Great Basin Observatory
Sea West partnered with Observatory Systems to create a research-level observatory within Great Basin National Park.
About the observatory
4Receiving first-light in 2016, Great Basin Observatory is the first of its kind, a research-level observatory established within the boundaries of a United States National Park. Recognized by the International Dark Sky Association for their preservation of dark skies, Great Basin National Park is home to some of the darkest night skies in the United States.
Sea West partnered with Observatory Systems to design and build the Great Basin Observatory. Based upon the CHARA Array enclosures, Sea West deployed their First Light Observatory platform, which supports a 12’ Astro Haven clamshell dome. Inside the dome is a PlaneWave CDK700 observatory system that has been integrated into a fully autonomous, remotely accessible observatory. Researchers have the capability to login to the telescope over the Internet to remotely schedule data collection via a scheduling software. This 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.