Observatory Training - Cancelled

September 15, 2018, 4:00PM: Observatory Training - Cancelled

Due to high probability of rain, the Sep 15 class is cancelled.

Your Sep 15 Trainers

  • Building Operations and emergency procedures: John Haynes
  • C14 and f/5 Telescope Operations: Rene Gedaly, Ed Fraini
  • Student skills validation: Rene, John, Ed
  • Observatory Director: Chris Ober


Club Members,

The Observatory Training Schedule for 2018 has been set.  Remaining training dates are: March 3rd, May 19th, Sep 15th, Oct 20th

Prerequisite requirements for students:
  • 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 to 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.
To sign up for training

Email your request to take observatory training to Chris Ober, Observatory Director, at ChrisO@astronomyhouston.org. Your RSVP will be accepted on a first received basis as the training sessions are limited to six students per session.  More sessions can be added as needed. Once your prereqs have been verified, you will be added to the next class or placed on a waiting list. About a week before training, Chris 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 the procedures for securing the building in case of emergency. You must take this general training before you can register for training on the 12” Ritchey-Chrétien imaging telescope, aka “Bob’s Dream.”

Training starts at 4:00 PM and continues until about 6:30pm. We will break for dinner and at sundown students will reconvene to demonstrate competence in these areas:

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

Note: Training sessions will be conducted even with cloudy skies; the backup dates will be used only in the event of or threat of rain, which would preclude opening the roof and training on emergency building procedures.

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