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Found 34 results

  1. Hi, Folks I am only a few weeks into astronomy and started off with a Celestron 9.25" Evo on the standard AZ mount. I guess with hindsight this wasn't the best place to start and also with hindsight I would have done better to have bought a GEM mount. Anyway, lesson learned and at 71 years old I have to speed up the learning process compared to younger enthusiasts I have 2 issues. 1/ Its a pain dragging the scope out into the garden and setting it up every time I think the fickled weather might be obliging. 2/ I now know that the mount I have is useless for long exposures and a wedge is fiddly to get polar aligned. My question is, though I gather wedges are a PITA to setup etc is if I was to build or buy a pier for the backyard and use my existing mount + a wedge is this a reasonable way to go? Though it's fiddly to set the thing up once set I could leave the mount, wedge, etc covered up and would just need to drop the OTA on when I wanted to use it. Is this reasonable or am I missing something fundamental down near the bottom end of my learning curve Any advice much appreciated and don't feel you have to spare my feelings
  2. Background:Even though I'd really like one, it's not entirely practical or financially viable at the moment for me to have a permanent observatory in my garden.I therefore thought the next best thing is to build a pier - which should offer superior stability than a tripod and not take up much room.This idea was run past the wife and surprisingly approved without much fuss. When not in astronomical use it was agreed that the pier will be topped with a sundial in order to make it blend in a bit better.Since I was looking for a low cost option, I've taken the inspiration for the build from the piers at Todmorden Observatory, which I know a few other SGL members have also implemented.Materials for pier:M10 Stainless Steel A2 Threaded Bar (1m) x2 £10.46 Toolstation http://www.toolstation.com/shop/p79966M10 Stainless Steel A2 Dome nuts x8 £ 1.95 Ebay http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/160881328576M10 Stainless Steel A2 Nuts x12 £ 4.49 Ebay http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/181036635594M10 Stainless Steel A2 Washers x16 £ 2.69 Ebay http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/360543852606440mm x 215mm x 215mm Hollow Concrete Block 7N x2 £ 3.30 MKM.B.S. https://www.mkmbs.co.uk/prodb004313-440mm-x-215mm-x-215mm-hollow-concrete-block-7n/Postcrete 20kg x3 £17.97 Wickes http://www.wickes.co.uk/Blue-Circle-Postcrete-20kg/p/221100Wood off cut (approx 20cm x 20cm) x1 £ 0.00Masonry Paint x1 £ 0.00TOTAL £40.86Tools:PencilRulerSpirit LevelDrillMasonry Drill Bits (5mm, 10mm)Wood Drill bit (10mm)SpannersSpade/TrowelSaw suitable for metalConstruction Instructions:Select a suitable site in your gardenDig a hole approx (30cm x 30cm square) x 40cm deep Cut the M10 threaded bar into 4x 33cm and 4x 10.5cm lengthsBend the M10 threaded bar 33cm lengths at right angles approx 8cm from one end (may need to heat them up to do this)Drill 4 holes into one of the concrete blocks using the 5mm drill bit, then go through again with the 10mm bitPlace the other block on top and mark through the holes with a pencil, then drill the second blockUse the 4x 10.5cm lengths of M10 threaded bar to attach the two blocks together using washers, nuts and the dome nuts on topDrill 4 holes in the base of one blockPut an off cut of wood on the block and mark through the holes with the pencilDrill the holes in the woodAttach the 4x 33cm lengths of M10 threaded bar using nuts. This is only temporary, since this is effectively a 'former' in order to ensure that the bars line up with your block holes when they've been set in the concrete Mix most of the concrete and pour into the holeInsert the 'former' ensuring that the underside nuts are not submerged, that approx 50mm of bar is above the concrete, and most importantly the 'former' is level Add more concrete if necssary & tamp down to make the top smoothWait until the concrete is set & remove the wooden 'former' Smooth out any unevenness in the concrete, ensure it is approx level and that the block fits onto the exposed threaded barsAdd a small amount of concrete & place the block on top, adding more concrete around the sides as necessaryMake sure the block is as level as possibleWait until the concrete is set and fix it into position using washers and dome nutsPaint the whole thingOther notes:You could use cheaper zinc plated threaded bar and nuts/washers, I selected A2 stainless steel for longevity and anti-rusting.Stainless steel comes in A2 and A4. A4 is generally more expensive and is mainly for marine use.Another option for the base is bolting it to some freestanding paving slabsAnother option for attaching the blocks and base together is using specialist glue
  3. hi all stuck the barlow and dmk into the 9.25 here the great results (rude of me to say when there loads of great images of the moon and craters on sgl) i did get some great vids to stack we have had a couple a great night jupiter tonight if this good clear skys holds 1000 caputured @15fps average 300 stacked registax 5 light edit ps6
  4. Hi I have a new and unsed Altair Astro observatory pier and (N)EQ6 adapter. Pictures and details can be found here: http://www.altairastro.com/altair-skyshed-8-observatory-pier.html ** Reduced to £300 - Buyer Must Collect *** http://www.altairastro.com/pier-adapter-skywatcher-celestron-ioptron-multi-mount.html ** SOLD *** I'm looking for £370 for the Pier and £35 for the Adapter. This represents about 70% of the current list prices. The buyer must collect from Redditch due to the weight. Kind Regards Terry
  6. I have just acquired a very nice SH AZ EQ6 mount but have some questions please? I'm looking at getting the Altair Astro pier adaptor, does this work with my mount? For people that have already used this pier, what size bolt and pitch size is it, also what length of bolt is nominally used to attach the mount to the pier? And lastly due to having a cigarette power adaptor, what is recommended to use to power the mount? Is there a sky watcher mains power adaptor that you can buy? As always thanks for reading and comments welcome, Many thanks,
  7. In another topic I saw a link to (and watched) a video which, to be honest, seemed more like an advertisement than an objective assessment of the construction of piers. One of the topics to consider was the resonance of the pier, or how much vibration was likely to be imparted to the scope should something hit the pier. This set me thinking. In years gone by I dabbled in a bit of railway modelling and one of the books in my collection is "An Approack to Building Finescale Track" by Iain Rice. Now, you might be wondering what this has to do with piers etc. Well, in the book, Iain tackles the problems of baseboard noise. His solution is to use techniques in the audio industry. If my memory serves me well, this involves "Acoustic decoupling" involving materials of different densities so, for example, you would have the timber baseframe, an MDF sub-frame, a layer of fairly dense foam (such as used in camping mats/garden kneelers) then another MDF subframe. The foam would absorb much of the vibrations caused by model stock trundling along. Now, I'm not necessarily suggesting pier tops are made of foam, as that would be pretty daft. However, I was wondering if some form of dense foam could be used between mount and top of pier. The key thing, I think, is the use of a material of different density which can absorb vibrations caused by something striking the pier, perhaps introducing foam/neoprene "washers" on the bolts attaching head to pier so that there isn't a metal on metal link through which vibrations could travel. Useful idea, or am I talking out the top of my head?
  8. Hi, I am after a bit of advice please. Groundworks are about to begin for the observatory and I want to use L bolts in a template and set the bolts into wet concrete. I have been looking at prices on Fleabay and wow, the stainless steel ones are quite expensive (M16 x 300mm are £44 for 4). Could I get away with zinc coated mild steel at half the price (M16 x 440mm) or am I setting myself up for trouble ? The pier is inside the observatory though appreciate when observing on a cold evening there is a possibility of moisture/ice building up. Also, is 300mm enough - I have been googling and although see lots of photos I have struggled to get exact measurements. Thanks in advance, Steve ps the holes on the base of the pier are pretty big hence thinking about M16 - again, if this is overkill and M12 would be suitable please advise
  9. From the album: Pier Build

    Finished pier with Skywatcher EQ6 adapter plate on top.

    © MattGoo 2015

  10. Hi I've set my scope up on it's pier in my ROR observatory, done a few drift aligns and started to take some images. I've noticed a 'quite' regular dip in my DEC line on several nights. Would anyone be able to have a quick scan of my log and offer any insight? Could it be backlash? Could it be something with each rotation of the gears? Faulty tooth? It is quite regular, although not always, and always in the same direction. It doesn't seem to be adversely affecting imaging yet, but I've not tried anything too taxing. Thanks Joe PHD2_GuideLog_2018-09-23_200940.txt
  11. From the album: Mike's Images

    © Copyright Mike O'Day 2014 - all rights reserved

  12. MattGoo

    Pier EQ6 2

    From the album: Pier Build

    Finished pier with Skywatcher EQ6 mount attached.

    © MattGoo 2015

  13. MattGoo

    Former Concrete

    From the album: Pier Build

    Former set in concrete (Postcrete)

    © MattGoo 2015

  14. r3i

    EQ6 Lever Bolt

    From the album: Equipment Pictures

    Trend Lever Bolt used for quickly attaching and detaching EQ6 from my pier.
  15. My project during my summer holidays was to build a an outdoor pillar that would securly hold my mount (less vibration issues than a tripod) and give me permanent reference points to make alignment easier and more accurate (better tracking and hence longer exposures). The project grew (as projects do) to include a 'roll-away' shed so I can cover the sope if I want to leave it out over night or over a along weekend say. And then to include a deck so the shed will roll more easily and I'm not walking and turning the grass into mud when the ground is wet. The initial design ... The small platform on the deck at the base of the pier is the rolling platform I intended to mount the shed on. The pier is shown quite short here although the actual pier is taller so I can better see over the house's roof. The only feasable location in the back yard was by the boundary fence... Ground marked out and hole dug... The intention was for a hole about 450mm square by about 1000mm deep but I hit sandstone at around 650mm. I used a small jack hammer to so go down maybe another 100mm or so and to key in some features to lock the concrete. The shed I planned to use is the 4x6 Factor by Keter (http://www.keter.com/products/factor-46) Here is an image of the base of the shed showing the plan for the cut out. Here is the deck partly completed with the pier poured and pier top plate being cemeted in place... The deck is around 1.5 x 5.5 meters. Four 140mm x 45 mm bearers in pairs running the length of the deck with 90mm x 45 joists every 1.5m or so. Bearers are supported by galvanised steel sirrups (10 in total) fixed in high strengh concrete. The pier is a 12in diameter galvanised steel 'duct tube' filled with high strength concrete with reinforcing bars in the hole and in the tube. The plate is a 12in pier top plate by http://www.pierplates.com Here is the almost completed project. Deck done except the sides. Pier ready to take some weight (8 days after concrete pour). Shed mounted on the rolling platform. Out door power point mounted on deck with underground conduit to take the lead back to a power point. I mounted the cut-out in the shed floor on sections of wood so I could fit it back in the hole to keep out small animals. This is the project all but completed (some finishing off required to the base of the shed and I need to fill the cracks, sand and paint the filler paste I used to top off the concrete in the pillar - it is taking ages to dry). And finally, here is the mandatory 'first light' image from the new observatory... I am pleased with how it has turned out and it is fitting home for my Skywatcher 10in f4 scope and AZ EQ 6 mount. Thank you to everyone on this site who unknowingly have contributed with ideas and lessoned learnt though numerous posts you have made in the past. Cheers Mike
  16. Like the title suggests I'm looking for some pier adapter help. I have a concrete pier with an Altair Astro mount adapter fitted to the top. I have recently changed my EQ5 for an NEQ6 which doesn't fit my old adapter. I have contacted Altair Astro who told me it should fit if I turn the adapter upside down but it doesn't (also, then the mounting bolts wouldn't be countersunk) Does anyone know what the difference is between the adapters, the photos on all the websites are a little vague when it comes to these adapters and I've seen them with 4 or 6 anchor bolts - or just which one I need to order to fit my mount Thanks
  17. Since the foundations went in last weekend, it's about time I stuck the pier on it. First problem was that although the concrete was levelled before the bolts were put in, putting in the bolts un-levelled it quite a bit. So balancing the pier as best I can, it's still got a noticeable lean. I didn't have a spirit level so had to use a tablet, which showed it was about 1 degree off vertical - the photo makes it look worse as the camera has quite some optical distortion to it. I'm thinking I could get some washers to pack under it to level it off? The instructions for this pier say it doesn't have to be perfectly level, since the levelling can be done on the top plate, but I want to do this for cosmetic reasons. And here it is with the EQ6 stuck on it. According to the bubble there's a slight offset from level, but I'll do that more accurately later. I don't have a spanner big enough for the levelling nuts anyway so it's just finger tight for now. Hopefully the few clouds will go soon, and I'll get it rough polar aligned and start imaging the moon...
  18. MattGoo

    Concrete Bars

    From the album: Pier Build

    M10 threaded bar st in the concrete.

    © MattGoo 2015

  19. MattGoo


    From the album: Pier Build

    Former made for aligning M10 threaded bar

    © MattGoo 2015

  20. Just starting my build and found advice of others really helpful. Appreciate views of others on my build before I get too far. I am building the Observatory for My HEQ5 with a short fast refractor for imaging and my LX90 SCT mainly for viewing, so my pier must allow me to easily swap scopes if necessary. Design principles and interesting features: Basic design: Concrete Plinth + Altair Steel Pier + Off-the Peg Shed Pier: I chose the Altos pier because it looked sturdy and allowed some final leveling and North orientation after installation. It has a variety of fixing options and adapters, plus I might move and could take it with me. https://www.altairastro.com/altair-skyshed-8-observatory-pier.html Shed: Went for a 10 x 6 shed. Intend to build just a 6x6 roof, which will slide over the other 4 foot bit + 2 foot more. The four foot section will be the warm room with a flat roof. I can build the internal partition after the shed is erected. Wanted a Shed that could be easily adapted and found the "Rowlinson Premier Shiplap Apex Shed 6X10" Price: £514.99 inc delivery This is good quality, but the real bonus is that the apex sections are separate. You build the four walls at level height and then the two apexes go on the ends. This will allow me to then easily adapt the design by attaching rails to the bottom box section and then wheels to the roof bit. The shed sides are also slightly taller than a standard shed at 172cms giving me some welcome headroom. The roof comes in sections, so building just the 6 foot bit looks straight forward (In theory). It is worth shopping around for sheds as the same model can be different prices on different sites. Wheels and Rail: I think this bit is neat, I am using a wooden slotted fence posts as the rails. Wheels: B&Q TENTE FIXED CASTOR 45MM product code 3700001799978 price £2.14 each rated as 40kg each and I am using 8 of them for a 6 foot roof Rails: B&Q NEVA HALF WOODEN FENCE POST 70X35X1800MM product 3663602942825 £7 each and I am using two on each side for a total length of just under 12 foot. I looked at Aluminium rails but during a wander round B@Q I found these wood posts with grooves in them. I tried the wheels in store and it looks fine. Added advantage that they can also form part of my Obs structure. Pier base: As per Altair instructions a very large hole in the ground filled with concrete. However my base is a plinth that protrudes 35cm above the base level. I calculated the height needed to elevate the pier so that my tallest mount (The LX90) would just fit under the closing roof. If I had mounted the pier at ground level I would have reduced my min elevation angle to 60 degrees for my shortest scope/mount combination. With the extra height I get down to 25 degrees, less if I raise the pier head. The pier also has a narrow central hole, so I have run a cable in a 12mm pipe through the concrete block and up through the middle of the pier. Shed Base: Paving stones laid after the pier is installed. I will run a 40mm pipe under the slabs to carry all the other cables to the pier. Today I completed the first stage and poured the concrete for the pier base and plinth as per the instructions on the altair web site. The concrete goes 80cm below the ground and 45cm above, with a 10cm base that leaves a 35cm plinth. I used a wooden former to contain the concrete above ground. I made it of 9mm ply with screws every few inches. On top I attached a template holding the fixing bolts which were pressed into the soft concrete. Even so the weight of the concrete nearly burst the mold and I had to reinforce with paving slabs. See picture, but it looks fine now. See pictures) I should add that I employed a local garden handyman to dig the hole and pour the concrete. The next stage is to lay the slabs for the base. Any comments most welcome, especially as they could save me from an imminent disaster, but so far so good. Max
  21. I have successfully used NEQ5 for several years but since just moving to pier having some problems with SynScan Park command. Park keeps the alignment data, but how long is that good data? E.g. should I be able to start from park at exact same location the next night without re-alignment? Or later the same night? Lat/Long and time are entered via a GPS module. If I power back on right away the same night it appears to work fine, and, after all, there is very little change needed in alignment. But the next night, quite off.
  22. Hi all after a date with the moon and cloud drifting in a came in for a cuppa ,warmed back up around 23:45 i went to shut the obsevatory down but wow so clear no wind and -3 i saw Jupiter just sitting there and we are so lucky on earth to get a birds eye view visal it blew mwe away with 12mm xl ep,so earlier in the day i put the irpass740mn,baader 620mn ir pass,and i asked my daughter for two colors she chose orange and violet,testing the 740mn and violet gave the best focus and so the images below are a stack of the two ( with planets i only prefer the ir spectrum) i used a x2 Tal barlow, which is a good barlow and with out . To say i was going to pack away the brief 20 minutes it took me to get these images i was suprised this afternoon when i stacked them up the first couple had dew on the corrector but 5 mins with dew heaters cleared it i inverted the last one C9.25" sct dmk 21 momo IR pass 740mn purple 9 (No. 47) cgem pier mounted 1000 frames recorded 60fps average 400 stacked light edit in ps6
  23. After one year of having my pier in my garage I finally decided to get it installed. It was ordered online and when it arrived it was about a foot taller then the eq6 tripod. Presumably the greater height was by design as most surround their pier with decking. I decided not to use decking and to dig a hole 3 foot deep and 2 foot square-ish (shape of the flags are hexadecimal. This would mean 2 foot deep with concrete and 1 foot space between the concrete and ground level. This would allow me to change the height later if required. I bought a pack 6 threaded rods from screwfix to set into the concrete and created 2 templates to match the whole on the base of the pier. One template would be used to ensure the bolts would enter the concrete correctly and the other template to ensure the bolts were plumb. My helpers and I used metal plates also from plumb centre to help anchor the bolts in the concrete and some metal wire to also help keep the bars plumb The last foot of digging was hard due to limited space so I had to get some help from some little experts. It took 19 bags of concrete ballast and 2 bags of cement. I waited a week to dry and voila. The pier now rests on 6 bolts and washers. It took a little while to get the load spread evenly over the bolts. The pier base holes needed a little filing to ensure the pier when down over the bolts too. It then took another 5 hours sawing wood to fill in the remaining 1 foot cavity so that I wouldn't slip down there when walking around the scope in the dark. Ill remember to by an electric saw next time. The pier feels very solid and although it will vibrate if knocked the vibration settles down very quickly. Thanks to the following for your help Dad who can still dig and saw better then me 3 kids Kristian, Lucas and Sophia who dug a hole like happy Victorians when it became too deep for adults Karl who helped shovel some concrete, file holes and provide general expert advice. I hope others find this post useful Regards Ian
  24. I've just had an Altair Skyshed pier delivered. Also have possibly found a builder to do the foundations for me as I suspect I'm lazy enough it'll never happen if I DIY. The pier's webpage suggests a hole 3 ft deep and similar in size to the base plate template, which is a square of 40cm sides. Assume it'll get poured in one, and might be padded out with bigger lumps of rubble. Garden is a mess so I have flexibility in what goes down, but will probably go the route of decking around the pier. So I'm wondering if I should stick to the 3ft x 40cm x 40cm block? Or if I might want something different? I'm primarily concerned about the ground shifting as it's a clay soil I'm in which is pretty good at holding water. How about going wider but shallower? Mount is an EQ6 and I'm sure my future scopes will only go up in weight, not down. More generally, I don't have any plans for an observatory at this time, as due to my tiny enclosed garden the pier has to go pretty much in the middle of it to maximise the sky view. So my plan is to leave the mount fixed in place, polar align it well and forget. But it'll be outside in all weather, rain or shine. Would a posh bag be sufficient protection? I've seen one made of heat reflecting materials I can't find the link of at this time... but still I'm worried about possible heat, frost and condensation that might happen. Any tips?
  25. MattGoo

    Pier EQ6

    From the album: Pier Build

    Finished pier with Skywatcher EQ6 mount attached.

    © MattGoo 2015

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