Bear Creek Observatory is a privately owned amateur observatory located in Woodinville, WA USA. It was designed and built from scratch by Jonathan Fay with some help from friends over the period of a year  between September of 2002 and September of 2003. The original blog of the construction can be found here . Jonathan gives talks and slideshows on the design and development of personal observatories for astronomy clubs and star parties, using the construction experience as a case study. He presented two talks at the Table Mountain Star Party in July of 2004, one on construction and one on software and automation, and again on DSLR Astrophotography in 2005.

The observatory consists of a 8x16 first floor with a 8’ cylindrical second floor topped by a 8’ dome with split-shutter design. The dome is motorized and computer controlled with provisions for telescope tracking and shutter operation. A custom dome controller powered by a Microchip PIC 16F877A, custom firmware and an ASCOM compliant dome driver allow for automated operation. Two linear actuators control the split shutter to automate opening and closing.

The primary scope is a Meade LX200GPS-12, wide filed is done thru a Orion ED80 APO. The scope is mounted on a pier with a 6400lb concrete cube foundation approximate 4’x4’x4’.

Imaging is done thru an Canon EOS 5D with autofocus thru a Meade 1209 electric micro-focuser autoguided by Maxim/DL with a Meade DSI PRO camera.

Additional Imaging is done thru Canon Eos 300D 6.3 Mega Pixel Digital SLR driven by the Maxim/DL

Portable setup is a Meade LXD75 with a 6' Newtonion Guide scope with a ED80 APO piggyback for imaging.

Planetary shots are taken thru a Philips ToUcam.

The Boldwood Cloud Sensor and a computerized wireless weather station allow fully automated observing.

Kendrick dew heater prevents dewing of the corrector plate.

Scope control is thru ASCOM drivers.

Stray Night Pro Plus and The Sky 6 are used for research and planning.

Maxim/DL from Cyanogen is used for imaging and instrument control.

ACP3 from DC3 Dreams is used for observatory control and batch automation.

Pinpoint from DC3 Dreams is used for astrometric processing.

The entire USNO A2.0 and B1.0 are online consisting of over 1,000,000,000 entries and has positions, magnitudes and proper motions for each object.

The dome during construction. See the blog here.

Bear Creek Observatory
Phone: 425-869-7385 - info@bearcreekobservatory.com

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