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 three observatories in the world, along with the Burke-Gaffney Observatory and the Mini Robotic 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 dual Optec IFW filter wheels (9 effective filters), 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.

2021 News

March 5

Abbey Ridge Observatory took this movie of asteroid (99942) Apophis on the night of March 5 as it whizzed past Earth. It was requested using Twitter by Russian observer Filipp Romanov. It was about 16.9 million km distant. The exposures were 20 seconds over about 30 minutes. The asteroid is the moving star near the centre of the movie. Apophis' claim to fame is that it will make a close approach to Earth on April 13, 2029, when it comes to within a distance of around 31,600 kilometres.



February 21 - On a lark, I requested an image of Uranus to try to see some of its moons - here are 4 of them!


January 23 - We get snow occasionally at ARO and adjacent MRO!

January and February

Some minor repairs and upgrades were done. The servo controller was replaced with a SiTech Servo II along with new Losmandy motors. The USB hubs were also replaced due to some reliability issues and the telescope power supply was replaced.

The robotic software has been updated to match the other related observatories - MRO and BGO.


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