This dull image was captured July 5, 2009 at 22h31m58s UT, and is the first image obtained remotely from the observatory. The star is Cor Caroli, the brightest in the constellation Canes Venatici, a small patch of sky near Ursa Major. The star also know an Alpha Canum Venaticorum, was named Cor Caroli Regis Martyris by Sir Charles Scarborough in honour of Charles I.
For this first test, I connected remotely to the observatory’s computers and commanded the roof to open, unparked the mount, pointed at the target and took test exposures, while a friend was on location reporting on the events and making sure that no catastrophic event would ruin the evening that was a complete success. The weather wasn’t great, with some clouds rolling in, but in the 45 minutes the roof was open I managed to point the telescope at 4 targets, and somewhat successfully image the sky.
I got a short exposure of M3, the globular cluster in the constellation Boötes before the clouds rolled in:
Mizar, one of the components of the famous double in Ursa Major:
And the last, probably the worst image of M51 that I ever made, but the one that I will keep for a long time:
The test was a success, and a major milestone was completed in our little observatory. We expect to be fully operational in a few months, and by the winter the telescopes should be looking at the sky every clear night. With a little luck, it’s going to be one of the best Christmas presents ever !