EMO Courtenay

Dome 1

Ed Majden’s Observatory
Courtenay, BC, CANADA

Lat: 49 deg 40′ 36.4″ N – Long: 125 deg 00′ 36.2″ W

This observatory was built with the help of friends over several years. It is a work in progress. The dome is home built, made of plywood arcs cut from 3/4″ plywood and covered with tempered masonite and then painted with neoprene sundeck coat for weather protection. Several volunteers aided in this effort but Geoff Culliton deserves a mention along with my brother-in-law Lyle Wade and friend, Frank Davis. At present it has just undergone a major refit thanks to the efforts of a good friend and colleague John Purdy. His photo is included below doing roof repairs on the building proper. John has also made special accessories for the various instruments, as he is a talented hobby machinist and amateur astronomer. Most of my colleagues are ex or retired R.C.A.F./C.A.F. veterans!



Dome skeleton made from 3/4 inch plywood arc sections.



Geoff Culliton screwing down dome gore sections.


John Purdy working on roof

John Purdy working on roof repairs.

A Sandia Bolide Detection Camera was installed on the roof thanks to Richard Spalding of Sandia Labs in the United States. This is part of a West Coast Fireball Tracking Network overseen by Dr. Jeremy Tatum, retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Victoria. Dr. Tatum asked me to be the unofficial coordinator of this West Coast Network. He still assists with the technical work of triangulating fireballs captured by these All-sky Cameras. A picture of one of the Convex Sandia All-Sky Cameras is shown below. It operates 24 hours per day recording on 8-hour vhs tapes. A new auto recording computer capture fisheye camera is also being installed at this site. Sandia Labs in the U.S.A also provided this system. It will detect moving objects and dump the images to a PC computer hard drive. It uses a special interface box designed at Sandia Labs including a software package called Sentinel installed under the Linux operating system.


WA Fireball


Above – Washington State fireball detection near the SE horizon! North is to the right with East at the bottom. A final joint research paper is in progress. No meteorite as yet has been found. The fireball is the bright flare at the horizon. This is a single frame capture.

Convex Sentinel Camera


Convex type Sandia All-Sky Bolide Detection Camera.

One of the main areas of research conducted at this Observatory is Meteor Spectroscopy. This work is described elsewhere on this web page.

The main observatory at present houses a Celestron C14 S.C.T. Auxiliary equipment includes an Optec SSP-3 solid state Photometer and an SBig ST-6 CCD Camera. A Celestron 8 inch Schmidt Camera will soon be added on the telescope mount for wide field photography.

One of the big problems today is light pollution. A problem most astronomers have to contend with today.

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