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.
About the observatory
The Allan I. Carswell Observatory on the campus of York University in Toronto is focused on student research projects and public outreach. During their live streaming events and in-person stargazing nights, guests have an opportunity to experience the Universe in a whole new light. The observatory is home to the largest telescope on a university campus in all of Canada, a PlaneWave 1-meter telescope. Additionally, York has a 60 cm telescope in an adjacent dome that is primarily used for faculty-led research.
York University’s two Ash-Domes that were installed in the 1970s were leaking and in a state of disrepair. In addition the domes were unable to be automated due to the antiquated model and electrical components. Sea West was brought in to replace both domes and upgrade the existing observatories. The projects required both observatories to operate using separate dome control and telescope control systems. These control systems utilize weather stations and all-sky cameras as safety measures against Toronto’s ever changing weather.
Sea West partnered with Paul Gardner of Observatory Systems and Greg Stafford of Observatory Automation Solutions to provide York University with an observatory that can be controlled entirely via remote control over the Internet. The server rack, weather station, and wiring diagram was generated by Observatory Systems. Greg performed the Ash-Dome automation retrofits that allow the domes to communicate with observatory control software for remote operation.