Georgia State University




Sea West designed, engineered, and fabricated a custom trailer-based observatory for Georgia State University’s CHARA Array.

CMAP telescope

About the observatory

Sea West participated in the installation of a new mobile observatory at the renowned Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy (CHARA) Array, located at Georgia State University.

The project, named the CHARA Michelson Array Pathfinder (CMAP), represents a significant step towards future expansion, leveraging fiber optics to connect additional telescopes and enhance observational capabilities.

Positioned atop Mount Wilson in California, the CHARA Array functions as a singular, powerful telescope, enabling precise measurements of individual stars and star pairs with unparalleled resolution. Through collaboration with GSU, Sea West Observatories has contributed to the design-build of the facilities interferometer comprised of six 1-meter aperture telescopes, facilitating seamless integration of the new telescope with the existing array.

Project Scope

Sea West Observatories, collaborated with the CHARA Array team to introduce a seventh telescope into the array. Mounted on a versatile trailer, engineered and fabricated by Sea West, the new telescope is capable of seamless mobility between various locations near the existing fixed telescopes.

During the installation process, PlaneWave Instruments played a pivotal role, overseeing the installation of the 1-meter RC telescope, while the Sea West team contributed to the collaborative effort, ensuring seamless integration of technology and expertise.

With observations expected to commence later this year, the expanded CHARA Array stands poised to unlock a wealth of new insights into the cosmos, offering scientists worldwide unprecedented opportunities for exploration and discovery.

IMAGE CREDIT: Georgia State University
CHARA Array Georgia State University

From the client

Georgia State University has had a long and beneficial relationship with Sea West Enterprises in our astronomical activities with the CHARA Array interferometer at Mount Wilson Observatory. Recently we sought out Sea West’s help to build the enclosure system for a new mobile observatory at CHARA. This was the first time we had considered placing a telescope on a trailer, and we anticipated many challenges. Sea West helped us to design, build, and ultimately install the mobile observatory system on site. This unique undertaking was made possible thanks to the broad expertise, communication skills, and enthusiastic participation of the Sea West staff. We are grateful for all their help in launching this new chapter in scientific exploration at Mount Wilson Observatory.”

– Douglas Gies, Director of CHARA Array, Professor of Physics and Astronomy