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Homebuilt observatory

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9 replies to this topic

#1
Gina

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I hope this is the right place to post this question...

I'm new to astronomy and astrophotography but already finding it a chore to lug my equipment outdoors and carefully set it up each time I want to use it, then lug it all back in again when I've finished. So I'm looking into making a permanent observatory where I can keep everything set up.

At present I have a 5" ie. 130mm Newtonian with EQ 2 mount and tripod, but I expect to upgrade to something like an 8" or 10" reflector with a much better mount such as an EQ5 or 6 with motor drive. This setup will pretty certainly not be suitable for portable use and I have no plan to set up anywhere but in our own garden which is quite good for night viewing.

I have no plan at present to specialise on any particular branch of the hobby other than I'm more interested in astrophotography than observing. So sun, moon and planets are of interest and later I would like to try DSO.

I believe the main problem I have with imaging is the mount, which isn't really substantial enough. If I had a permanent site I could have a substantial pier which would eliminate the tripod as a source of wobble.

I'm considering observatory options with a view to long term use and ability to upgrade my equipment (as I said above) but everything will have to be a long term project as I'm a pensioner with limited income - but with enthusiasm and tenacity, plus reasonable practical ability. I have just completed a motor drive for my current mount to replace the very crude MD that came with the scope. With the mount carefully set up, this sucessfully tracks a test star for several minutes, keeping it reasonably central in my webcam sensor placed at prime focus.

Oh dear, this post is getting too long already but I feel I need to give sufficient info.

Now - the main plan... I'm thinking of constructing a dome type of observatory and looking for suggestions for cheap yet durable materials and construction methods. We have a cement mixer and have completed various constructions for the smallholding - sheds, floors, etc.

Thank you for reading all this and in advance for any suggestions.

Regards
Gina.

#2
Psychobilly

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Dual wall uPVC shiplap cladding... I wish it had been avaiable when i built mine using traditional uPVC Shiplap would have saved a load of money and time...

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I ended up with a hybrid design as I really enjoy wide-field with camera lenses and the dome "slot" was too narrow...

Posted Image

Billy...

Edited by Psychobilly, 20 April 2011 - 10:43 AM.

We choose to image with DSLR’s. We choose to image with DSLR’s in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

 

 

Canon 5D Mk III , 7D, EOS M , 1000D (Baader BCF), 350D (Full Spectrum)  and some Nice Glass from 10 to 600mm ....  Nikon D200 & D50


#3
Gina

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Thank you for your reply :) Good point about the slot width. Does your obs top revolve? I've yet to work out the best way to make a track.

Regards
Gina

#4
ollypenrice

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It seems to me that, while domes are nice, they are also hard to make. Many folks choose to work in straight lines where possible so having a roll off roof is easier.

My next observatory is going to have a warm room with a separate telescope section. The scope section roof will roll back over the warm room which will alswys be enclosed and be long enough for a bed so I can doze through the routine exposures...

Olly

Run Les Granges Astronomy Holidays, teach and learn imaging, SE France.  TEC140 apo on Avalon Liner FR. 2xTakahashi FSQ106 tandem on Mesu mount 200.  TeleVue Pronto, ZS66, 6 inch achro. Other mounts, Takahashi EM200, 2 x EQ6. TeleVue Gibraltar and TelePod. CCD; 2xAtik11000 full frame, SXVH36, Atik 320E, Lodestar, DMK21. Leica bins. This kit is co-owned owned with Tom O'Donoghue and Yves Van den Broek. Host 4 scope robotic shed. www.sunstarfrance.com

Isn't it great that amateurs can get so close to the universe?


#5
Psychobilly

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Yeah the top revolves and the panel above the doors comes out flat roof slides off towards the back...

Olly's suggestion of a Roll off is easier... but I got caught up in the excitment of it all... and had most of the materals at hand FOC as they were "offcuts"...... hence the changes in shiplap pattern...the new dual wall stuff can be bent to shape if you cut a slot in the inner wall...


Peter...

Edited by Psychobilly, 20 April 2011 - 12:55 PM.

We choose to image with DSLR’s. We choose to image with DSLR’s in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

 

 

Canon 5D Mk III , 7D, EOS M , 1000D (Baader BCF), 350D (Full Spectrum)  and some Nice Glass from 10 to 600mm ....  Nikon D200 & D50


#6
RobH

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My next observatory is going to have a warm room with a separate telescope section. The scope section roof will roll back over the warm room which will alswys be enclosed and be long enough for a bed so I can doze through the routine exposures...

Olly



That's exactly what I'm planning next....the previous warm room was too small. The next one will have a fold down bed, kettle, small fridge, camping gas hob etc too :)

#7
FraserClarke

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I ended up with a hybrid design as I really enjoy wide-field with camera lenses and the dome "slot" was too narrow...


Cool -- reminds me of the Subaru dome on Mauna Kea;

Posted Image

Though I guess your one isn't 11 stories high :)


One advantage of a dome is that it can provide more shelter from the wind than a roll-off roof design, and can have significant advantages preventing dew forming (though it probably needs to be substantially larger than the telescope to get the most benefits from that). However it is a lot more complex than a roll-off roof design.

#8
Gina

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Yes, I agree a roll-off would be easier to make but I was wondering about visibility over the walls when trying to view objects low in the sky. Thinking about the surroundings, I guess I could have a higher wall to the north where there are trees and bungalow. There's a clear view to the south - we live on the side of a hill.

I guess a dome is somewhat ambitious.

Regards
Gina

#9
FraserClarke

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I trust you've seen the DIY Observatories section of the forum?? DIY Observatories - Stargazers Lounge Should be lots of usual sources of ideas in there

#10
Gina

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Thank you - I missed that - SGL is a big place :eek: I'll go and have a look :)

Regards
Gina




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