The observatory was founded in 2003 for the purpose of scientific research in the area of astronomy and space science.
The initial research effort was targeted to be the study of short period W Uma class eclipsing binary stars in cooperation with the Orion Observatory and Dr. Russell M. Genet. The program was to be conducted over several years using a few binary star systems and imaging was to be conducted most clear nights where full light curves could be produced. This effort focused on the systems GCVS V0523 Cas in Cassiopeia, GCVS V1191 Cyg in Cygnus, RW Com in Coma Berenices, TZ Boo in Bootes and GM Dra in Draco. About one year into the project it was decided to focus our efforts on just two systems, V0523 Cas and V1191 Cyg. V1191 Cyg was of particular interest because the angle of orbital inclination was nearly 90 degrees. This configuration would also allow for potential exo-planet transits to be recorded, assuming that the planetary orbits were in line with the system ecliptic.
Since that first project, several refereed research papers have been written and many support projects have been spawned to include hardware creation to support even more ambitious photometry and undergraduate research mentoring for several students attending California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and students from Cuesta College San Luis Obispo County Community College District. Each mentoring project resulted in the publishing of referred papers and posters for the students involved. Other non-refereed papers were published as well to include some follow-up time-series photometry on selected newly discovered variable stars in association with the Global Network of Astronomical Telescopes (GNAT) project, directed by Dr. Eric Craine.
Dark Ridge Observatory is home to the northern installation of the AAVSO Photometric All-Sky Survey (APASS) and has been operating every clear night since October 2009 in a fully automatic mode except for about a month when the system was moved to CTIO Chile and a new system installed ar the Dark Ridge Observatory. The survey is expected to complete in 2014 and is already included in the UCAC4 catalog. Read more about APASS at AAVSO/APASS
To learn more about the Cepheid Variable Oxygen Triplet project and how you can help, click here
Visit the observatory construction gallery
Chandra Educational Outreach at DRO