Internet Observatory #2 construction began in 2007 and was completed by Dr. Hardersen and several UND Space Studies graduate students. Pier Tech Inc. provided the roll-off roof structure, which initially housed a fixed-height pier, an equatorial wedge, and a Meade LX200 10-inch-aperture Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope (SCT). This set-up existed in the observatory until 2012.
In 2012, Internet Observatory #2 was primarily used to commission the department’s DayStar 0.4-Å Hα filter, along with a Finger Lakes Instrument PL-16803 CCD camera and Schott filter. This solar observational set-up allowed more than 22,000 images of the solar chromosphere to be obtained. Rakesh Nath successfully defended his M.S. thesis during Summer 2012, which involved commissioning this instrument. Evaluation of the images has revealed the presence of two correctable image defects. First, the use of a CCD camera with a shutter at short (~0.07 second) integration times produced shutter effects caused by differential shutter illumination. The other defect is the presence of Newton’s Rings.
In 2013, the Meade fork mount was replaced by a Software Bisque Paramount MX German Equatorial Mount (GEM). Operation of the GEM was delayed by about 1 year to troubleshoot a bad electronics board, which had to be replaced.
The Meade 10-inch optical tube has been retained and has been mounted onto the GEM with an SBIG STL-1301e CCD camera to facilitate nighttime observational projects. A remaining task to allow nighttime work is the creation of a TPoint pointing model for this telescope, which will occur in 2014.
Also in 2014, an Astro-Tech AT111EDT apochromatic refractor will be mounted on top of the Meade optical tube. An Apogee U2000 CCD camera will be attached to the refractor, which will be used to obtain high-resolution images of the solar chromosphere. This CCD camera is an interline camera without a shutter, which will prevent the differential illumination problem caused in the earlier imaging program. This solar imaging project will begin in 2014. The goal is to focus on large solar active regions to monitor for solar flares and filament motion and evolution.