IRIDA observatory
IRIDA’s official birthday is October 24, 2012. That's when the first astroimage, so-called "first light" was taken.
Scientific researches and results:

Soon after the construction of the IRIDA observatory, the scientific program was launched. Тhe IRIDA observatory team carries out observations and research in the field of Astrophysics and Cosmology. We are currently part of the research team of the department of Physics and Astronomy in University of Shumen, Bulgaria and its Astronomical observatory as well.

The current projects are:

  • Observations and Light curve solutions of the W UMa binary stars.
  • Observation and photometry of cataclysmic variable stars.
  • Optical observations of the nearby galaxies,
  • Observations and Modeling of the Transiting Exoplanets,

Most of our researches are focused on short-period contact eclipsing binary stars of W UMa (EW) type. On the obtained photometric light curves, we perform complete analysis and modeling, and the main task is to estimate the absolute physical parameters of the stellar components.

So far, we have published our results in dozens scientific manuscripts in prestigious peer-reviewed scientific magazines (for the list of the published articles see the section Scientific researches).


A few words about us:

Emil Ivanov

I am an opera singer living in Varna, Bulgaria with my wife Daniela and the east-european short haired tom-cat Ronnie (O’Sullivan). From an early age I was fascinated by the stars and the opera. When I was nine years old I built my first "telescope" - from a single spectacle lens and an opera binoculars objective. At first I decided to study astronomy and was admitted to the Sofia State University, where I studied for two years. At this time I started to develop a singing talent and switched to the Music Academy which I finished five years later. Then begun my operatic career which for more than 20 years led me in the greatest opera stages of the world. Of course at that period because of my busy schedule I had no much time to watch the stars, but my passion for astronomy remained forever.


Velimir Popov

I am a mining engineer living in Sofia, Bulgaria with my wife Irina. I developed my own mining company which is working for more than twenty years in the field of geological research, complex mining design and also in extracting decorative stones from own quarries. My love of astronomy dates back to my childhood fueled by reading science fiction books and trying to build my own telescopes.


Idea and construction of IRIDA observatory

The name of our observatory in Bulgarian language is IRIDA (or IRIS - in Greek mythology the goddess Iris is the personification of the rainbow and messenger of the gods. Iris also links the gods to humanity).

However, the name of our observatory has another symbolic meaning - it is an abbreviation of the names of our wives - Irina and Daniela (IRI-DA) and the name of the observatory is a kind of way to thank them for their support.

We started our collaboration on deep sky imaging sometime in 2010. We met each other at a star party at the Rozhen National Astronomical Observatory, Bulgaria and it turned out that we had very similar interest in astronomy. We quickly became friends and started getting together to Rozhen observatory on the regular basis. For two years every month between April and November, during the moonless period, we traveled to the Rozhen National Astronomical Observatory, Bulgaria. We used our equipment in the so called "Portable mode“ and had to dismount it until the next month and the next star party.

The idea of setting up an observatory with remote control arose in our two-men-star-party in November 2011 during the chilly nights in Rozhen Observatory. We were frozen, our telescopes were frozen …

It didn't take us long to come up with the idea to build an observatory, enabling remote control. This would allow us to perform observations from anywhere in the world. We could control the observatory via Internet access by means of all known devises such as desktop and portable computers, tablets, smart phones and more.
Then the hard work begun, the planning, the ordering of the equipment etc. Finally we have god the observatory consisting of two astronomical domes fully equipped for remote control and with semi-robotic capacity:

  • Astronomical domes with electrical driving system and electronics for remote control (ScopeDome - 3m in diameter from Poland)
  • Equatorial mounts with direct drive system, and high resolution encoders (ASA DDM 85 - Astrosysteme Austria)
  • Telescopes – 16“ Ritchey Chretien and 12“ ASA Newton Astrographs
  • CCD and CMOS cameras
  • Filter wheels
  • Automatic (robotic) focusers
  • Remote power control system
  • Computers
  • Video (security) cameras for inside dome monitoring
  • Cloud sensor (weather safety)
  • Heating and drying system (humidity prevention)
  • Lightings  (red and white) for visual control
  • Software (digital planetariums, astrometry, dome, camera and telescope control, image acquisition and reduction software, automation etc.
Copyright: Velimir Popov and Emil Ivanov 2023. All Rights Reserved
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