How many observatories or roll-offs can be housed on one site?
Depending on the lot size chosen only one observatory or roll-off will be permitted per site. Smaller pads located alongside the observatory or roll-off will be allowed for mobile equipment brought to site. It is important to remember that location of each observatory or roll-off is strictly controlled so as to avoid obstruction of other observatories or roll-offs nearby.
What material can the observatories or roll-offs be constructed from?
Fiber Glass Resin which has been treated with fire retardant resins or fabricated from steel. Please ask for more details if required.
Do you supply piers?
Yes- we have access to local vendors who will make any size and shape pier. Please ask if you require this service and we would be glad to obtain a price for you.
How do you recover from power outages?
Whilst every effort is made to prevent electrical outages it is not possible to guarantee continual electrical supply. We recommend that each observatory or roll-off be fitted with a UPS capable of providing enough power to shut domes and roll-offs in the event of a power outage. Our resident astronomer will check domes and roll-offs to ensure all domes and roll-offs are secure.
In cases where SMAP provides a roll-off roof we will provide a UPS suitable to close the roof(this can only happen after the customer has successfully and safely parked their telescope with their own UPS system).
Where SMAP supplies a dome type building we will provide a UPS system suitable to close the shutter.
What type of Internet connection do you provide?
Initially there will be DSL lines provided, one or more lines can be combined to get greater speed, the site has been set up to provide T1 and fiber optic lines as soon as it becomes practical to do so.
Is DSL not too slow for transferring the large files that are created when imaging?
We recommend saving these large files to the hard disk on the remote computer and then FTP these files to a FTP server automatically when all imaging is done- during the day. It will be possible to download the files directly with faster download speeds to the home computer. It is never wise to try and download these types of files directly to the home computer whilst imaging remotely.
To help all our customers we have set up a dedicated server which has unlimited 'user' space which we can configure for each of our customers. Customers will have their own secure folder where they can upload their data from their remote PC to their secure folder and then down load their data from their secure folder to their home computer. There is no charge for this service. All the customer requires is an FTP client like WS-FTP or FTP Voyager on both the remote and home PCs.
Do you offer support for remote operations?
Yes. Our resident astronomer will be able to provide some support but in the event of major failures, it will be the owner's responsibility to ensure the equipment is repaired. SMAP, its' Directors and resident astronomer accept no liability for damage or repairs to on-site equipment not belonging to SMAP.
How much snow do you get?
How long is a piece of string? A normal snow fall can be as light as 1� or as heavy as 12� at a time. There is nothing that can be done about an abnormal snow fall. Our resident astronomer will advise all our customers via e-mail if there are heavy snows.
What kind of hardware is required to run an observatory or roll-off remotely?
The generic answer is the following: A mount that can be controlled via a PC, UPS, ADSL modem for phone line connection, observatory/roll-off with the facility to link to the PC software for control of opening and closing dome/roll- off. It will be necessary to have software like RADMIN or VNC to be able to link to the observatory PC remotely. Please ask for further details as this is quite an extensive and individual subject.
Will there be on-site presence?
Yes. We have a resident astronomer on site.
Do you have security cameras on-site as well as weather information?
Yes and yes
How much on-site support is available?
It depends on what problems there are (if any). If the problem is one that cannot be immediately identified, we will ask the owner what they would like to do e.g. come to site effect repairs themselves or ask SMAP to look at the problem and effect repairs. SMAP will not accept any liability for any equipment that is unable to be repaired.
Will observatories be elevated in some way and independent of the concrete pier and foundation?
All observatory domes will be elevated at about 18 inches above ground level. The central pier will be totally isolated from any other concrete or flooring within the dome.
Do you allow licensees to rent out telescope time to other users?
Yes - provided this is communicated to the Directors of SMAP in advance of setting up this facility.