What is ROVOR?

The ROVOR (Remote Observatory for Variable Object Research) is a low budget, low maintenance, computer controlled telescope designed for specific target research. ROVOR is currently used to monitor blazars, galaxian nuclei and QSO's, as well as occasional targets-of-opportunity such as Supernovae and GRBs. Observing is automated using Orchestrate from Software Bisque.

Interfacing with the GCN
The current interface with the Gamma Ray Coordinates Network (GCN) is entirely human interace. Maybe someday we will get this automated.

Weather Forecasting
A weather station is on-site giving local wind speed, temperature, and humidity conditions. ROVOR's programming will eventually use this local information together with data from weather services and satellites to decide when and what to observe.

Power Source
ROVOR is at the NW corner of the Delta, Utah power grid.

Software
ROVOR is currently controlled by The Sky using Orchestrate. Imaging is done by CCDsoft. The dome is controlled via our own LabVIEW software. Communication is through a HughsNet satellite link. A webcam on site provide telescope security and pointing information. Data are transferred to BYU during the day using Filezilla. Nearly all software is COTF by design.

Observatory automation and control will be entirely automated through our custom software, Celestial Grid. Celestial Grid will interface directly with Orchestrate and LabView to automate all telescope functions. Celestial Grid automated control is expected to be operational Summer, 2010.

The Lifferth Dome:

The Lifferth Dome is a pull-off roof designed for small telescopes and other observational equipment. It was specifically designed for the needs of the ROVOR project. The roof itself is completely removed from the observatory housing walls and cranked off to the side below the telescope horizon. Two swing arms on either side of the observatory work in unison to lift the roof off the structure over the telescope, and down and away into a cleared location. Pull-off torque is provided by a threaded rod connected to an electric motor at the back of the building. As the motor rotates, the threads turn through a threaded sleeve connected directly to the support arms. Simple but very effective.

Advantages of the Lifferth Dome:
  • No lost horizon.
  • No roller surfaces to keep clean.
  • Low power requirements.
  • Simple limit switches.