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Old 22-06-2021, 08:03 PM
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Paul Haese
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Swan Reach Imaging Services

This project has been a couple of years in the making. My business partner rang me three years ago and asked me if I would be interested in buying a property with him near Swan Reach. I of course agreed as I have been slowly working towards doing astronomy work that pays and this was my natural progression of establishing a hosting facility. The facility is located in the newly formed International Dark Sky Reserve with approved readings of 21.99 across the entire reserve. Our location is on the eastern side of the reserve so it is even further away from Adelaide. Adelaide is 160km away from the site.

Our goal is to initially build and operate a 9m x 6m roll off roof shed (contractor has been sorted) which will accommodated 9 piers to host robotic systems. My partner will have two piers and I will have one (I also have a dome on site so I get a another pier). We will only be hosting piers but not selling time on our equipment. If all goes well we will build another shed next year to accommodate further clients.

The site is located near Swan Reach on a 200 acre property. The compound where the facility is located will be fenced with security fencing and have security monitoring of all buildings and grounds in the immediate vicinity. Our primary concern is provide a secure site for our clients to have their equipment hosted.

Over the last 6 weeks or so we have selected the facility site, had earth works undertaken, installation of containers, purchase of a 63kwh battery system and 5.5kw solar panel system, holes dug for the panel support structure and NBN infrastructure installed.

In the coming weeks I plan on installing the steel framing, which I fabricated, into 700mm deep holes x 450 wide and pouring concrete. Once this is done we will install the power system and get that operational. Shortly to follow will be installation of Allsky camera and weather station and then commencement of excavations for the roll off roof and dome.

We hope to have the entire facility operational and bug tested by late October early November. If you are interested in becoming a client please send me an email to discuss further. We will be providing a high quality service in a dark sky with good seeing. I will personally install your equipment and ensure it is operating at peak performance. Service work will be conducted in a fortnightly cycle for all clients.

For now, please enjoy the construction ride.

First images are the site, then each will follow from here.
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  #2  
Old 23-06-2021, 12:09 AM
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Joshua Bunn (Joshua)
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Hi Paul,


This is great to see. The site looks the goods, I wish you the best in this and I'm sure you guys will do an awesome job. Following with interest.
Josh
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Old 23-06-2021, 12:53 PM
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multiweb (Marc)
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Massive undertaking. Must have taken some serious planning. I've heard about that dark sky reserve in SA. It's a really good initiative. The skies must be unreal down there. I assume you guys get some heat in summer as well. Doesn't matter much for the gear during the day or do you try to keep it cool as much as possible. Aircon? Insulation? I see you'll rely mainly on solar panels so power will be limited. How do you deal with internet and remote operation? Satellite? Or are you close enough for 4G reception?
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Old 23-06-2021, 10:54 PM
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strongmanmike (Michael)
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I think I found ya!

Looks like a formidable but very exciting undertaking Paul Looks like a great isolated site too and dark!

We are on opposite ends of the height above sea level spectrum, huh?... I won't get 45degC days and you won't get snow

Does the Murray ever flood there?...I am assuming not.

Looks like a handy spot there, with some nearby amenities and access to frolicking on the Murray, should you chose, very cool.

Mike

Last edited by strongmanmike; 27-06-2021 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 24-06-2021, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by multiweb View Post
Massive undertaking. Must have taken some serious planning. I've heard about that dark sky reserve in SA. It's a really good initiative. The skies must be unreal down there. I assume you guys get some heat in summer as well. Doesn't matter much for the gear during the day or do you try to keep it cool as much as possible. Aircon? Insulation? I see you'll rely mainly on solar panels so power will be limited. How do you deal with internet and remote operation? Satellite? Or are you close enough for 4G reception?
We have been planning this project for three years now. Most of it was working out what we were going to provide and what the long term plan should be. It does get hot there and we have allowed for higher insulation in the observatories to preserve equipment.

Internet is primarily fixed wifi which has great signal and there is 4G for back up. We have two towers 2.5km away.

Remote operation will be private networks to each operator. Our infrastructure is designed to only allow access only to the clients computer and the weather information.

Quote:
Originally Posted by strongmanmike View Post
....
Looks like a formidable but very exciting undertaking Paul Looks like a great isolated site too and dark!

We are on opposite ends of the height above sea level spectrum, huh?... I won't get 45degC days and you won't get snow

Does the Murray ever flood there?...I am assuming not.

Looks like a handy spot there, with some nearby amenities and access to frolicking on the Murray, should you chose, very cool.

Mike
The light pollution map confirms the darkness levels measured there 2 years ago. One of the great things about the site is that there is not much cloud during much of the year. We are far enough away from the coast for most cloud to dissipate before reaching our site. Major storms excepted. Temperature wise there will be some hot days but we are taking precautions to prevent too much of a build up inside the buildings. Certainly no snow.

At 56 meters above sea level, the site is not subject to flooding. I think we are 40 meters above the river there. The 56 flood was about 9 meters above the river level at Swan Reach. There are signs at the ferry about the floods in the last 70 years.

There are some amenities in town, but it is pretty limited. A nice meal can be had at the hotel, there are a couple of caravan parks nearby and some smaller stores.

Last edited by Paul Haese; 27-06-2021 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 24-06-2021, 09:35 PM
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mswhin63 (Malcolm)
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Nice project, I am still considering purchasing land in the area myself. Not sure how it will go but may change my mind in the next couple of years.
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Old 02-08-2021, 09:56 PM
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Some progress - It's been a great couple of days at Swan Reach Imaging. First up we got our power station finally up and running (thanks to Geomatters Pty Ltd), we installed the solar panel system and the batteries over the last month but had to wait for the inverter and charger to be installed to allow power to operate. Secondly today we established the first stage of the security system, so far we are not using much power out of the 79kwh we have on hand. Thirdly we have our all sky installed and operating. We anticipate that the roll off roof will be installed in late September and operation of the facility will occur sometime in December this year.

Of note in the night sky image is the IR lighting up the trees which can be seen on left edge of the allsky image. We will eliminate this during imaging operations so that it does not affect our customers or prevent them from making the most of the night skies in the Reserve. We are pretty happy with how the sky looks and are looking forward to showing you more in the next month.
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Old 02-08-2021, 10:39 PM
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This image is without the IR light on. Pretty impressive skies these. Still and very dark.
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Old 02-08-2021, 11:08 PM
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Great coverage Paul, doing well. Love the use of containers.
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Old 03-08-2021, 02:20 PM
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Coming along, love the all-sky camera view, I want to get me one of those for Eagleview

Mike
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Old 03-08-2021, 03:11 PM
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Great progress Paul.

What are going to do for keeping the inside of the containers cool in summer, assuming you have batteries and inverters in there?


Josh
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Old 06-08-2021, 03:56 PM
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Fantastic Paul. What a great project.

You could put a second roof on top of the container and put some roofing insulation under it or install a couple of whirlybirds in the roof.

Greg.
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Old 06-08-2021, 06:17 PM
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Fantastic project. I’m looking forward to following development.
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  #14  
Old 15-09-2021, 10:56 AM
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Work continues at Swan Reach Imaging. Over the last couple of weeks we have installed the first observatory on site as well as on going installation of electrical and coms circuits.

There has been a delay of the installation of the large roll off roof observatory due to a mix up between the builder and the council. It will mean we will be installing that later this year.

In the mean time we will continue to move forward.

If you are interested in placing your own small remote observatory on site or want your equipment hosted please send me an email. We are interested in all sorts of arrangements.
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Old 15-09-2021, 12:35 PM
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Looking good Paul, I assume that's your Scopedome, moved from Clayton Bay?

Mike
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Old 15-09-2021, 01:01 PM
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Looking good Paul, I assume that's your Scopedome, moved from Clayton Bay?

Mike
Yes this was the dome at Clayton Bay. It is a version 1 Scopedome. I have modified it to have the latest control boxes after I had a nasty accident with the umbilical cord. It was a fatal flaw of the older version. With some adaption you can rid yourself of the umbilical cord and have flawless operation.

Personally, I prefer the older version as there is less silicone (I think I used 14 tubes on a recent installation) required than the new models. The new model has some great ideas such as the door in the side and the wiring lum works better. On the V1 model all the dome drains into wells at the bottom of the moving dome and then that runs outside, water cannot egress into the observatory floor. The new version relies on a good silicone seal in various areas. It can be achieved but you need to be careful during installation not to miss or go too thin with the silicone in the required areas.
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Old 15-09-2021, 01:04 PM
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Great progress Paul.

What are going to do for keeping the inside of the containers cool in summer, assuming you have batteries and inverters in there?


Josh
Hi Josh, I missed your question. We are working on some ideas about using passive cooling. Perhaps some polystyrene King Form insulation too.
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Old Yesterday, 08:09 PM
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Watching with interest. Good luck team!
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