ATOS update

ATOS update

The ATOS project becomes a Turtle project (my totem sign).  Slowly advancing but with a lot of perseverance like a turtle.

About every 3 weeks I travel to the Provence in search of the right spot for the observatories and the overnight stays for the visitors.  Every time I leave with  an agenda with about 7 or 8 appointments for visiting different places.  The selections of the sites starts behind my computer: searching for the right ads, contacting the sellers, gathering all the needed information, checking if the location is situated in a dark area, etc.

Then leaving for a trip of about 3.000km.  Meeting a lot of interesting people and visiting the most beautiful places.  I learn a lot about the local life.
I still have a feel good in this region.  Every time I feel more at home in the Provence.  I don't feel as a tourist or occasional visitor but more as a prospector in search of the right valuable source.

As a result of the visits I start to build a local network of friends and other people who help us.  (Special thanks to Jean-Luc, Caroline and Erik).

A problem with the different sites is meanly the organisation of the domain: not enough free space for the observatories, bad condition of the buildings, an inappropriate price or not suited for visitors.
But the main problem is obtaining the building permit for the observatories.  Most of the dark location are part of a natural reserve and it's very difficult or almost impossible to obtain a building permit for the observatories. Certainly for observatories with domes.  So the observatories will be "simple" roll-off roof observatories.  This observatories look like garden sheds.  This kind of observatories can very well be integrated in the landscape.

For locating the dark areas in the Provence I use a detailed light pollution map.  On site the Sky Quality Meter is my most important instrument.  A sky of minimum 21.5 mag/arcsec² is a base.

Meanwhile our house in Belgium is for sale.  An important step in the project. 
The whole family will be moving to France.  This means also looking for schools for my kids.

The work at the classic telescopes continues.  The 12" Cassegrain is ready.
Continue to restore the focusers and other accessories.  It 's to cold in the warehouse to work at the large scopes.  Within a couple of weeks the works will start again in the warehouse.

To be continued

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  • Planning the next trip. 7 places to discover. Exciting.
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