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My astronomy buddy Peter and I have similar roll-off roof observatories.  While we can control the mount and camera from inside our homes, we have to be in the observatory to open or close the roof.  We decided it was time to automate roof control.  "IoT", here we come.

Instead of buying a commercial controller we took the challenge of designing and building our own!  The heart of the controller is an Adafruit ESP32-based Feather module.  It will interface to relays and sensors, and connect to the internet to allow us to control it via our cell phone, tablet or computer wherever we are.  The basic version of it is up and running!  Here's what it looks like so far.

Roof Controller
1st Version of the Observatory Roof Controller

For several years now Dottie has been creating artistic and functional mosaic objects.  That includes things like wall hangings, decorative balls and trivets.  Several people have asked where they can see some of her creations and she's decided it's time to create a web page as a showcase vehicle.  Jump over to Designs by Dottie and take a look!



Dottie and I recently spent 4 nights at Palo Duro Canyon State Park in the Texas Panhandle.  Of those nights only the first night was clear so I'm glad I took a nightscape picture that night even though we were tired from the seven hour drive to get there.

Camping in the R-Pod at the far end of the park in the Mesquite Campground I set up the camera maybe a hundred feet or so outside our RV site.  Even though it was dark to the eye and the mountain was only illuminated by stray light from the campground, it showed up well in the 30 minute exposure.  Check out the photo in the Astrophotography Nightscapes section.

Palo Duro Canyon is a really cool place to visit.  It's actually the second largest canyon system in the U.S.  Not as deep as the Grand Canyon, but just as colorful and you can drive to the bottom and camp in any of several campgrounds.