The Irvin Marvin Winer Memorial Mobile Observatory, Inc. (Winer Observatory) was incorporated in 1983 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity to perform basic research in astronomy, provide educational outreach programs, and provide site and maintenance services for small telescopes through cooperative agreements with other astronomical institutions.
The observatory is named after Irvin M. Winer, a physics professor whom our Director, Mark Trueblood, met in graduate school. Irv made such an impression on our Director that he named the observatory after Irv to keep alive the memory of his friend and mentor. It was Irv's and Mark's friend Andrew J. Tomer who suggested the name.
The "Mobile" in our official corporate name originates from our early interest in observing asteroid occultations, which requires the observer to travel to a particular remote location to make the observation. For more information, visit the science section of this Web site.
The picture at the top left of this page is of our facility near Sonoita, Arizona, approximately 50 miles southeast of Tucson, Arizona. It shows the roof rolled back to the left (north) over the shop part of the building (compare this photo with the aerial photo on the Site page). The observatory houses a 14.5-inch telescope owned by the University of Iowa used primarily for undergraduate student labs, the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT) and the 20-inch telescope known as DEMONEX, both owned by The Ohio State University, and one 20-inch telescope operated jointly by the Rincon Ranch Observatory and Winer Observatory.
We have room for a total of six telescopes of approximately one meter in aperture on a 20-acre site. Our dark skies and dry weather make the site well-suited to astronomy. Nearby are several professional observatories, including Kitt Peak National Observatory and the MMT Observatory, which is only about 20 miles away. Several amateur astronomers have made Sonoita the home for their observatories as well, including James McGaha and Dr. Tim Hunter of Grasslands Observatory, Mike Shade of Sonoita Hills Observatory, John Gross, and several others.
As a service to our customers, we are providing access to an All Sky Camera consisting of a Nikkor 8mm f/2.8 fisheye lens and an Apogee U3041-HC camera using a 2048 x 2048 x 15 um Fairchild Imaging CCD 3041 frontside illuminated CCD detector with a maximum quantum efficiency exceeding 40% between 630nm and 850 nm.
By clicking your mouse on the thumbnail image at left, you can obtain the latest full-sized JPEG image. We invite not only our customers, but the general community to download images from time to time to see images of the weather above our site. Students may wish to check images for meteors or other astronomical phenomena of interest.
We plan to add a filter wheel and color filters, funding for which was generously provided by the Fred W. Stang Foundation.
To get a movie of the latest entire night (made using software provided by Jason Eastman of Ohio State University) please click here or enter "http://www.astronomy.ohio-state.edu/~jdeast/nYYYYMMDD/" (without the quotes) into your Web browser. It is the second movie down, not the top movie. To get a movie of any previous night (for which data exists), simply replace the "YYMMDD" with the starting MST date that you wish (0 hours UTC = 5 pm MST always; AZ does not observe DST) and add "movie/html". For example, for the evening of January 6-7, 2011 MST (January 7 UTC), simply enter "http://www.astronomy.ohio-state.edu/~jdeast/n20110106/movie.html".
Our goal is to maximize the science and educational return on your robotic telescope investment by providing a site in Southeastern Arizona renowned for clear skies and good weather, combined with a competent and knowledgeable staff able to keep your telescope maintained and operating at peak efficiency.
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