Starfire Observatory

My roll-off roof observatory was finished in 2007 and is located about 20 miles south of Bloomington, Indiana. The structure is 14 x 26' and contains a 14 by 20' imaging area as well as a 6 by 14' dry room. Inside are two Astro-Physics robotic mounts which are used to drive various telescopes.

While I started photographing with film, my workflow is fully digital these days. The move to a ccd camera has opened up exciting possibilities for deep sky imaging that film shots could never obtain. These days astrophotographers are no longer bound to low sensitivity films that tend to warp when exposed to humidity for long exposures. In addition, data from different telescopes and cameras can be combined over the years for truly deep shots. In the old days, the film images were printed directly in my darkroom. Later they are scanned with a medium format scanner, processed, and printed digitally. For darkroom printing I used a 4 by 5 Omega enlarger, and a 16" Kreonite Roller Transport. These days I use a 44" HP printer for a 100% digital work flow .

I have networked computers between my warm room, home, and the observatory which will allow for comfortable and remote imaging on cold winter nights. Today, software may be used for a "hands off" approach making use of the robotic nature of mounts and quality focusers for 100% unattended imaging.

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