Design + building both Observatorys
Telescopes + Equipment
Chamäleon Observatory
Onjala Observatory
Image acquisition- and processing
Solar System
Special Projects

The picture on the right shows the 3 meter dome (from ScopeDome) of the Chameleon Observatory. The shutter is moved by a motor, whereas the rotation in the azimuth is done manually. Supplier of the dome was Astrolumina (Mr. M. Breite). The parts for both the 3 and the 4 meter dome were brought from Poland to Walvis Bay by container ship and then transported by truck to Onjala.

In the 5 square meter vestibule of the dome the computer is situated which is used to operate cameras and equipment in the dome. Additionally we use this room to store our equipment. You can find picture galleries from the building shell to the mounting of the instruments here.

The picture on the right shows the 3 meter dome during construction and in the background the 4 meter Onjala dome. All preview pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.
The load bearing element of the chameleon telescope is a 6ADN mount by Eckard Alt. Fixed on the mount are:
  • 5 inch EDF-S refractor by Astros Physics (130/780 mm), a
  • Celestron C11 (280/2800 mm) and a
  • Pentax 75 (75/500 mm) as guiding telescope.
The mount was built by E. Alt personally and was previously used at Tivoli Astro Lodge. It's one of the most precise mountings Mr. Paech has ever used for his observations.
The mount is at the moment operated by a FS2 control system. If necessary we also have Littlefoot control system and the original ALT DOS system available. Part of the telescope (mount and EDF-S) was previously stationed at Tivoli Astro Lodge and was part of the former Astro-cooperation between Paech and Unbehaun.

The equipment is almost exclusively used for photographic purposes. The C11 is equipped with HyperStar optics, which is able to achieve a focal length of 560mm at f/2. With this, stunning wide angle pictures of astronomical objects can be made under the dark Namibian sky.

Besides ocular lenses and adapters the chameleon observatory has several SBIG CCD cameras, an ALccd 12 for the HyperStar system and a few Canon EOS camera bodies which have been modified for astronomical purposes.
In front of our 3 meter dome we have a small concrete area with a fixed steel pier. As needed, a portable Celestron CGEM DX mounting can be fixed on the pier. The fine adjustment of the pole can be achieved by an aligning pin.

For the CGEM mounting we have several transportable telescopes available.
  • 8 inch f/4 Newton
  • 8 inch f/4 Lichtenknecker flatfieldcamera
  • 105 mm Pentax refractor with 0.72x focal reducer
  • Celestron 80 mm Onyx refractor for guiding
At the end of 2013 we started a cooperation with the DLR (department for planetary research) in Berlin Adlershof. A 340 mm Keller Hypergraph which was no longer used in Berlin is now getting shipped to Namibia.

The Hypergraph was tested and optimized in Germany by W. Paech and will be used occasionally in the 3 meter dome together with the Alt mount. During these restricted phases the Celestron C11 with the HyperStar optics and also the 105 mm Pentax refractor will be mounted on the portable CGEM DX mount of the platform.

2016: We acquired and mounted another large telescope for 3m chameleon dome. It is a 12.5 inch PlaneWave Astrograph with f/8 and 2.540 mm focal length. Further informations can be found here.
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All Images and all Content are © by Franz Hofmann + Wolfgang Paech