Telescopes & Instruments

The Primary Telescope

The main telescope of the observatory is the 16” Schmidt-Cassegrain- Meade's LX200 Advanced Coma-Free (ACF) optics telescope, mounted on a permanent equatorial pier (that was custom-manufactured to match the latitude of the observing site).

The telescope has a focal ratio of f/10 (indicating the “speed” of the telescope’s optics), a mirror with the diameter of 406.4 mm (16"), and with a focal length of 4,064 mm. The resolving power (or the angular resolution) is 0.285 arcseconds.

The magnification and field of view (FOV) can be calculated in function of the attached eyepiece. Below are presented examples of these values as function of some of the commonly used eyepieces. For comparison, Moon’s angular diameter is about half of a degree.




Meade - Super Plossl 26 mm

× 156

0.33 degrees

Meade - Ultra Wide Angle 14 mm

× 289

0.29 degrees

Meade - Ultra Wide Angle 6.7 mm

× 604

0.14 degrees

A precise alignment of the telescope is assisted by a GPS receiver, which inputs the correct time, date and geographical location. Through the AutoAlign feature, the telescope chooses two alignment stars, allowing the user to fine tune the positioning of those stars in the center of the FOV, for an accurate lining up of the telescope. The command of the instrument is performed with the assistance of the AutoStar controller; this system allows a convenient tour of the Cosmos with just a push of a key, featuring access to a 145,000 celestial objects database.


Secondary Telescopes


Six Schmidt-Cassegrain 8” portable telescopes are primary used for the student observation laboratories, as valuable teaching tools. These telescopes use as support heavy-duty fork type mountings and are installed at the time of the stargazing on the observation platform. The 8” telescopes have a focal ratio of f/10, main mirrors with the diameter of 203 mm (8"), and with a focal length of 2,000 mm. The resolving power (or the angular resolution) is 0.570 arcseconds.



 ST-7XE Santa Barbara Instrument Group CCD Camera


The camera has two CCDs inside, one for guiding and a large one for imaging. The low noise of the read out electronics virtually guarantees that a usable guide star will be within the field of the guiding CCD for telescopes with F/numbers F/6.3 or faster. ST-7XE can take hour long guided exposures with ease, with no differential deflection of guide scope relative to main telescope, and no radial guider setup hassles, all from the computer keyboard. This capability, coupled with the phenomenal sensitivity of the CCD, allows the user to acquire observatory class images of deep sky images with modest apertures.




Santa Barbara Instrument Group Self-Guided Spectrograph (SGS)

The self-guided spectrograph has been optimized to capture stellar spectra with high resolution, but has enough sensitivity and flexibility to allow its use on brighter galaxies and emission nebula. This unit is a scientific instrument that is capable to obtain a good spectrum of an object, although it requires significant care and effort.

The spectrograph is designed to operate with the ST-7/8/9 CCD cameras. The object that is to be analyzed is viewed on the tracking CCD, simultaneously with the slit. The slit is backlit by an LED during object acquisition to render it clearly visible on the tracking CCD. The object is manually maneuvered onto the slit using the telescope controls, and is held there using our patented self guiding feature during a long exposure. The spectra is recorded by the imaging CCD, oriented long-ways so the spectra falls across 765 pixels, with a height of about 8 pixels for stellar sources.



SGS Specifications: 

Dispersion: 1.07 or 4.3 Angstroms per pixel

Resolution: emission line is recorded with 2.2 or 8 Angstrom Full Width at Half Maximum

Spectral coverage per frame: about 750 Angstroms with the high resolution grating, or 3200 Angstroms with the low resolution grating

Center Wavelength Selection: Calibrated Micrometer Adjustment

Wavelength Range: 3800 to 7500 Angstroms

Sensitivity: Signal to noise ratio of 10:1 for a 10 th Mag star, 20 minute exposure using an ST-7E and a 10 inch (25 cm) aperture in high resolution mode. An ABG ST-7 will reach magnitude 8. The low resolution mode with the wide slit will be 2 magnitudes more sensitive

Entrance Slit: 18 micron (2.3 arcseconds wide with 63 inch (160 cm) focal length Telescope

Acceptance Angle: F/6.3 by F/10. F/6.3 recommended for maximum signal.


  • Stellar Classification
  • Analysis of Nebular Lines
  • Identification of spectroscopic binaries
  • Measurement of Stellar proper motion to +/- 6 km/sec accuracy
  • Measurement of Emission Nebula Proper Motions
  • Spectra of Laboratory and field sources
  • Galactic Spectr a and Red Shift
  • Measurement of Brighter Quasars


LHIRES III High Resolution Spectrograph

Lhires III is a very high resolution spectrograph designed for amateur and educational astronomy. Numerous projects are within reach thanks to the technology involved in this instrument. Professional/amateur collaborations have been done with Lhires III spectrographs.


  • power of resolution R ~18000
  • resolution of 0.035nm near H-alpha
  • wavelength selected by micrometer
  • mirror slit 15-35µm, reflective for guiding
  • switchable grating modules (2400 gr/mm in standard; 1800 gr/mm, 1200 gr/mm, 600 gr/mm, 300 gr/mm and 150 gr/mm in optio
  •  possibility to put an eyepiece