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Setting up scope on a slope


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Beginner here, haven't even got my scope set up yet, but I think I may have a problem. My entire backyard (only reasonable viewing area) is on a slope. About a 30 degree slope. Is it possible to set up on a slope by adjusting the tripod legs to make it level, or will it still be unstable and tip over (8" OTA reflector, 14 lbs and 2 x 12lb counterweights on the mount)? My only option for a flat spot is a dock (vibrations of course then the issue) or in a corner between the house and fence with very limited view and streetlight in view. Any suggestions on what to do? 

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I would experiment first with tripod only. See what seems more stable, one or two legs down slope. If you can get it level and sturdy, add the mount and check how hard it is to topple. Align mount as necessary and check again how sturdy it is. That should give you a pretty good idea of whether it would work.

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Find the spot you are most likely to view from and try it out. My garden slopes, but not as much as yours, and I have found levelling the mount works fine. The only problem is if you want to use more than 1 site during a session. Then you really have to start all over again if you move.

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Do you have the possibility to drive fence post anchors into the ground? If you can, try these L-shaped anchors with most of the top removed. Drive them into the ground where your tripod legs will be, such that the flat is level. Then also use sand bags to keep the tripod from slipping. I think this should work and make setting up every time, easier.

http://www.post-anchors.com/postanchors/post-support.html

I use this kind of anchor in my backyard (level), and am very much faster at setting up and leveling the tripod. It also makes alignment faster. I have wrapped the flat top in roofing material to keep the tripod from slipping.

Hope this helps

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Myself & a couple of friends managed to set up on a sloping field a couple of years ago, the picture doesn't really do it justice as it were steep in 2 directions & my caravan had to be towed in by a 4x4 as the car just couldn't manage it.
My scope is a 250P on an NEQ6 so quite weighty, if your slope is on grass then  get three pieces of wood approx 10" square, drill a hole in the middle of them so the pointed foot of the tripod fit reasonably snuggly in them then set up the mount level. The wood will spread the weight & cause it not to sink whereas my colleagues didn't do that with there's from the beginning & as the night fell & dew started to rise the ground got soft causing the mounts to shift.

12802828_10153525992893434_549226664438736362_n.jpg.553a96dc46fceaedb814e52caf34cbde.jpg

Edited by tich
forgot to add picture lol
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What Tich said with additional tip. 

Drill two 1/4" holes one in each opposite corners of the wood. 

When set up and pointing north, tap in the holes a couple of wire tent pegs.

This will keep everything set should you need to move the tripod.  

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Thank you for suggestions. That wood platform makes a lot of sense for weight distribution. So Freff, you are saying to drive the tent posts into the ground with the top curved end hooked into the 1/4" hole then, correct? As in drive them so the wood is pressed firmly against the ground? 

I figure this may also help with pictures. Here is a view of my backyard so you can get an idea of exactly what I'm working with. Two regular pictures are taken from the north looking south. I have the worst view of the north for the most part due to trees blocking the view, and can't see Polaris. I am standing under in this. West and south are fantastic views and the east is limited by the house and how close to the water I am willing to get. The panorama is taken from right at that intersection where the two sidewalks meet in front of the door, going south to west to north, from left to right. Where would you set up?

IMG_20170318_132402.jpg

IMG_20170318_132502.jpg

PANO_20170318_134517.jpg

Edited by JTmunmun
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I would dig a 200mmx200mm hole in the ground (At the required depth) for 1 leg of the tripod facing +- towards the house and put a plywood at the bottom of this hole. I would use plywood pads for the other 2 legs too.

Edited by N3ptune
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2 hours ago, JTmunmun said:

I figure this may also help with pictures

Your kidding me?
That bit of grass is far too close to the waters edge, and Ive been to Florida City  and the Keys and I know about those snapping turtles and freekin big alligators...............:lol:

Your grass doesn't look that bad, so just adjust a leg or two on the tripod.

 

Edited by Charic
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23 minutes ago, N3ptune said:

I would dig a 200mmx200mm hole in the ground (At the required depth) for 1 leg of the tripod facing +- towards the house and put a plywood at the bottom of this hole. I would use plywood pads for the other 2 legs too.

Now that is actually an interesting idea. I didn't think of digging down to make level. 

 

9 minutes ago, Charic said:

Your kidding me?
That bit of grass is far too close to the waters edge, and Ive been to Florida City  and the Keys and I know about those snapping turtles and freekin big alligators...............:lol:

Haha I am more worried about the mullet that randomly jump out of the water and startle me. The dolphins and turtles keep to themselves, and the alligators like shallower water, though one of the neighbors did see one swimming in the canal not too long ago!

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Hi. JT,   
               As a matter of concern, and please don't think I'm being too intrusive here, I may be just being over cautious,
but do you have young children perhaps,?  If not just Ignore me here. if you do, I would be a bit concerned 
about their safety with your  proximity being so close to that water. 
My solution to the slope would be to dig out a hole to a couple of feet, pour in some concrete, and 
bolt a pier to the base, and place your mount atop the pier.
Attache the OTA when needed, and remove it after your sessions. A weather proof cover to protect it from the weather.
The big plus on the pier mount, is once it is polar aligned, it is permanently so, no need for subsequent adjustments.

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My take would be to put and retain something like a railroad-tie onto the lower level of the slope. Then place & affix an extended flat-platorm of sorts which will meet the railroad-ties to form a level surface-area out & over a portion of your lawn. Picture the letter 'L' laying on it's side in 3-D.

A visual mind helps,

Dave

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On 3/18/2017 at 12:49, JTmunmun said:

Where would you set up?

I would just setup on the sidewalk toward the north end before it curves around the house where it would block your southerly view.  Remember, sky objects move from east to west, so different ones will become available to view beyond the edge of your house as the night wears on.  Most of the best objects to view from Florida are from directly overhead to the south.  You'll miss out on a few objects to the north like the Double Cluster, but you can always move to the south end of your lot near the fence to see them.  I'd stay up on the nearly level area near the house.  I observe 4 feet from my two story house on the back patio.  I have a clear view of the southerly and southwesterly skies from there.  I just adjust what to view based on what is visible that night.  To see to the north is a lot more involved for me than it will be for you.  I have 30 foot trees nearly overhead from the patio and extending around the yard in an L shape.  I think you might have a northwesterly view from that south fence when looking over the water.

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On 3/20/2017 at 13:54, Louis D said:

I would just setup on the sidewalk toward the north end before it curves around the house where it would block your southerly view.  Remember, sky objects move from east to west, so different ones will become available to view beyond the edge of your house as the night wears on.  Most of the best objects to view from Florida are from directly overhead to the south.  You'll miss out on a few objects to the north like the Double Cluster, but you can always move to the south end of your lot near the fence to see them.  I'd stay up on the nearly level area near the house.  I observe 4 feet from my two story house on the back patio.  I have a clear view of the southerly and southwesterly skies from there.  I just adjust what to view based on what is visible that night.  To see to the north is a lot more involved for me than it will be for you.  I have 30 foot trees nearly overhead from the patio and extending around the yard in an L shape.  I think you might have a northwesterly view from that south fence when looking over the water.

I scoped out that area last night, and that actually seems like a good spot. One neighbor a couple houses down where the panorama glitched has a bright light at night which messes with my dark adaptation, but from that spot I can easily avoid it as that keeps it behind the fence. I think it might also be flat enough there that I can get away without too much messing around with the wood and digging holes. I'll lose a bit more of the north but I think you have a point that there is plenty to see in the good views I have. I will have to report back in a few nights on how this all works out! 

 

On 3/19/2017 at 05:47, barkis said:

Hi. JT,   
               As a matter of concern, and please don't think I'm being too intrusive here, I may be just being over cautious,
but do you have young children perhaps,?  If not just Ignore me here. if you do, I would be a bit concerned 
about their safety with your  proximity being so close to that water. 
My solution to the slope would be to dig out a hole to a couple of feet, pour in some concrete, and 
bolt a pier to the base, and place your mount atop the pier.
Attache the OTA when needed, and remove it after your sessions. A weather proof cover to protect it from the weather.
The big plus on the pier mount, is once it is polar aligned, it is permanently so, no need for subsequent adjustments.

No kids for me, so not an issue! On a side note, you'd be surprised what the neighbors across the other side of the canal let their kids do. I see them swimming in there, paddle boarding, and even riding around on a little motorboat!

That concrete pier is a great idea, but I'm not sure how long I will be staying at this house so probably a bit too much cost/effort considering that possibility. Great idea for the future though.

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