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Not only keeping the telescopes dry but safe from wind, snow and all adverse weather conditions.
For the 0.4m network the answer to this comes in the form the Aqawan enclosure. You can see the first model, fresh from the workshop in the top image on the right, and standing in it is the lead engineer for the project, Annie Hjelstrom. This enclosure has been installed in the parking lot of the Santa Barbara headquarters of LCOGT and will be housing a single 0.4m which will be used for testing the control software.
The aqawan (which is the Chumash word for 'to be dry') enclosure that will be rolled out to the global sites will be around 1.5 times longer than the version currently in our parking lot. This will allow us to put either 1 or 2 of the 0.4m telescopes in each aqawan.
The first aqawan to be delivered to one of our network sites will go to Cerro Tololo, in Chile. Initially this will house 1, 0.4m but as the network expands, a second 0.4m will be installed in the enclosure.
The design of Aqawan was inspired by the MONET enclosure at McDonald Observatory in Texas and the enclosure for the large RAPTOR telescopes installed at the Fenton Hill site for the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
LCOGT would like to thank John Booth, Tom Vestrand and James Wren for sharing their expertise.
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