Jump to content

 

1825338873_SNRPN2021banner.jpg.68bf12c7791f26559c66cf7bce79fe3d.jpg

 

Gina's Observatory


Gina
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm starting a new thread for my observatory rather than hijacking other people's threads. Also, this is the shed rather than the pier which I put in another thread. I propose to use this thread to say what I'm proposing to do and to report progress as it happens, and also to gather comments and suggestions.

Specification & Requirements

1. A building to cover and protect my equipment from the weather.

2. Provide some protection for myself from the wind when setting up.

3. Permit the scope(s) to view the available sky area down to about 15 degrees of the horizon.

4. Reasonably easy to open and close.

5. Blend in with the surroundings and NOT look like a container for expensive equipment.

6. Cost as little as possible.

7. Not take up too much of the lawn area.

Items 5 and 6 above ruled out a dome. My main interest is imaging although I may do some observing and setting up will require me to be at the scope at times.

Choice of Materials to be used in the construction

Walls

1. Plastic shiplap for the exterior of the walls as it's long lasting and low maintenance but it's expensive.

2. Wood shiplap - high maintenance and still expensive.

3. Fence panels - cheap but short lasting and high maintenance.

4. Corrugated bitumen roofing - we have some spare, 90cm x 2m.

5. Exterior plywood on wooden frame.

Roof

1. Corrugated PVC - no, it's not a greenhouse!

2. Corrugated bitumen

3. Corrugated iron

4. Felt covered wood - solid or plywood.

In view of having to remove the roof for access to the sky, it wants to be as light as possible. I think 4 above would be lightest but Homebase do a small corrugated bitumen sheet at a reasonable price which seemed reasonably light. This should be very low maintenance.

ATM I'm tending to favour an apex roof as it gives added height in the middle compared with the height of the walls. Not sure about a roll off roof due to needing rails and posts to roll it out onto, obstructing the lawn. The other idea of a split apex roof that rotate down the sides appeals in taking up less room but there are problems with weatherproofing (we are in a very exposed position) and the mechanics of it.

That will do for now... :eek:

Edited by Gina
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like the idea of having the top part of the wall attached to the roll off roof although fold down walls is another option. I'm thinking of both these as possibilities. I think I'm tending to the ROR option in one form or another. I think I've now pretty much rejected the split roof idea. My sky is somewhat obstructed to the north and west so to roll off the roof to the north may not block much sky - I'll have to do some measuring up.

This project still seems to be very much in the thinking stage.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the thinking stage is without doubt the most important stage!

walls

"Wood shiplap - high maintenance and still expensive",have you considered feather edged boards? cheaper than shiplap,better than fence panels

roof

"Corrugated iron",certainly eideal for a roll on/off roof it will last a long time,Corrugated bitumen is pretty good as well and little lighter

"Not sure about a roll off roof due to needing rails and posts to roll it out onto, obstructing the lawn",you could always add some trelis ect... and make a feature out of it.

just a few thoughts...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gina, trust me, the thinking stage is the most critical. I've changed the plans for mine several times to hopefully get what I want, and whilst I've got images in my mind of how it will look and go together, know that a lot of the actual issues that get thrown up in the building will have to be solved as I go. One thing is for sure, with all the suggestions it can get confusing and you can find yourself going round in circles. The other certainty is that these things are not cheap. My 16' x 8' base has set me back £150 so far and that's just the footings, the infill for the base, regardless of it been concrete or paving slabs or blocks will cost twice as much again. The anticipated structure cost for the building is £900 and that is using ply for the cladding as T&G is too expensive on a structure this size. I've then budgeted £500 to do the pier, electrics, comms, and fitting out the warm room with equipment.

I'm opting for a ROR that slides over the warm room roof so that everything is contained in the 16 x 8 footprint rather than having rails extending out a further 8-10' into the garden. Again this makes it look more shed like than something that could draw interest from anyone walking up the ally to the adjacent allotments.

Best of luck with your build.. I'll be watching it very closely :eek:

Edited by malc-c
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You don't mention the critical sizes - width and depth...

I've just re-assembled my TSO (Tin shed Observatory) - an Argos 8' x 6' powdercoated shed. Took less than a day to put together. I'm pleasantly surprised that after three years it's in such good condition.

This easily holds my 12" Lx, desk etc etc and gives good protection.

What I'm saying is, it may be cheaper and easier to modify a suitable commercial shed than start from scratch.

In the past I've built many different types and sizes of observatories; the besser brick wall 1.5m high and a 25mm hollow square tubing frame covered in colorbond sheeting for the 1m wall/ roof shutter worked very well in the past. The last one built was 3m x 6m. But a bit more expensive than the TSO.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all your suggestions, everyone :eek:

Minimum size I worked out as 6ft square or 2m square. Haven't worked out the minimum height yet. That is just to point the scope and get round it. Some extra space for equipment may be required.

Although I call it "the lawn" as it's an area of grass, we have goats and we use it as pasture so "home paddock" may be a more appropriate name. This gives rise to another thought - the obsy roof could roll over a shelter for the goats. I'm not planning a warm room as the obsy will be only a few yards from the house and I'm planning to control imaging from there (if I can).

The roof height I'm planning will be minimal with plenty of scope space but not standing height with the roof closed - I can sit down, though expect to set up etc. with the roof open. Wall height I'm thinking of 3 or 4 feet (a metre or so). Fold down on south and east sides and possibly west though I've yet to survey the site for viewing angle. When viewing/imaging southwards the east wall could be up to stop the cold east wind. Similarly with looking eastwards or westwards etc.

Northwards and westwards the view is limited by our bungalow and farm sheds plus rising ground with trees further up. But I would like to get some viewing northwards, particularly around Polaris at an elevation of 51 degrees, and lower. That means I would like to keep the roof height low when rolled off. Roll off would be roughly northwards. Again, I need to do some surveying - maybe today weather permitting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gina, consider a roll off shed option, low cost - mine cost £290 for a good quality shed and the wheels.

Small size - a 6x4ft will easily house your kit.

Access - once the shed is moved away you have excellent access to the scope, and run off area required is small.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldent make the roof that low that you have to stoop, you will be surprised how much time you will actually spend in your observatory. Astronomers are natural fiddlers & tweakers of kit so it wont be pleasent if you have todo it stooping.

I'd also advise making the observatory big enough in all dimenstions for the scope to slew in any direction without hitting anything including the roof while its closed plus having enough space around for yourself....again in any position.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Following from George's comments on shed size. I would suggest going large if you can.

At the time of planning my shed I worked out that could easily manage with a 6ft x8ft external size shed. That gave plenty of room to swing a big scope when horizontal (roof closed) and a bit at the end for a desk/bench.

I decided to go for 8ftx10ft as I thought I might upgrade the scope at some future time. The extra space might also be useful for visitors.

Before the shed was finished a larger scope came my way, using the extra width.

Being a hoarder, the bigger shed is now full of all the clutter that the hobby attracts. The visitor space was filled long ago.

I have even vaguely considered using an adjacent shed for equipment storage so my main shed can be partitioned to scope only + 1 person warm room.

Hope these ramblings are useful.

David.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Although I call it "the lawn" as it's an area of grass, we have goats and we use it as pasture so "home paddock" may be a more appropriate name. This gives rise to another thought - the obsy roof could roll over a shelter for the goats.

I'd been thinking about a roll-off area doubling as an animal shelter myself. That or storage for hay or something similar.

I may have to pick your brains about keeping goats at some point. I'm toying with keeping them instead of sheep, which seem to be little more than edible lawnmowers looking for new and "interesting" ways to kill themselves.

James

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks again folks :eek: A lot of interesting ideas ;)

Regarding sheep v goats. We have kept both but sheep are definitely a lot more trouble - fly strike, need sheering and wool fetching next to nowt, sheep are expensive to keep. Goats don't have those problems. They're more intelligent that sheep and make good pets - they love attention and stroking. They're not fussy what they eat. In fact they'll eat almost anything, being particularly partial to small trees, so you have to be careful what is within their reach. They climb too which sheep don't. Tim, my OH, has had goats on and off for most of his life and we've had them here for 15 years. We love them ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did this. Astrophotography.

The roof rolls off far enough to get Polaris with ease in spite of being 8ft high in the centre. Regarding size, be conservative, don't build a rabbit hutch. You always need more space. Mine is now slightly different colours of brown, it looks like the sort of place you would store your compost but is extremely secure. The view with the roof open looks roughly East.

Dennis

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gina, consider a roll off shed option, low cost - mine cost £290 for a good quality shed and the wheels.

Small size - a 6x4ft will easily house your kit.

Access - once the shed is moved away you have excellent access to the scope, and run off area required is small.

Would love to see photos of that, as I'm also considering this approach.

Regards Tim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you know, I think Malcolm might just have had the best idea - of designing/building the shed part first and then the pier :eek: I think I may have been a bit too anxious to get observing/imaging and having a good solid pier. The trouble is, my ideas of the whole obsy have changed a bit with the enormous amount of thinking and discussion. It would not be out of the question to start again with the pier, I didn't pour much concrete. But we'll see.

I'm now pretty definitely going for the roll off roof or roll off shed or something between the two. The most obvious direction to roll off is towards the north. That is best for astronomy. I shall have to either dig out or build up as the ground slopes (up to the north).

The idea of a goat shelter got me thinking. We use pig arcs for goat shelters and have a couple on this site. They are 6ft wide and 3ft high semicircular bent corrugated iron in 2ft sections that bolt together to provide as long a shelter as wanted. I'm wondering about using these for my obsy roof but they're a bit heavy. OTOH we have got some recycled big barn roof beams 4m long and 4 x 8 inches in section. Very strong. They could be put at about ground level for roll off shed or possibly on a concrete block wall.

After the absolute minimum size of 6x6 ft I went on to think of having it 6ft x 8ft, giving some room at one end for a bench. Seems many people have 6ft wide sheds. Of course, a roll off shed would mean the shed needn't be as big as the obsy floor area.

More thinking required ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just to state I do also have an existing static shed that houses the computer etc, ie my warm room. I need a 3X5m USB cables with booster plus 3x3m USB cables to connect the various bits.

Takes me approx 5 mins to roll off the obsy shed and connect everything up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you ;)

Here's one idea for a RORO shed arrangement using pig arcs for the roof and probably corrugated bitumen for the walls. A solid wooden framework (probably 4x2) can be used to support the roof. The shed would roll on 8x4 beams with 125mm nylon wheels between two pieces of wood. It resembles a railway carriage :eek:

These are the nylon wheels :- http://www.amazon.co.uk/125MM-Diameter-Nylon-Castor-Wheel/dp/B002SPQADQ/ref=pd_ecc_rvi_cart_4

Or I could go for 200mm rubber tyred wheels at a bit more :- https://www.amazon.co.uk/200mm-Black-Rubber-Plastic-Centre/dp/B002SPKFI2/ref=sr_1_417?s=diy&ie=UTF8&qid=1305726815&sr=1-417

I might add... I'm not doing any more to the pier until I've got the shed sorted out - just in case I want it in a different place.

post-25795-133877606333_thumb.png

Edited by Gina
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The diagram above was a long way out of scale so I've done another a bit nearer scale. The shed as shown is 6ft wide and 8ft long - the other diagram made it look more like 12ft.

I measured the corrugation spacing on the pig arcs (3") and the bitumen sheets (3.4") we've got and they don't match. But we have some old tin sheeting with 3" corrugation. Might use that.

post-25795-133877606384_thumb.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it were me... I'd build the walls up to about 1.5m and then add the bent roof section;three 2" castors per side would easily do the job.

That way you have some protection from the elements...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From my point of view the downside with a rollaway shed is that once rolled away you're much more exposed. My usual observing site is pretty much on top of a hill though, so my kit is affected by every slight breeze. It would be nice not to have wild animals creeping up on me, too. A few months back a badger made me jump almost out of my skin when I didn't hear it until it was only a few yards away :eek:

James

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, we're pretty exposed here too, particularly to the east where the coldest winds come from. If I were to roll off just the roof there would be less weight to move and the supporting structure could be much lighter. This comes back to my earlier idea of having fixed walls with the top bit hinging down. I just wonder if I could still use the pig arc roof - would 6ft width be enough? I think it probably would be. The advantage of the pig arc roof is that I've got it.

Alternatively, I could have fences to the east and west further away to keep the wind off and still use the RO shed idea. The permutations seem endless :eek:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.