A project begins – What we want to do

For a long time the 0.6m f/3.3 reflector Telescope was used to hunt minor planets. And successfully so!
In cooperation with Herbert Raab (and his “Astrometrica” software) the LAG members Erich Meyer and Erwin Obermair discovered 27 minor Planets (from 1996 to 2005). But in recent years the Teleskope lay dormant, partly due to the fact that robotic telescopes where far better suited for a sky survey and partly due to other projects the operators started.

In January 2018  we, the LAG (Linzer Astronomische Gemeinschaft), bought the Telescope.

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The 60cm Deltagraph, the designer of the mount Ing. Pressberger (Center) and the Telescope Owners, left Ing. Erich Meyer and right Erwin Obermair.
(Picture: Vereinschronik/LAG)

A major problem is the very aged Telescope Control that only worked with MS-DOS. Thus it is time for an Upgrade!

Our Goal and Motivation is to create a remote observatory in the darkest and thus for astrophotography best part of Upper Austria. The intermediate goal is to modernize the Telescope Control, enable remote operation and of course move the Telescope from its current location, Davidschlag, to its new Home in a 4m Dome at the observatory outpost “South”.
In the long run we plan a fully robotic operation of the telescope and make the pictures available for LAG Members, Sternfreunde Steyr Members and interested 3rd Parties.

Additionally in cooperation with the “Sternfreunde Steyr“ we want to create a night light protected area, a STAR PARK.

Stay tuned for our next update on the specs of the Telescope.

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A project begins – And who drives it

The project outline

“Kepler Remote” is a project started by the Kepler Observatory and is powered by the  Linzer astronomical society (Linzer Astronomische Gemeinschaft, LAG). The target is to install a remote telescope on one of the darkest places in Upper Austria.

The remote observatory project is dedicated towards the well-known German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler, who was active in Linz from 1612 to 1627 and found Keplers third law there. This is why the project is called “Kepler Remote”. The observatory will be named “Kepler Remote Observatory” or just KRO.

The people behind the Kepler Observatory and KRO

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Kepler memorial in at the “Linzer Schlossberg” (Photo by Herbert Raab)

The Linzer astronomical society mainly consists of amateur astronomers and was founded in 1947 in Linz, Upper Austria. The main goal of the society is to spread astronomical knowledge in the public. To accomplish this, we built the Kepler Observatory directly in Linz, which has been open to the public since 1983. We offer public night sky observations, sun observations, talks related to astronomy and courses for beginners (For more information on our offers please visit our webpage www.sternwarte.at).

The Kepler Observatory lies quite idyllically in the center of the arboretum of Linz on the Freinberg. Since this location is ideal to be reached by the public, it is not so ideal for observations due to quite high light pollution.

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Johannes Kepler Observatory – in the arboretum of the city Linz (Photo by Herbert Raab)
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The ISS above the Kepler Observatory in Linz (Photo by Herbert Raab)

To overcome this, the Kepler Observatory now subsist two observatory outposts:

The observatory outpost “North” in Gramastetten and the new remote observatory outpost “South”, which should be presented (and its creation) in this blog.

Observatory outpost “North”

The observatory outpost “North” is mainly used by our visual observers, however we have also the possibility to take astro-photos with the instruments available at the site. The light pollution is far less than in Linz, but since Linz itself is south of this observing place, it is not that ideal for scientific work and comprehensive deep sky imaging. Therefore we found the observatory outpost “South”.

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The two “domes” and two mounting poles of the observatory outpost “North” in Gramstetten (Photo by Johannes Stübler)

The project location – Observatory outpost “South”

The observatory outpost “South” is located at one of the darkest places found in Upper Austria, in the wonderful foothills of the Alps, north of the national park “Kalkalpen” and north-west of the national park “Gesäuse” in about 1105m above see level.

The nearest bigger cities in the south and east are Graz (284.000 inhabitants, 120km south/east), Klagenfurt (100.000 inhabitants, 145km south) and Vienna (1.9 Mio. inhabitants, 150 km east) . In the north direction we have Linz (203.000 inhabitants, 45km north) and Steyr (38.000 inhabitants, 15km north). In the west direction we mainly have the Alps and Salzburg (152.000 inhabitants, 100km west).

Since more or less the whole Alps are between the observatory and the cities, the light is well shielded by the mountains.

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The tremendous night sky at the remote observatory location – looking towards the national park “Gesäuse” (Photo by Rudi Dobesberger)

Due to the fact of a wonderful night sky with low light pollution, we decided to build a remote observatory for scientific research and deep-sky imaging there.

This blog, should now provide you some insights in the construction and technical realization of this very special remote observatory in the Alps of Austria.

So stay tuned for our next update and gain knowledge on the instrument we plan to use and what we want to do exactly at this extraordinary observing place.