wurstobservatory1 The Wurst Observatory is so named because it is the worst location I could possibly find for my primary site: in the street at the end of my driveway–smack in the middle of a large light-polluted urban area. Fortunately, my driveway ends in a half of a cul-de-sac that gives me a little protection from traffic. I pull my van beside my scope to provide further protection from traffic and a partial screen from my neighbor’s flood lights.
wurstsatview1 Located in south Texas, the Wurst Observatory affords me a view of the sky at one of the lowest latitudes in the continental United States. Since many of the coolest astrophotographical targets are in the southern sky, this is a good thing. Another good thing about my location is that I’m merely a couple hours drive from some very dark skies. The blanket of city lights that covers this area quickly runs out as one travels west. If I’m really up for a trip, a 7 hour drive will get me to the pristine skies of the Davis Mountains and the McDonald Observatory.
wurstaerialview3 I envy the neighbors across the street, whose homes abutt a large undeveloped area. Theoretically, this would give me a little break from skyglow, except that so many of my neighbors are apparently terrified of darkness and expend many kilowatts to banish all vestiages of it from our environs.
wurststreetview By day, the Wurst Observatory appears to be invisible, even to the Google car. All the equipment is stored in my garage.
wurstgroundview What makes the observatory workable for astrophotography is my system for easily setting up my equipment while retaining my polar alignment. My scope is on a three wheel cart with leveling bolts, that fit precisely into mounting plates that I fabricated and mounted in the street. I can usually set up and be ready to shoot in 15 minutes.