"Membership provides the sense of ownership without its complexities"
UDSAC Membership includes exclusive unlimited use of a equipment ready solar powered remote controlled observatory.
UDSAC Field Location
The UDSAC observatories are located in Hidalgo County in southwest of New Mexico, 3 miles south of the town of Animas; 15 miles to the east of the Arizona state line and 40 miles north of Mexico. The UDSAC site is located on a 40-acre plot of land in a high desert valley plateau (elevation 4,600 ft; darkness >21.5 magnitudes/sq arc-sec).
The UDSAC observatory field is a twenty-acre section of flat land located a quarter mile from Route 338, the main road in Animas, NM. The field has a capacity for 60 observatories while still allowing 100 feet between the buildings.
Each observatory is built upon a 6-inch thick cement slab with underlying PVC conduits for electrical wiring. The observatory consists of two rooms; a 10x12 foot telescope room with an isolated pier and a 10x6 foot insulated control (warm) room. The reflective metal roof is low-pitched to optimize the viewing horizon in all directions. The walls are constructed with 2x6 inch studs.
Observatory Power System
Each observatory is independently powered and totally off the grid. Each building has its their own solar panels having a capacity of 400 W and energy storage capacity of the deep cycle gel batteries in the observatory > 200 Ah (2.4 kW) controlled by a web monitored MPPT voltage regulator. The observatories are wired with a web power DC distribution system and software that provides relays with 20, 12, and 5 volts DC outputs for the telescopic and computer equipment. Additional DC voltages are available upon request. The observatories are also wired for 125v AC power available via a DC/AC inverter. The roof has a novel roll-off mechanism powered by a 12v DC winch.
Observatory Internet Access
The Internet service for the observatories is provided by a radio transmission system that covers the complete 20 acres. Each observatory includes a radio receiver and router that serve to remotely control the operational systems, as well as, to upload and download data and images. Sky and weather conditions of the UDSAC observatory field are updated every 15 minutes on the UDSAC.org website.
Observatory Security System
Each observatory includes a remote-controlled camera with infra-red illumination and a motion detector. This camera provides several security functions. The operator can monitor the movements of the telescope when slewing to target positions and to verify the park position of the telescope before the roof is activated. When the camera is monitoring the door, anybody entering the observatory will activate the motion sensor and camera will take a series of snapshots and automatically email them to the appropriate personnel.
UDSAC Model Insitutional Observatory
UDSAC model observatory - open roof
UDSAC Nearby Tourism Resources