Your Observatory Facility

The McCarthy Observatory facility consists of several main sections:

  • The main observing deck – under a 16 foot dome is housed a main telescope stack mounted on an equatorial pier and computer driven mount system. Behind that is a lift system that allows wheelchair users to access the telescopes. A curved staircase allows access and egress for visiting groups. Computer monitors and camera monitors are on the deck for control and image viewing by visitors. Computer controlled dome rotation, camera control focus control and filter selection can all be done from the deck or from the control room.
  • The control room/classroom –  adjacent to the observing deck is a combination of a small classroom, the technology center, a lending library, and the control computers on a work counter.  All computers are linked to a server, and to an overhead projector that allows us to project on a screen at the end of the room for visitors,  classes, and project work.
  • Storage areas under the deck and in a storage room adjacent to the restroom for telescopes, accessories and educational support materials.
  • The 1,000 square foot outdoor observing deck, with four telescope piers and light blinds to give visitors a “dark sky” experience during our star party events,
  • The 3,000 square foot “Galileo’s Garden” adjacent to the outdoor deck, with many benches for visiting groups.

The entire facility is wired with ethernet cable and power outlets within easy reach. Twelve fiber-optic cables provide connection to the school and outside world for internet connection and video productions.

Other facility features include a weather station, a very accurate  GPS-driven time management system, and a satellite dish that receives the NASA station transmissions, which can be broadcast from the observatory. The entire observatory and outside areas are fully ADA compliant.