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 a 10-slot filter wheel, 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.

2017 News

November 11: New 50mm Astrodon BVRI filters where installed in one Optec IFW filter wheel. A second IFW contains LRGB and clear filters. Eventually both filter wheels will be accessible at the same time, but that requires a special driver to be written.

March 11: Image processing features were added and all programs synced up with BGO.

January 14: Last week it was at magnitude 16.5, then a few days ago, it flared up by about 40 times its normal brightness (the nova part) to magnitude 12.5, which it does every year or two.

If that isn't enough excitement, either the mass depositing or receiving star eclipses the other as it orbits every ~100 minutes and this causes a short drop in brightness for about 10 minutes.


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