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The Share Astronomy Guide to Observatory Site Selection

Any observatory will make an amateur astronomer more productive because more time is spent on observing, imaging or science and less time is spent setting up equipment and taking down equipment. A first class observatory location will not only increase productivity but it will also pay dividends in terms of better images, higher quality science and more fun observing.

This article will help you pick the best observatory location by evaluating 11 key factors:

  • Northern Hemisphere versus Southern Hemisphere
  • Percentage of clear nights
  • Darkness of the sky
  • Astronomical seeing
  • Sky transparency
  • Weather conditions
  • Legal / environmental restrictions and requirements
  • Proximity to other astronomers
  • Access to infrastructure
  • Cost
  • Future risk factors

Authors: Ken Hudson (Share Astronomy) and Tom Simstad (New Mexico Southern Skies)

Download PDF: Observatory Site Selection

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