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Monet 1,20 m Telescopes
Setup and Firstlight at Mc. Donald Observatory in Texas and at SAAO in South Africa
From Stathis Kafalis

MONET is a project of the Institute for Astrophysics at the university of Göttignen, financed by the Krupp foundation. It partly allows school children to have access to robotic telescopes at remote sites with exceptionally good observing conditions. The telescopes are two identical 1.20 m f/7 Ritchey-Chretien optics with Nasmyth focus on a direct driven azimuth mount in half shell roof domes. The were fabricated by Halfmann Teleskoptechnik including controls and robotic software. I was involved during installation, collimation and commissioning.

The Monet North was set up in Dezember 2005 at Mc. Donald Observatory in Texas.


Click on images to expand
Obligatory posing with all participants (except me... I had to make the picture). We had an outstanding support of the McDonald Observatory staff. Without them it would have taken us much longer.

Some pictures of the installation::
Truck transport to the mountain
Azimuth basis at the crane
Truss tube at the Crane
Main mirror positioning
Mirror cell at the crane

Put on the spider
The finished Telescope

Stathis at collimation of the secondary mirror
Evening atmosphere with young crescent moon. The whole week the weather was like this. Deep blue skies at daytime, structured milky way at night with almost no light pollution at all.

Landscape at daytime

Night sky impression. All images with Canon 20 D + kit lens, at 1600 ASA.
The telescope in front of Orion.
In the background you see the 2 large domes of the 2,1 m Otto Struve and the 2,7 m Harlan J. Smith Telescope

Here a picture with less exposure time

First test image at NGC 891 with the Canon 20D at direct focus of the Monet telescope. Stack of 3 single frames of 4 minutes each with .jpg format, no darks, no flats, no guiding.

The red rings at left bottom come from the thermal glow of the camera amplifier.

Of course the images with the planned ALTA CCD- camera + UBVRI- Filter wheel will be much deeper and less noisy.

The dome of the 2.70 m Harlan J. Smith Telescope. The flashlight trails come from participants of the Visitors Center, who organize guided tours.

Picture of the telescope
Telrad base for size comparision

The opened dome of the Smith Observatory in front of the winter milky way with Canis Major, Orion and Hyades
Self portrait at dawn with Jupiter and Spica . The zodiacal light reached almost up to the zenith. (hardly visible in the picture)

Many more pictures from the installation
Pictures from the dome installation

The second telescope was set up at SAOO near Sutherland in South Africa at September 2008 at partly harsh weather conditions (cold, hail, strong wind):


Monet South in the opened half shell dome

A size comparison. The Nasmyth tertiary mirror is this big. Despite the size one can stay at convenient height for checking collimation.

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