Dark Ridge 20" RC
Formerly the University of Iowa Robotic 20" RC telescope

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The Dark Ridge 20" Richie-Chrétien telescope was formerly the University of Iowa Robotic 20" RC and was operated at the Winer Observatory in Sonoita Arizona. The university decided to upgrade their robotic telescope and the Winer Observatory purchased the telescope. Years later the telescope was no longer useful at the Winer Observatory and so the original 20" Cassegrain telescope became available for purchase and the Dark Ridge Ranch, owned and operated by Thomas C. Smith, procured the telescope for placement on the Dark Ridge Observatory in Weed, New Mexico.

The telescope remained in storage for over a year as the ranch was in the process of building the main house and support facilities and preparing to rebuild the telescope.

Below is the on-going historical records of the rebuild effort and the construction of the new home for the 20" RC.

The rebuilding of the Dark Ridge 20" RC (click the image for a larger view)
In the new observatory 10/30/2011 The scope finaly made it out of my shop and into it's new observatory
Another in the observatory 10/30/2011 In an intermediate position
Yet another In the Observatory 10/30/2011 Pointing straight up. The optics are stored away until the scope rebuils/retrofit of the control system is completed and the observatory roof is automated.
The line-up 7/14/2011 The DRO 20" RC observatory takes it's place in the observatory line-up being second in size only to the Morgan observatory
Inside the 20" observatory 7/14/2011 Looking south at the back wall with drop-down section attached to the base half
20" RC observatory 7/14/2011 Another view of the observatory
20" RC observatory 7/14/2011 Water tight and ready for the 20" RC scope to be installed
Roof wall sheeting 7/3/2011 The roof section with lower wall has been sheeted and we are ready for the steel roof panels to be installed
Ready for sheeting 5/11/2011 Here we see the entire structure with the extended rail sections awaiting cutoff. These will be cut once the full roof is complete and the roll off length necessary to view Polaris is determined.
Lower roof section 5/14/2011 Framing the lower section of the roof with 2"x4" studs inside the angle iron skeleton
Posing before the frmaing 6/13/2010 Jim Carlisle, myself and Tom Frey pose in front of the completed lower wall framing secion of the observatory.
Goofy framers 6/13/2010 The short Jim Carlisle, myself and Tom Frey stand inside the last section of the lower wall framing we just completed.
Lower wall section another view11/16/2009 This is another view of the lower wall section and the interior of the observatory can be seen.
Lower wall section11/16/2009 The lower wall section of the observatory finally gets covered with sheeting and now we wait to start the roof section.
The Dark Ridge 20" RC Ready for rebuild and placement on the Dark Ridge Observatory's ridge top in Weed, New Mexico.
Wade Porter, victorious! Wade poses beside the Dark Ridge 20" RC ready for rebuild in the shop.
Wade check Tom's work Enough said, it went really well with Wade's assistance.
Final landing for rebuild Tom performs the final landing of the OTA onto the azimuth ring.
Wade Porter assists Wade Porter from San Antonio, Texas assists in the mechanical assembly of the 20" RC.
Placing the OTA Tom prepares the OTA for placement on the azimuth ring and concrete pedestal.
Landing in the shop Donna Smith and Russ Wright assist in landing the OTA into the shop.
Safe and sound!
Arrival at the ranch The telescope arrived at the ranch in good order. Here we see Russ Wright of Raven Wind Ranch, friend of the ranch,
and Tom Smith preparing to unload the OTA into the shop.
Finally out of storage! The 20" RC is being loaded onto the trailer for transport to the rebuild shop at Dark Ridge Ranch.

Last update June 15th, 2008