Support for small observatory research is difficult to come by. Luckily there are companies out there who realize the value of individuals efforts and of small observatory scientific research.
Celestron is one of those companies. They recognize that many customers not only use their optical instruments for visual or imaging work, but also as tools for scientific research. In 2016 Squirrel Valley Observatory W34 became one of those users as we began a modest near-earth asteroid program. Since that time our scope for this work has been a Celestron EdgeHD 8 inch which has performed beyond our expectations for a scope of that size, having collected data on over 1,400 asteroids, with more than 460 of those being unique near-earth objects (NEO’s); and more importantly having provided confirmation observations in support of the large sky surveys discoveries, for 130 new NEO’s to date.
Celestron recently recognized the value of our near earth astreroid confirmation/tracking program, and has chosen to support Squirrel Valley Observatory with a major equipment upgrade. I am proud to announce that Celestron, a world leader in optical telescope technology has funded a Celestron Edge HD 14-inch telescope for use at Squirrel Valley Observatory. Their gracious and much appreciated contribution will allow us to not only continue our near-earth asteroid program, but excel beyond the capabilities of our current 8-inch scope.
As additional accessories for the system transition arrive in the coming weeks, the new 14″ will be modified and outfitted with a hyperstar system, which will not only reduce the focal length but also increase our field of view.
A secondary supporter of our program’s success is Hollywood General Machining otherwise known as Losmandy Astronomical, manufacturer of the legendary Losmandy mounts. By providing us with a price point that meets our budget Losmandy will also play a key part in the current upgrade and continuation of our NEO program. Our existing G11 mount has performed well but will not meet the heavier load demands of the modified Celestron EdgeHD 14. We expect the newly designed heavier duty G11GT will meet those demands.
Without the support of these valued vendors, it would be a real struggle for our near earth asteroid studies to progress beyond our current capabilities here at Squirrel Valley Observatory.
These legendary companies in the astronomical community are reminding us once again that science and research are not limited to academia. Science belongs to all who ask… ” what and why?”
We do continue to seek funding for camera and software upgrades.
Pictures of the transition will be posted in the coming weeks.
Thank you Celestron!
Thank you Losmandy!
Squirrel Valley Observatory W34