Astronomical Research Observatory

0.81m Telescope -  32 Inch Telescope 

Photo by John Stone

Astro-Research 32in Robotic Telescope 

The Astro-Research 32 inch telescope ( 0.81 meter ) can reach an unfiltered limiting magnitude of  22.18 magnitude in a five minute exposure using a SBIG STL-1001E.   This capability was confirmed on August 5,  2006 while imaging NEO 2001 PJ9. 

The first optician we selected for this project was a total failure leaving us will a completed mirror that had severe astigmatism, surface scratches and roughness after 18 months in their west coast ( California) optical shop.  Finally after months of begging just to get our mirror blank returned to us, we finally hooked up with a reputable optician who completed the 0.81m mirror for us in less than 30 days!  The optician...  Mike Lockwood of Lockwood Custom Optics.  This telescope is regarded as one of the worlds top performing instruments in 2008 conducting near earth object follow-up observations with measures to unfiltered magnitude 23.7.

32 inch telescope

M 16 - Eagle Nebula - Exposure time 4 seconds - First image from the Astro-Research 0.81m ( 32 inch ) telescope

Thanks go to John Pratte of JP Astrocraft for all his help on this long term project.

Lockwood Custom Optics fabricated of the 32 inch primary mirror.

Instrumentation Design

Design of the Astro-Research (0.81 meter) 32" f/4.0 Telescope

Mirror Diameter
0.81 meter (32")
Focal Length
128.2 inches
Central Obstruction 6.55" Prime Focus CCD Camera


Mirror Specifications

Waves Of Correction Primary Mirror
Mirror Sagitta
Airy Disk Size (Microns)
Aperture Size In Square Inches
804 sq. inches


Telescope Specifications 

Light Gathering X Human Eye
5 min exp. Approx  CCD Limiting Magnitude 90% Probability
21.74 unfiltered
5 min exp. Approx  CCD Limiting Magnitude 10% Probability
22.12 unfiltered
Theoretical Resolution
Field Of View With a SBIG STL-1001E  CCD Camera
25.6' x 25.6'
CCD Resolution  of the SBIG STL-1001E            (24 micron pixels)
1.34 arc sec/pixel
Tube Design
Open Truss
Optical Baffling
Primary, Camera


Mount Specifications

Mount Type
Fork Mount
RA Drive Size
32" Diameter
Dec Drive Size
32" Diameter
Pointing Accuracy
9.25 arc sec RMS
Tracking Accuracy
< 1 arc sec - 300 sec
Fully Robotic
Slew and Image
Drive Electronics
Software Bisque MKS 4000

Subject:  Software Bisque MKS 4000

 During this first year of operation not one telephone call or email was sent to Software Bisque regarding setup or operation of the MKS 4000.  In the first year the MKS 4000 functioned perfectly on every one of the 21,097 slews.  Not a single hic-cup occurred while tracking or slewing using the Telescope Control System.  Even if the main computer went down, and it did, the MKS 4000 kept on tracking and told the computer where it was without homing after re-boot.  During the first year only one T-point model was ran to increase pointing accuracy.  The MKS 4000 functioned so well that we never instituted PEC and never enacted ProTrack.

The MKS 4000 by Software Bisque has been operating for over 4 years without a single failure.  Clearly this is a testament to the quality and engineering of this telescope control system.  The 1.3m (50 inch) telescope currently uses the same telescope controller.


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