Welcome to the ARO!

The Abbey Ridge Observatory is a robotic astronomical observatory located in Stillwater Lake, NS, Canada. It is owned by Dave Lane.


It is one of only two observatories in the world, along with the Burke-Gaffney Observatory, that can be controlled from Twitter and Facebook in a fully-automatic way!


At this site, you will find information about the observatory, its work and how to use it.


Abbey Ridge Observatory (ARO), built in 2003, is named for the granite ridge that rises up above Elbow Lake and along Abbey Road in Stillwater Lake, NS. It sits on bedrock on the edge of this ridge giving spectacular views from the south through to northwest. The site is quite dark, considering that it is only about 23 kilometres to the west of Halifax (population ~400,000).

Equipment Summary

The observatory is built around a fiberglass 10-foot diameter Home-Dome. Inside is a Celestron C14 Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope mounted on a Losmandy Titan german equatorial mount controlled by a SiTech controller. Its imaging camera is an SBIG ST8XME CCD camera with dual Optec IFW filter wheels (9 effective filters), Optec NextGen telecompressor, and an Optic TCF electric focuser. We also use an AAG CloudWatcher to monitor the sky conditions. There are more details here.

2020 News

January - ARO is back in full operation - the dead laptop was replaced with a newer one!

April 25 - Here is a "movie" of Comet C/2019 Y4 (Atlas) taken at the Abbey Ridge Observatory. Each frame was made from images taken on the nights of April 17/18, 19/20, and 23/24. Each sequence was about 4 hours of one minute images. Each 6th image on each night was used to make a single image with the background stars removed (median filter - the slight diagonal streaking is an artifact of that).

On the first image, you should notice the fragmented comet nucleus that I posted a few days ago. The next frame taken two days later shows less debris behind the main nucleus. In the last frame, four days later, the debris is gone and the nucleus glow is smaller.

Another thing to take note of is that the angle of the tail changes from frame to frame - this is due to the changing Sun-Earth-Comet angles as Earth and the comet move through the solar system.

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