Photo of a bronze plaque mounted next to the entrance door of
the Stony Ridge dome. The names are those of the original 15
founding members of Stony Ridge Observatory. An asteroid, (10168)
Stony Ridge, was discovered at SRO in 1995 and named
to honor these members.
Click here to see what these folks did for SRO.
Summer 2013 Observatory Status
Stony Ridge Observatory is accessible to members and escorted guests only. Subsequent to the disastrous Station fire in 2009 and a period when the observatory was without electricity and inaccessible due to fallen trees and road damage, electric power has been restored by Edison Company, the road was cleared by the Forest Service and their Edison contractors, and members performed general cleanup and equipment testing.
During the past several years, SRO has been engaged in a major upgrade to the 30-inch (0.76-m) telescope. The original telescope's dual-chain drive right ascension and chain declination drives, designed by George A. Carroll (1902-1987) and later modified by Tim Cann, was replaced with new “strain wave” gear trains by Harmonic Drive intended to allow the observer to easily point the telescope quickly to specific astronomical objects with great precision. While this system is now operating well enough to track celestial objects for visual observation, ultra-precise tracking for astrophotography, and the automatic “go to” interface between computer software and the tracking mechanism are still being worked on.
As the “Harmonic Drive” project was coming to completion in the summer of 2009, the Station fire raced past the observatory grounds, destroying most of the surrounding forest understory and Coulter pine trees, blocking access to the observatory grounds for months, and bringing the drive upgrade project to a halt – but leaving the observatory untouched by flames except for minor exterior damage to the south face of the outhouse. JH.