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The development of our custom made enclosures for our 0.4m telescopes is continuing. The project is called Aqawan, which is the Chumash word for 'to be dry'. Have a look at my previous blog entry about the aqawan design.
We have the prototype installed in the parking lot of our Santa Barbara headquarters, housing a 0.4m telescope we are using for testing purposes. This prototype aqawan is slightly smaller than the version which will be rolled out to our observing sites, the final version allowing for 2 0.4m telescopes to be housed. Very soon (early-mid February 2010) one of these dual aqawan enclosures will be installed in the parking lot.
The design has undergone some revisions recently. The walls of the enclosure have been made slightly taller to 5'/150cm. This will further improve the seeing of the telescopes in the enclosure. It will also give more room for the installation, maintenance, and upgrades of equipment. This introduces an extra flexibility into the 3 piers that each telescope will rest on, as their height also has to be increased. This will hopefully make the installation and alignment of the telescopes a little easier. We will be tying the piers together into a more rigid structure.
The control panel for the telescope is now going to be a completely separate to that of the enclosure. This will allow us to install the aqawans at the various observatory sites and independantly install the telescopes. It will also make it less complicated to perform upgrades.
Once the dual aqawan is installed in Santa Barbara we will have more news for you, and plenty of photos.
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