Who doesn't dream of a mobile telescope that can easily be taken to remote locations?
At the IAA in Hannover, ESA and Nissan presented the concept vehicle Nissan Navara 'Dark Sky': The all-terrain pickup pulls an air-conditioned trailer on which a Planewave CDK17 astrograph is permanently mounted on a L-500 mount. The ProPILOT technology with automatic coupling makes driving with a trailer easier, so that the telescope can also be brought to remote observation sites far from light pollution. The design not only incorporates cosmic aspects, but also makes additional light sources superfluous with reflective strips. The interior lighting is designed in red light to protect the dark adaptation.
In the closed, air-conditioned trailer, the can be cooled down to the observation temperature at night. On site, the roof is simply opened and it can be observed. Thus, the 16" Planewave is no longer only usable at fixed observatories, but a truly mobile telescope that no longer requires an on-site infrastructure.
More information about the Nissan Navara Dark Sky Concept are available here:
- ESA (European Space Agency): Going off-road in the search for dark skies
- Daily Mail article with some fantastic pictures: Nissan has transformed a pick-up truck into a world class mobile SPACE OBSERVATORY equpped with a telesscope that can view diestant galaxies, nebulae and supernovas