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My Observatory

Maurice Gavin

My interests in astronomy go back to the '50s and I built the larger 3m dome in my garden in the mid 1970's. It resembles a rectangular domestic garage with the dome at one end over a raised observation platform. It contains a clutch of telescopes on a massive equatorial fork mount including 44cm f/4.5 Newtonian, 26cm f/4 reflector and a massive Wray 0.9m fl f/4 lens. These receive little use nowadays since I bought the computer controlled Meade 30cm LX200 which is much more productive with targets located virtually instantly. The Meade is contained in the smaller 1.6m dome and separated by a glass 'wall' from the main observatory where both 'scope and CCD camera are controlled. My observatory (together with many other amateur examples) is fully described in Patrick Moore's "Small Astronomical Observatories" published by Springer - ISBN 3-540-19913-6.

Worcester Park is barely 10 miles from central London and far from ideal as an observatory site. Light pollution continues to get progressively worse and except for some visual observations of brighter solar system targets (my interests are catholic!) the CCD camera is used exclusively. The CCD has no difficulty recording mag 17 stars in 60 seconds exposure with a typical limiting visual magnitude of 4 to 4.5.

I have a long-standing interest in spectroscopy for which the CCD camera is particularly suited. Spectra of numerous brighter variables have been obtained. I recently obtained a spectrum of SN 1998bu in M96 which shows the deep absorption band of Si II - characteristic of type 1a supernova.

Contact Maurice Gavin - WPO - Surrey - UK
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