The Curiosity Peak Observatory and "Open Door" visitors enclosed pad are located on a hilltop just southeast of the town of Julian, California; a picturesque mountain community known for its maintenance of a dark sky environment cherished by visitors and locals alike. Elevation is 4500 ft. Visitors to Julian who are interested in astronomy are encouraged to contact us to arrange a visit to the observatory, as well as use of the "Open Door" area. The observatory is a 12 x 14 structure with a roll-off roof, housing three telescopes which are primarily set up for astro-imaging. They are an 8 inch F8 Ritchey-Chretien, and an 6 inch F9 Ritchey-Chretien. Also alternating is a 127mm. F7.5 APO Explore Scientific refractor, and a 102 mm. F7.5 Explore Scientific carbon fiber tube APO. There are three piers inside, One with a CGX, another with a CGEM and one with a high quality german equatorial mount. Just in time for the summer Milky way, we have acquired a Celestron 8" Edge and matching Hyperstar which at F2.1 delivers an amazing 3.8 degree FOV.
We now have two excellent telescopes for visual observing at star parties, a 17.5 inch F4.5 Coulter Dobsonian and a 12 inch F4.9 Orion Dobsonian, both with digital setting circles.Todd and Doug have just finished reworking the 17.5 Coulter into a collapsible type Dob, with digital setting circles and a Crayford focuser, with filter wheel. the primary and secondary mirrors were recently recoated by Ostahowski Optics. It and the 12 inch Dob are now both in use at the monthly star parties.
On the east side of the observatory there is now an "Open Door observatory," an outdoor carpeted area for visitors to set up telescopes. It measures 15 x 38 ft. and is surrounded by a 7 ft tall wind/light barrier to make it a wind and ambient light protected area for viewing and astro-imaging. We have recently completed a pier with a CGEM mount which can be used for visual astronomy, as well as astro-imaging There is direct access to ac power.
There is no fee for using the Open Door, although donations to help with the construction and maintenance costs are greatly appreciated. To arrange use of the site, e-mail or call us, using the contact info on the home page.
For more about the town of Julian, check out this link to the Julian Chamber of Commerce:
The slideshow below shows the construction of the observatory in a very abridged form. A lot of the design was done "on the fly" with the gantry system basically just "falling into place" after a trip to the metal yard. Upon seeing piles of surplus industrial mezzanine structures, the light bulb turned on and we immediately saw our gantry design in front of us.