ACE specializes in fully integrated turnkey observatory systems for the modern research and public education facility. We currently invite inquiries for systems in the 0.5-m to 2.0-m aperture range.
ACE has built 1-m class equatorial and alt-azimuth telescopes. These are true research grade instruments designed for local, remote and robotic observations. Our line of instruments, dome-controls and weather detectors provide a complete automation system. ACE telescopes are optically and mechanically of the highest quality. Clients choose ACE over the competition for total system integration, custom fabrication, professional consulting and competitive pricing.
Our equatorial mounts meet stringent requirements. The generous 40:1 friction roller drives are completely free of backlash and give open-loop tracking errors (no corrections from auto-guider) of less than 1 arc second in 5 minutes and less than 5 arc seconds in 1 hour. To achieve this an ephemeris is generated to show flexure and refraction corrections during the (1 hour or more) exposure and the telescope is synchronized to the high-resolution encoders.
These telescopes work with a suite of ACE instruments, dome controls and a weather station to make a fully automated observatory.
ACE provided the Paul & Jane Meyer Telescope for the Central Texas Astronomical Society. The upper truss assembly is made of carbon fiber and the lower truss has a perforated mesh to permit air flow around the mirror. Cooling fans draw air through the fork arms and down out of the rear of the polar axle. The telescope is capable of very high slew speeds yet it is almost silent when moving. The main science camera has 20 micron pixels and produces wide-field images through an ACE dual filter wheel. The auxiliary port has a smaller CCD array with 7 micron pixels and can obtain high resolution images of the planets in addition to acquiring faint guide stars. It takes images through an ACE mini filter wheel equipped with planetary filters. Alternatively, an eyepiece can be placed at either port. All cables are routed through the forks arms and polar axle to provide an exceptionally "clean" appearance. The fork arms were designed to permit an observer to comfortably reach the eyepiece even when the telescope is pointed at the celestial pole. ACE provided a turn-key service for this robotic research facility including consulting with the architect and building contractor, providing the dome automation, weather station, telescope, instrumentation, and full installation with staff training.
We have the expertise and resources to act as prime contractor for your project. This includes liaison with your architects, supply of the telescope, dome enclosure, auxiliary instruments and complete system installation and integration. Continued long-term maintenance and support contracts help ensure the observatory remains in peak operating condition.
Our services are not merely limited to the supply of the equipment. Our clients have a diverse background from professional astronomers at national observatories to physics and general science educators. They all have one common goal: to procure the very best equipment to meet their objectives within their budget.
We provide the following consulting services where requested:
- Review of scientific requirements and how best to achieve them
- Selection of best optical configuration and a complete optical design
- Establish specifications for the optical and mechanical performance of the observatory
- Design and location of the observatory building
- Design of the telescope pier and selection of the dome enclosure
- Optimization of the thermal conditions to improve seeing conditions
- Assistance in preparing documents for funding, where applicable
We have prepared general background information on the selection of the telescope and observatory. We hope you find this initial information useful and we welcome your call for a free detailed consultation.