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Savonia rooftop observatory


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Hello from Finland! I have been reading this forum for long time and now had the courage to write in here. First of all, you have awsome active community here.  Second, sorry for my bad english. 
I have been doing astrophotography for 4 year now. 2015 summer, i build my rooftop Observatory. I live near our Finland's biggest lake. My house is in a hill, 55m above the lake surfice. 131m above the sealevel. My idea was to get the observatory close to the home, i have family whit 2 children. Cant be chasing the dark in the field enymore.
The season 2015-2016 was tryout season, to test if the rooftop was suitable for ap. I had my doubts about thermal and other issues. But it seems I'am able to produce the pictures i want from the home observatory.
In general I belive alot of things can be done by self and Inexpensively. I have totally used under 2000e to this project.
 I'am using:
-NEQ-5  mount, moded whit belt drive. 
-Skywatcher 80 ed refractor. 
-Ts 0.8x reducer
-Self modified nikon d5100 whit coldfinger cooler.
-51mm, focal length 183mm guider scope
- Altair astro gpcam mono(same chip as asi120)
-For this season i have nikkor 180 ed for wider field.

For the observatory, i bolted 100x100 steel bar to my house concrete pillar. I build small space under my house roof, pierced my roof and installed skylight doors to the hole i made. That's the simple story, my english is not good enough to tell all the technicall stuff. But if you have questions I'am happy to answer.

Here is some pictures from observatory and photos i have taked last season:


Picture from the house end where the observatory located.


And from the roof looking down to the spot where the previous picture was taken.


South view:


Panorama from the roof:






Pictures from this observatory:











I have much to learn. So eny questions, comments, critique or note is more then welcome. 

Edited by JukkaP
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Thank you for your comment. This is easy to operate, or it is when everything is working properly. Seems like every now and then a new problem pop's up. But thats expected.

I'am still fairly novice astrophotographer, i do think i can produce better images whit this gear. Hoping i can learn and study ap whit this setup for few years and then upgrade to something more professional gear.


Still I have some unsolved issues whit the observatory. I'am hoping that I can get the flip doors to open whit some sort of motor in future. There is possibility to switch for sliding doors when i upgrade my gear. But that wount be this or the next year.

I did some improvement this summer, still trying to get everything working properly again. I seem to have some issues whit powering the astroeq box. I need to feed unnecessary amount of voltage to the nema 14 motor, the mount is pretty stiff now. I worked all slack and play off the mount. I could loosen it for some, but I'am hoping i get closer to 20min light frames this season. Last season i was at the best limited to around 10min. I have fully maintanced my eq-5, it has new grease and al the ruff spots are polished. The quality of build just is not enough for seriously long exposures.  The voltage fed to the nema motors is heating them and astroeq box, I'am not sure how much heat they can take? 

Astroeq lets me feed about 4-5V for each motor and if i try to feed more it wount operate properly. I ordered 12V 6A power suply from ebay. I measured ampere from the powersuply and i only got 2.8a. Is there possibility that the powersuply is damaged?

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  • 2 months later...

I have been busy whit family and work. I have managed to get few shot. All my images are whit: nikon d5100(fullspectrum, coldfinger cooled to +3 c*), idas lps-d1, sw 80 ed @480mm. 


Here is my new images taken this autumn(all have 2-5hour integration time, in 10min sub's) :









Comment's and improvement suggestion's are more then welcome.  More details on request =). 

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  • 4 months later...

Hi JukkaP,


Thanks very much for pictures of your amazing project! I find them intriguing because over the last year I’ve been exploring the possibility of a rooftop observatory in my own home. I know the conventional wisdom is that vibration and thermal issues in a rooftop obsy will greatly hinder any attempts at astrophotography but there seems to be a growing body of evidence from astronomers on Stargazer’s lounge who report otherwise. (Before I start any debate, I know that an outside shed based obsy, away from the house, will always be the better option but for those of us with no garden, a rooftop obsy is the only choice or none at all). Anyway, please could I ask you for a few more details?


1. From your pictures, it appears that your obsy is not above any lived-in part of the house, which I imagine helps with thermal considerations. Is that correct?

2. Regardless, are there any steps you take before an imaging session to help equilibrate for thermal issues (i.e. opening the roof hatch a few hours beforehand)?

3. Have you attempted any high power imaging of the moon/planets? Do thermal issues cause any effect?


Thanks very much for any further information,



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  • 5 weeks later...

Sorry, I have not been updating this. Have been busy whit family. Our Third child came in to the world!!


Ok. So Leedsgreen:

1. There is no living facilities under the observatory. I have ''insulated'' the observatory so no heat is coming there from the house. 

2. If the weather is nice before the dark comes I will open the roof doors before imaging session. That is mainly for saving time when dark comes. But I almost always have the entrance door open(IF not raining), so there is ambient temperature.

3. No I have not. But my sub exposures are really constant from night to night, so if there is some thermal issues they are really small. I have not seen any problems whit the observatory.


Here are my new images. Let me now what you think! These are taken from my observatory whit Nikon d5100 cooled + modified, iso 400. Idas lps-d1 filter. SW 80 ed whit 0.8x reducer. Post processing in Pixinsight and photoshop CC.











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  • 5 months later...

Ok. Big things has happened. I started to upgrade my gear.
I bought EQ6 by some sort of impulse. So happy whit the upgrade, will make life much easier . In 2 days selling mayhem, I got my all old stuff sold. I have now funds for new APO. Have been battling to use my visa for new takashi, but gladly my loving wife put me back to ground. 
So whit some sort of understanding I will be going for under 1500 euros scope.
The finalist's are now Skywatcher 80 esprit and William optics 81GT. Pretty sure it will be Skywatcher. 
The idea is to make easy observatory set up. I have 3 kids, all under 4 years. Work and etc.. So life is busy, but fun. Whit the short APO and EQ6(Atlas) I should be free of the hassle I had before. 
I will be buying the scope from Telescope Austria. I have heard they have awesome tuning service.

Any thoughts?

Here are the links:
Esprit 80

Edited by JukkaP
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I bought the Skywatcher esprit 80, fine tuned version! Waiting post to arrive.
I got this confirmation note from Tommy:
Your Esprit has now a new rubber buffer ring in front of lenses, and lenses are collimated
and the center lens well supported. So it stays in collimation when knocking on the cell.
The front and rear lens are very slightly supportes by the screws, they are senisitive.
If you have very cold temperatures and you see dark structures in the star halo coming,
you just loosen the respective screws on the front and rear lens by 1 tick (1/32 turn), not middle lens.
Now the star halo is without structures, very smooth, as we like it.
The focuser is centered on the objective, and the objective to the focuser, so the optical axis is dead center.
The focusers friction is adjusted, but you can do that yourself by tweaking the two teflon bars inside.
You find the M2,5 screws next to the focuser wheels. And the focusers worm housing is tightened
(sometimes a screw is just loose there).
I made interferograms and the fringes are very straight, estimation of Strehl is about 95% at 550nm.
Awesome job telescope austria!

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