SON: Instruments


The 32inch Telescope 

Built by The Harlingten Center for Innovative Optics, Ltd. ,UK, the telescope is located at the Searchlight Observatory Network site on Haleakala Summit, Maui, Hawaii. 

The telescope optics where generated, figured and coated by The Harlingten Center for Innovative Optics, Inc., in its Benson, Arizona optics fabrication shop.



 The 50inch Telescope

Left is the University of Tasmania’s new 1.3 m  telescope located at  Bidsee Tier, Tasmania, Australia.

This telescope was built at the expense and request of Clark McDonald Anderson, The Baron of Kirriemuir, Angus County, Scotland and donated to the University of Tasmania, Australia. 

The donation of this telescope to the University of Tasmania (UTas) inspired the UTas to fund and build the new John Greenwood Observatory on Bisdee Tier, Tasmania, Australia (see photos).

This telescope was built by The Harlingten Center of  Innovative Optics, Ltd. in Vancouver, Canada. 

The Ritchie Chretien optics have been generated, polished and coated by The Harlingten Center of Innovative Optics, Inc.. Benson, Arizona, U.S.A.

 50inch Dome

The 50inch telescope will be housed in a Sirius Observatories 6.7m dome, completely automated and remote  controllable.

The dome is marine fiberglass that has been reinforced with a steel frame to assist in lifting equipment and in assembling the telescope.

The motor drives are battery driven with solar charging.

The dome sits on 1.8m high panels with custom remote controllable vents for airflow through the dome during the night and to help with thermal control. The dome aperture has a sliding upper hutter and a lower hatch that can be closed during windy periods or opened to observe objects near the horizon.


The Searchlight Observatory Network Site at San Pedro de Atacama in conjuction with Celestial Explorations Observatory in Chile.

This site currently has two 20-inch (50-cm) telescopes equipped with U42 Apogee cameras, mounted on Paramount Bisque Mounts.

The Clamshell Domes are built from The Harlingten Center for Innovative Optics, Inc. dome molds located in San Pedro de Atacama in partnership with our friend and partner “the most excellent” Alain Maury of The Celestial Explorations Observatory, Chile, discoverer extraordinaire of minor planets and other celestial bodies in motion. 

The All Sky Survey Telescope is a joint effort comprising a Searchlight Observatory Network / Alain Muary / SpaceObs / Celestial Explorations Observatory collaboration dedicated to the detection of visible changes in the San Pedro de Atacama skies from exta solar planet transits to minor planet motions.

The All Sky Survey Telescope is comprised of 8 x 200 mm Canon, wide angle lenses mounted on a purpose build fork mount, equipped with Finger Lake Instrument cameras and housed in a Harlingten Center for Innovative Optics, Inc./ Alain Maury/ SpaceObs, Clamshell Dome.

A 1 meter, off-axis, follow-up, companion telescope to the All Sky Survey Telescope is currently under construction at the Harlingten Center for Innovative Optics, Inc. Benson, Arizona facility and expected to be installed in fall 2012.   

30inch Telescope.

This  telescope has a 30inch mirror and is installed in a 20foot dome. The observatory is located in the Reepham High School (RHS) grounds, in North Norfolk UK.

The primary mirror is 760mm diameter and 75mm thick. The mirror is laid on an 18 point mirror cell. The Newtonian style flat and drawtube are mounted in a drum at the top of the telescope that rotates under motor control to allow the eyepiece to be accessible at any position of the telescope. This feature makes collimation more complicated than with a standard Newtonian as it is essential that the drum is precisely aligned with the optical axis as a first step.

The telescope is all-steel construction, the optical tube is serrurier truss type, supported on  polar aligned steel fork. The  total weight about 1500 Kg complete.The fork is bolted onto a heavy steel ring 1800mm diameter which rests on frame supporting two150mm castors on a concrete plinth inclined at the appropriate angle. Most of the weight, at the lower edge of the ring is onto steel drive wheel on a 25mm shaft providing the final drive. The shaft is connected, via two flexible, anti-vibration couplings and minimum-backlash gearbox to the drive motor, a stepper motor with micro step control.

Declination drive is again via a minimum-backlash (5 secs arc maximum ) gearbox and with a planetary gear from a stepper motor with micro step control.




6 Meter Dome

The design of the telescope and domes was totally directed by the need to enable any normally able-bodied but not necessarily experienced members of the public to enter, move about the observatory and use the telescope, in low light conditions with a high standard of safety.

With the telescope having an eyepiece position about 4.5 meters above the ground level, the requirement called for a solution that is probably unique.

The telescope is fork mounted and the ‘observing floor’ is set at telescope trunnion level as is fairly common with instruments of this size, but here the similarity ends, for in this dome, the floor rotates with the dome. This unique design allows for storage space, a computer desk, seating for 20 and an observing platform to be incorporated into the dome design.

The diagram above shows that the floor has a slot down the middle, allowing the telescope to swing only in the direction of the slot. Full sky coverage is achieved by rotating the dome with the floor and slot attached. The slot is surrounded by a safety wall which is incorporated into an observing platform and steps on the trailing side. The platform is about 1 meter above the main floor level.

In line with the slot in the floor is the slit in the dome, with two covers which slide upwards towards the door at the rear and downwards. To allow this latter downward movement, the dome is extended below the floor level to present somewhat closer to the shape of a sphere.

The whole is mounted on eight wheels on a rail on top of a circular wall enclosing the lower reaches of the building. The public ordinarily do not have access to this area which holds the equipment for handling the telescope mirror, telescope drive electronics and electrical power supplies. A false wooden floor , 1 meter, set to accommodate safe handling of the primary mirror.