardware can be a confusing road to navigate. On a daily basis, we work with the latest and greatest hardware manufacturers across the industry, ensuring your observatory is capable of collecting groundbreaking data.

+ Observatory dome replacements

+ Observatory automation retrofits

+ Observatory equipment and software upgrades

+ System integration of telescope hardware and software

Service Packages

After your observatory is constructed and the telescope receives first-light, Sea West is here to provide ongoing technical support, maintenance, and assistance in telescope operation. Through our maintenance packages, your observatory is guaranteed to stay in optimal performance.

+ Offered to clients with new and existing observatories

+ Preventative maintenance for observatory and telescope components

+ Annual site visits for dome maintenance and telescope optics cleaning

+ Technical support for remote troubleshooting and user training

OUR PROCESS

design
Build
First-Light
maintenance
Sea West Design

Design

  • The design phase begins with discussing specific observatory needs of the client. Observatory applications include astronomical research, astrophotography, public observing, satellite tracking, or a combination of the above.
  • Our team generates a conceptual design based upon the client’s application for the observatory.
  • From the conceptual design, our team develops observatory plans and CAD renderings that optimize the observatory layout and viewing angles of the telescope.
  • Our team designs a list of recommended observatory hardware including the telescope, imaging cameras, and observatory control equipment.
  • Our team conducts telescope instrumentation back focus calculations to ensure the components reach focus through the telescope.
Observatory Dome Installation

Build

  • The observatory building phase begins after permits and approvals have been received.
  • The site is cleared and graded to prepare for the observatory construction.
  • The observatory slab, foundation, and pier are poured and utilities for the observatory are ran.
  • The observatory dome is assembled and crane-lifted onto the building.
  • The telescope is installed along with the observatory weather station, computer, and telescope instrumentation (cameras, spectrographs, eyepieces, etc.).
  • Internet enabled cameras are installed inside the observatory for users to remotely monitor operation of telescope via a web-based browser.
  • Observatory automation components such as a weather station and all-sky camera are installed and the observatory control software is configured to allow for telescope and dome control.
First Light

First-Light

  • Once the observatory components have been installed, the system can now begin first-light testing.
  • First-light testing of the telescope and camera equipment ensures the observatory components are all functioning as a complete system at night. This includes the telescope, dome, and telescope accessories and software.
  • Telescope optics are aligned and collimated.
  • The telescope mount is polar aligned if using an equatorial mount.
  • A pointing model for the telescope is built that allows the telescope to understand where objects are in the night sky.
  • The culmination of the first-light stage is training the observatory end-users, so they are fully comfortable in operating the new equipment and software.
Observatory Maintenance  Sea West

Technical Support and Maintenance

  • Observatories combine precise optical instruments, high-tech software platforms, and mechanical components that require constant upkeep and maintenance to ensure they are performing as designed.
  • Our team offers ongoing service packages that cover remote technical support and onsite maintenance to keep observatories optimized.
  • Annual observatory maintenance safeguards against premature failure of the observatory components.
  • Remote technical support hours can be utilized to have troubleshoot hardware and software issues that arise.
  • Site visits can be utilized to perform preventative maintenance tasks such as dome cleaning and regreasing, telescope optics cleaning, observatory control software upgrades, and user training.

Markets We Serve

Remote Observatories

Remote observatories provide autonomous operation and connectivity to users that can include research teams, education institutions, or private individuals.

Private Observatories

Private observatories provide both remote and onsite capabilities for observing and imaging for private individuals and research teams when public access is not required.

Public Observatories

Public observatories provide remote and onsite observing for private individuals, educational institutions, and members of the public where public access and use is a requirement.

Space Domain Awareness

Observatories for Space Domain Awareness and Laser Communication require high-performance and state-of-the-art technology for the success of the mission at hand, tracking satellites and data transmission.

Bruneau Dunes State Park Observatory

Our History

Sea West Observatories, a subsidiary of Sea West Enterprises, Inc., is a premier observatory builder that provides exceptional observatory construction and design solutions to clients worldwide. Our family-owned business, established in 1977, brings a deep sense of tradition and commitment to all of our projects, ensuring a personal investment in the success of your observatory.

What Our Customers Are Saying

“I and my colleagues have worked extensively with Sea West personnel, especially Eric Simison, President of the company. I have been extremely pleased with the performance of our contractor on all phases and would characterize Sea West as having provided exceptional price/performance to our project. I strongly recommend Sea West as a capable, cooperative and innovative construction firm.”
Harold A. McAlister, PhD, Former CHARA Director 

York University Observatory

Sea West upgraded the two existing domes at York University in Toronto to include up-to-date, automated systems that would meet their current needs.

Bruneau Dunes State Park

Sea West designed and built an new observatory in Bruneau Dunes State Park in Idaho featuring a PlaneWave CDK700 observatory system that is enclosed in a fully automated 20.6’ Ash Dome.

Rancho Mirage Observatory

Sea West constructed a world-class observatory for the City of Rancho Mirage, California to assist in their mission of providing astronomy education to all, featuring the latest in software technology to control the observatory remotely.

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