Observatory Training - Class Prerequisites

Prerequisite requirements for students taking observatory training
  • Must be at least 16 years of age or older.
  • Must be a Society member in good standing with all dues paid.
  • Have full knowledge of all general site rules and have completed the general site orientation.
  • Must have been a Society member for at least 6 months.
  • Must have knowledge of basic telescope functionality and procedures and have a working understanding of equatorially mounted astronomical telescopes. It is also recommended, though not required, that users be familiar with using TheSkyX.
  • Will be required to execute an observatory building use agreement which is a contract of limited liability covering all rules, regulations, and requirements governing the use of observatory building facilities. Members under 18 years of age must have a parent or guardian execute the agreement on behalf of a minor user that is 16 or 17 years of age.
Signing up for popup training, 1st come, 1st serve

We have a new policy for class registration starting 2019 that we hope will better handle the scheduling difficulties we experienced in 2018. It’s called PopUp Observatory Classes and it closely follows what we serious observers already practice. Here’s how it works.

The call that class may be held will go out via our usual communication channels during the week before it looks like a “good enough” Saturday for observing. If you are interested, make sure you have all prerequisiites above completed. The Go/ No Go announcement that class will definitely be held may come as late as the Friday before the Saturday class. The first six qualified students who respond when the Go/NoGo call goes out will get added to the class. Once your prereqs have been verified, Observatory Director Chris Ober will email you a copy of the Observatory Operator Guide. Print this guide and bring it with you to class.

Training Overview

Training covers opening and closing the observatory, operating the 12.5”  f/5 and C14 telescopes, and securing the building in case of emergency. Incidentally, you must take this general observatory training before you can register for training on the 12” Ritchey-Chrétien imaging telescope, aka “Bob’s Dream.”

Training covers the topics below with a break for dinner. Actual start times vary through the year, but in general, training starts at 2pm CST and 4pm CDT. Before sundown students will reconvene to demonstrate competence in these areas:

  • Understanding of the burden of responsibility for the facility
  • Documenting  "as found condition and as left condition" of the observatory
  • Proper use of Startup and Shut down of the telescopes
  • Use of emergency procedures

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