HUNTSVILLE- On Friday, May 25th The Huntsville Astronomic and Lunar Observatory (HALO) dome made its final landing atop the Compass Rose Lodge Silo. The 14-foot 6-inch diameter dome eclipsed the sun from viewers below while hoisted by crane along its flight path into place.
“Installation of the observatory dome is a giant step towards the realization of the HALO Observatory,” said Jeff Hyde, Huntsville Square Owner. “The observatory, will serve as an amenity for hotel visitors and the community alike. It’s an exciting project for our team and unlike anything we’ve done before ”
The Dome, manufactured by Ash Manufacturing in Plainfield Illinois, operates via three built in motors. The azimuth motor rotates the dome horizontally 360 degrees, while the other two motors operate the upper and lower shutter doors of the dome which open to expose HALO’s telescope to the night sky.
HALO Observatory will house an advanced telescope fixed atop a motorized mount allowing the system to track celestial objects with a great degree of accuracy. The 16-inch aperture Ritchey-Chretien style telescope is built with hyperbolic shaped mirrors like the Hubble Space Telescope, which offer an exceptionally flat view of objects avoiding image distortions introduced by many amateur telescopes. With imaging equipment the observatory will excel at capturing images of elusive deep sky objects including nebulae and galaxies other than our own Milky Way.
“We are passionate about nature,” said Dakota Hyde Huntsville Square Manager. “Ogden Valley offers a myriad of opportunities to experience nature in ways unique from most places. Likewise, we believe the night sky is an important extension of nature that few people today truly experience. That’s a far cry from the experience our ancestors whose lifecycles hinged around the seasonal dance of constellations across the night sky.”
According to a global atlas of light pollution produced in 2016 by Italian and American scientists, 80 percent of Americans can no longer see the the Milky Way at night from their homes.
“We want to be a part of preserving the natural atmosphere Ogden Valley offers, including the dark sky, for current and future generations,” Dakota said. “It’s breathtaking for many to view the Milky Way for the first time. It’s equally as awe inspiring to first witness a galaxy millions of light years away through a telescope which would not be easily visible under more light polluted skies.”
The HALO Team plans to have multiple telescopes onsite which will be available during star parties and other public events.
Construction of the HALO and Compass Rose Lodge is expected to be complete before year end. For more information, visit www.compassroselodge.com.