Bruneau Dunes State Park Observatory
Sea West designed and built this observatory in Bruneau Dunes State Park in Idaho.
About the observatory
Bruneau Dunes State Park is located 60 miles southeast of Boise, Idaho, and is home to dark night skies. Bruneau Dunes State Park has been hosting nightly astronomy stargazing programs for decades and is a continued source of educational inspiration for all generations. Its educational campus includes the Steele Reece Education Center, a 30’ observatory with a 24” Dobsonian telescope. This project, completed in 2023, adds a new state-of-the-art observatory capable of entirely remote operation.
Veritas Maintenance based in Idaho partnered with Sea West to design and build the new world-class Bruneau Dunes State Park Observatory. At the heart of this new observatory is a PlaneWave CDK700 observatory system that is enclosed in a fully automated 20.5’ Ash-Dome. Supporting the observatory are an all-sky camera and weather station. These two components are vital for protecting the observatory during entirely remote operation.
Astronomers have the capability to login to the telescope over the internet to remotely schedule data collection via a scheduling software and to also perform virtual star parties. The software integrates with the telescope, cameras, dome, and weather station to ensure optimal data collection is occurring under safe weather conditions. If a weather-related event occurs such as high-winds, or if precipitation is detected, then the observatory’s emergency shutdown procedure is activated to park the telescope and close the dome.
A good team is necessary for a successful project. Sea West partnered with the design team, specialty contractors, and top-quality manufacturers to ensure the Bruneau Dunes Observatory will be enjoyed for generations to come.