MY ASTRO CLUB
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MY ASTRO CLUB
Since a few years I am a member of the "Astronomische Contact Groep" (ACG) vzw in Ypers Belgium.
This is an association of enthusiastic amateurs, founded in the late eighties.
The fysical location is in the West Flemish natural reserve area "De Palingbeek" in Zillebeke.
This place was part of the bloody battlefields of Worldware one (1914-1918).
The association accommodates 2 astronomical observatories with all the infrastructure needed.
The observatory's are named "Astrolab IRIS 1" and "Astrolab IRIS 2".
Astrolab IRIS 1 is a building with a roll-off roof.
There you find the NMPT (New Multi Purpose Telescope)
This is an ALT-AZ newton with a primary mirror of diameter 684 mm - focuslenght 2999mm ( f/4.4)
Some members of the club ground the mirror. This took a few years, and the finishing touch
was done by Dany Cardoen the well known mirror grinder in France (Provence)
The telescope itself is build by Astrooptic Keller Germany ( http://www.astrooptik.com/ ) and is in use since autumn 2009.
During 'first light' we ran some tests to see if everything worked properly.
Of course this brought some gremlins with it, and that is normal for a new machine.
So the telescope is still (winter 2010) in test phase.
This is a picture of a partial Orion nebula during one of these tests.
The picture is made by Philippe Vercoutter with a Canon EOS 1Ds III
As you can see this is a telescope with 'possibilities'
The NMPT is fully computer controlled in the (heated ;-)) controlroom.
The 45cm Dobson you see on the right of the picture above, is a high quality mirror telescope. Ideal for planet observation. The mount is provided with a Lumicon sky-vector system. There is also a 175/1400 TMB apo refraktor on a paramount mount.
In the same building there is an auditorium for about 50 people. There is also a small workshop and an exhibition room.
Astrolab IRIS 2 is a building with an optical lab and an office, a small mess-room with facilities to cook a simple dinner. There are also two small bathrooms with showers and a bedroom with room for 10 to 12 people. On the first floor there is a library with hundreds of astronomical books and magazines. Top of the bill is the 6 meter stainless steel dome.
The dome harbors a computer controlled 20cm apochromatic telescope. This telescope was made by Lichtenknecker Optics in Hasselt Belgium. De mount is a german ALT.
Sun, moon and planets are the most popular objects for this telescope.
If you want to know more about this beautifull observatory in flanders fields, surf to www.astrolab.be
Take also a visit to ASTRID (ASTRonomical Image Database). You will find lots of the best astronomical pictures there, made by amateurs from all over the world.