First Entry: We bought the land

A project log for Alsask Observatory Project

We will retrofit a 1960's era Cold War RADAR dome to a Radio Observatory

Lorin BriandLorin Briand 02/28/2015 at 02:520 Comments

Welcome to the first log entry on the rehabilitation, renovation and renewal of the old Alsask Pinetree Line RADAR dome. My name is Lorin Briand. I sit on the board of the Alsask Observatory Project (inc.); a non-profit charitable organization that aims to make an observatory for amateur and professional Astronomers on the site of the RADAR dome.

Right now you're wondering:

Where is Alsask?

As the name suggests, Alsask is a town on the border between Alberta and Saskatchewan in Western Canada. The site is at 51°23′31″N 110°00′10″W. Feel free to look it up on Wikipedia, Google Earth or your favourite map program.

Why Alsask?... It's the middle of nowhere.

Correct. We are just off Highway 7 (SK) /9(AB). The nearest large town is 60 km in any direction. The nearest city is 300 km away. That suits an observatory just fine. Astronomers want two things: Dark Skies and Radio Quiet. This place has both. The low population density means that we will have excellent conditions for both Optical and Radio observations.

Why a Radio Telescope?

Good question! The answer is two-fold. First of all, the dome that protects the equipment inside is Radio transparent. Second, it is a historic site; which means we cannot change the exterior of the building substantially, or any other of the 'Historic Attributes.'

An Optical observatory requires a different kind of dome entirely from what is currently there. We'd have to make a change that would not be consistent with the historic nature of the building.

That does not exclude the FUTURE construction of an optical telescope on the site. For now, baby steps. This project can be realized one step at a time.

I will answer your questions as they come up. I'll be posting updates as milestones on the project are reached. The first one was buying the land. I just did that.

Feel free to give us skulls (once we show results) and post comments.

Clear Skies,