J. Milburn Smith Memorial Observatory
Welcome to the JMSM Observatory (JMSMO) part of this web site. This JMSM Observatory is dedicated in loving memory of J. Milburn Smith. This observatory facility was designed by Mike Sherick, with construction completed in 2006. The JMSM Observatory was designed from the ground up as a remote robotic observatory for the purpose of CCD Imaging of deep-sky objects, with the ability to be configured with a variety of telescopes. This facility is located at 7,200 feet elevation in the Sacramento Mountains of Southern New Mexico. One of the benefits of this site is the excellent seeing conditions and very dark skies – perfect for the requirements of CCD imaging.
The JMSM Observatory’s imaging management systems are automated with the aid of CCD Commander for controlling all aspects of the “imaging session” – including weather monitoring activity. Access and control of JMSMO can be done remotely.
Click here for access to JMSMO Status page… This web link will take you to a set of real-time camera images of the JMSM Observatory facility, All-Sky camera, Dome Camera, and various weather status.
As you can see, the dome is elevated above the ground to reduce the effects of ground air turbulence. The dome is a 16’5′ ASH Dome, and is automated with Digital Domeworks. The massive main pier is totally isolated from the dome support structure, with a 500:1 ratio of pier to scope mass. The pier structure is offset to allow for the future installation of a 24″ RC telescope with fork mount. The dome support truss structure is internally dampened to further reduce effects of vibration. All systems at JMSMO are designed with backup and redundancy in mind for the somewhat harsh environmental conditions at this site. In addition, lightning protection is facilitated with extensive electrical grounding and continuous monitoring of lightning strike data. There is a small “warmroom” facility for secondary computer control operations. This facility is operated 24/7 and continuously monitored with internal/external security cameras.