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I am putting this in Astro Lounge as opposed to DIY Observatories because, well, I probably won't be doing it (all) myself.......
I stuck my neck out at my societies AGM and raised the prospect of having our own observatory. Arguments against were expense, lots of folk have their own dome, location and security.
Arguments for included outreach, lots of folk want but can't have their own observatory, skills progression.
I was tasked with a feasabilty/ cost study before we decide whether to approach organisations for either funding assistance or permission to site an obsy on their ground.
To kick start the costing side of the study, I need to asses what is required (outside of a plot of land for the obsy).
My first thoughts are:-
Shell. I am thinking sustainable so a substantial wooden structure including a dome and warm room. 'Flatpack' with DIY assembly would reduce financial impact. Perhaps increase the warm room size into something large enough to become our meeting hall?
Power. Mains would be best but, would a solar panel/ battery combo suffice?
Pier. This would be one of the DIY part of the project and I am thinking a reinforced concrete pier with mount fixings to suit the desired mount though a steel pier is a possibility.
Water/ Drainage. As a society obsy, with outreach use a goal, somewhere to produce refreshing beverages (and to download the later result) may be desired. Mains and sewer or mains water and septic tank?
What have I missed?
I and my girlfriend has come home from a one week travel at Malta, a small island in the Medeterranien Sea. About a mount before we go I came in contact with an amateur astronomer down there, Maurice. He invited me and my girfriend to visit him and his DIY built observatory.
The observatory is built on top of his house and it has a real dome.
If you find it interesting to read about it I have done a small report from our visit at the Malta observatory with photos:
The Raven and the Owl observatory, Malta.
After this visit it's hard to understand why we stay in Sweden where we live, when it's dark it's also very cold. We often have from -20 degrees to 0 degrees Celcius temperatures. Now adays we don't have many clear nights either.
I’m going to do a 1 or 2 month tour of Europe in my camper van this spring and I would like to visit a planetarium either in Europe or the UK, preferably avoiding London and Paris or other major cities with low emission zones.
I visited the planetarium in London when I was a child and thoroughly enjoyed it but I see it is now closed. I am planning to visit the space centre in Leicester on my way home which seems to get mixed reviews regarding having a lot aimed at children.
I was surprised at how many planetariums there actually are with a google search. Can anyone recommend one, or a good public observatory?
By Martin Perrett
After having my mind programmed into thinking that home observatories should be round or square I saw an article showing a triangular one. This altered my thinking completely. I had some plywood and other wood left from building my house so took a couple of days to build my observatory. The size was dictated by the tripod base and the movement of the telescope on the mount. I have a NEQ6 Pro and 8inch ACF. The first thing is to align the tripod along the meridian North South with the help of the sun's shadow and the time. This means that with the scope parked it takes up less room. The roof hinges over with the help of a counterweight (not shown on my first video) and the base of the observatory is a equalateral triangle about 5-5 feet high to allow the scope to see most of the sky. This setup allows for access to the scope but is really for remote viewing. The triangular base is approx. 6 feet on each side but the roof requires room on one side to be hinged over. The observatory can be built from 4 sheets of 18mm exterior grade ply and one sheet of 5mm marine ply for the roof and 3 4.2mtr length of 50mm by 100mm treated wood. The cost could be less than £200 if you can use some reclaimed bits. The video I made is about 20 minutes long and involved me thinking and working things out while building it. The triangular construction is much easier and stronger than a square or circular one. The design means I have the scope setup and ready for those short glimpses of clear sky while also able to try remote control of the scope with the roof closed. Since the first video I have put more hinges on the joint and a beam (made from hardwood I bought as an off cut) with a couple of old rail track plates used as counterweights. The next thing is to use a garage door opener to remote the opening of the roof.
So here is the link to the video. Please just see it as an example of what you can do, not as a 'this is the way to do it' video. If I was building it again it would be similar but better.