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Skinakas Observatory

Skinakas Observatory (Longitude 24o 53 ' 57 '' East,  Latitude 35o 12 ' 43 '' North) is located in the Ida mountain in Central Crete at an altitude of 1750m, 25km line- of- sight distance and 60km by road from the city of Heraklion. The favourable climatological conditions prevailing in Crete (large number of clear-sky nights per year) combined with the high mountains; place the island of Crete among the best locations in Europe for high quality astronomical observations. These facts were influential in the establishment of the Skinakas Observatory. The Skinakas Observatory has been built and operates as part of a scientific research collaboration between the University of Crete, the Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas (FORTH) and the Max-Planck-Institut fur Extraterrestrische Physik of Germany (in charge of the Greek side is Professor J. Papamastorakis and of the German side Professor G. Haerendel).

Skinakas observatory contributes to the DSpace service  with two telescopes, the characteristics of which are presented below:

           

Skinakas 1 Telescope is a modified Ritchey Chretien. In terms of its optical system the aperture of the main mirror is 129cm while of the secondary mirror is 45cm. The central hole of the main mirror is 35cm and the distance between main and secondary mirror is 235.34cm. Its focal length equals 985,7cm and the F-ratio equals 7.64. This is a telescope made by Carl Zeiss Oberkochen. With respect to its mount, is a equatorial one and computer controlled (made by DFM engineering). The autoguider with off axis guiding system of this telescope has been developed by Baader Planetarium.

Skinakas 2 is a Schmidt – Cassegrain. In terms of its optical system the aperture is 30cm, its focal length 94cm, the focal ratio is 3.2 and its usable field of view is 1.5o (made by Lichtenknecker Optics). In terms of the mount, it is a equatorial mount, computer controlled (made by Eckard Alt). Its autoguider is developed by SBIG.

The facilities of the Skinakas Observatory are widely used for student education in Astronomy. Many undergraduate and graduate students take advantage of the opportunity to participate in research projects based on optical observations performed at Skinakas.