16" Telescope (White Dome at old Visitors Center) | Setup Instructions


• On the Dome Rotation control, push the Dome Left or Dome Right buttons to bring the dome power cable above the power connection, if necessary.

• Plug the cable into the power connection. You should hear a relay click within the box.

• Set the dome opening lever to the “Open” position, and hold down the button beneath it to open the upper slit of the dome. The upper slit will stop moving automatically when fully open.

• The bottom slit opening must be cranked open. Climb the tall ladder, unreel a little slack in the cable, then push open the lower slit. If you're a bit vertically challenged, pushing on the lower slit opening at the center is best.

• Slowly crank the lower slit down to the desired amount.

• Unplug the dome power connection, and secure the cable with the bungee cord so that it will not catch on the tension wire on the interior of the dome as the dome rotates.

Dome rotation, and dome opening control panels. Near the top,
the dome power control cable is shown plugged in.
NOTE: Dome will not rotate when dome power control cable is plugged in.


• Power up the UPS for the computer (on top of the box on the wall, by the desk) if necessary. Wait 30 seconds for the UPS to complete its self test.

• Turn on the Mac Mini computer (power button is on the right rear side). It will boot into MacOS.

• While the computer is booting, turn on the UPS for the telescope if it’s not already on. It’s at the base of the pier. Wait 30 seconds for the UPS self test to complete.

The 16" RC telescope is normally used ONLY for planetary or deep sky imaging.

The 4" f/15 is set up for hydrogen alpha imaging. The front prefilter and read H-alpha filter should NEVER be removed.

The 3" telescope is normally used for white solar imaging and has a white light filter on the front end. If being used for other purposes, the white light filter will need to be removed and stored.

• Uncover the telescope system.

• If doing lunar, planetary, or deep sky imaging, remove the front cover from the 16” RC .


The telescope system in the white dome includes a 16" RCOS RC, a long focus 4" Skylight
refractor, and a short focus 3" Explore Scientific refractor, mounted on a
Bisque Paramount ME robotic mount.

• If necessary, plug the power connection into the mount, near the lower left side of the control panel on the mount. Turn on the power switch.

• Soon after the mount is powered up, you should hear two brief beeps as the mount initializes. Once it has initialized, “double click” the button on top of the mount’s joystick. This will home the mount to 0 degrees declination and +2 hours HA. After the homing process is complete, you will hear two triple beeps of differing pitch (one for each axis). Do NOT attempt to move the telescope until after the beeps. After that, the mount is now ready for manual (joystick) motion or computer control.

Telescope mount control panel, showing power connection
and switch. The UPS for the mount is at the bottom of the pier.

The procedures for establishing a computer link with the telescope mount, slewing to a target, and using the Sky X and Astro IIDC imaging software are identical to using the solar viewing telescope system in the rolloff observatory.

For those instructions, please visit http://hercules.as.utexas.edu/Paramount/Solar_Viewing_Setup_Revised_07202013.pdf


• Replace the cover on the 16” telescope, if used.

• Rotate the dome to the stow position.

• Plug in the dome power cable.

• Crank in the lower slit opening. When it’s nearly vertical, brace it with your arm so it doesn’t bang shut.

• Set the dome opening lever to the “Close” position, and hold down the button beneath it until the upper slit is closed. It will stop automatically.


• Exit the Astro IIDC software.

• In SkyX, disconnect the computer from the telescope mount by first parking the telescope, the choosing disconnect.

• Exit the SkyX software on the computer, then shut the computer down. If SkyX asks about saving the document, choose "No".

• Turn off the UPS for the computer.

• Turn off the mount.

• Unplug the power connection for the mount.

• Turn off the UPS for the mount.

• Cover the telescope as best you can.

• Turn off building lights.

• Please make sure the dome doors are closed and locked when you leave.

If you have any questions, please contact, in this order:

Kevin Mace at 649 (home @ the Observatory), 100 (office at the old VC), (432) 295-2159 (cell).
Marc Wetzel at 662 (home), 672 (office)
Rachel Fuechsl at 676 (home)
Judy Meyer at 190 (home)
Frank Cianciolo at 666 (home)