The Sierra Stars Observatory is located in the south end of the Carson Valley in Alpine County California about
two miles from the Nevada state line. The semi-desert climate provides over 200 clear nights (and sunny days) per year
with low relative humidity. During the summer months, high temperatures average around 90 F; during the winter
highs average around 45 F. Average annual rainfall is approximately 11 inches and average annual snowfall is 22 inches.
The sky at the observatory site is very dark with a small amount of light pollution
limited to directly north towards Carson City and Minden/Gardnerville in Nevada.
North Longitude: 119:46:30 West
Altitude: 5,070 feet (1,545 meters)
MPC Observatory Code: G68
The observatory telescope is a 0.61-meter (24-inch) F/10 Optical Mechanics Nighthawk CC06 telescope. The Nighthawk
CC06 is a high-precision automated/robotic telescope with superb Classical Cassegrain
optics fabricated by OMI's president James Mulherin.
The primary imaging instrument is a Finger Lakes Instrumentation
ProLine camera. This is a research-grade CCD camera with triple-stage cooling and capable of maintaining stable temperatures
to -65C below the ambient temperature.
The camera contains a Kodak KAF-09000 3056 x 3056 pixel CCD chip with 12-micron pixels giving an image scale of 0.4 arc seconds/pixel
un-binned and 0.8 arc seconds/pixel binned 2 x 2. The area of the chip is greater
than a 35mm format camera providing a field of view of 21 x 21 arc minutes. The
KAF-09000 chip has a high quantum efficiency (69% peak).
Our Finger Lakes Instrumentation ProLine CFW-4-5 filter wheel is designed to integrate with our ProLine camera. The
filter wheel holds four scientific-grade Astrodon SCHÜLER Johnsons-Cousins 50mm square filters
for photometry and tri-color imaging.
Our standard (default) filter wheel holds B-V-R-I (Blue, Visual [Green], Red, and Infrared) photometric filters and a "clear"
opening without a filter. Additional filter wheels and filters will be added in
the future and clients with special filter needs can make arrangements for using
their own filters.
The observatory building has two rooms - the dome room (which contains the telescope) and a control room. The dome
room houses a 15-foot Technical Innovations Pro-Dome modified with custom hardware,
electronics and software to integrate with Talon for automated operation with the telescope.