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Alan White

The Obsering Area Build

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Well after a complicated negotiations with the House Management Team, a plan has been drawn up and fully approved.
I have suffered multiple spotlights spoiling my Astronomy at home for a couple of years, driving me to almost stop observing from home.
But I can be a stubborn wotsit so had grand plans of an observatory, but time, funds and health this year have put paid to this idea.

My plan is to shade an existing concrete base in the garden to observe from, compromises needed, but it works as a location.

Here is the area, it was a 15 Feet x 15 Feet concrete base used for a childrens frame pool, now long retired.
Showing the first batch of plants now residing trying to block lights.

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I have reduced it to a 9 Feet x 15 Feet base.

IMG_1171.thumb.JPG.a061cc04446fd235129e13df20ea91c6.JPG

Surrounded it with Portuguese Laurel last year, but not tall enough yet, so have plans for a fence.
The area to the left where you can see a Football Goal is next door, they don't like the dark and don't like Astronomy.
The image under shows some of the lights that I contend with, there are a good number more.
I tried lots of planting and spent £1800 on shrubs, but only partly resolved the issue.

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So the plan is to allow a 9 Feet x 9 Feet observing pad and a spare area for future storage**
storage** is code for a 8 Feet x 6 Feet Pent shed in the future.
It could serve as a scope or mount store, warming area and a place to ponder the world at night.

This is the first post and has been in progress since October 2018,
but a stay in hospital over Christmas and ongoing issues since have slowed my progress.
Well in reality stopped it for 6 months.
Now just starting again at a slow pace, as I have a few minor mobility and strength issues still,
but getting better each day.   Enough about that though!  

It is not the observatory I dreamt of, it is not even the shed I want still.
But it will be a good area to observe from and once the fence goes up it should block out the spots that blight my Astro life!!

Edited by Alan White
typos of course
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Good to hear your plans, Alan. And pleased to here you are getting much better.

Jeremy

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I have a 240v protected supply run to the base, which will terminate on the fence ina waterproof double RCD socket for now.
This allows power for any driven mounts, heaters etc in the future - plans always change.
But at present it may sit idle as I am a very low tech all manual, no powered observer.

The plan is for a 6 feet tall fence to be constructed around two sides of the 9 x 9 area and the Laurels moved closer on one side.
This shades the pad from spotlights and also once the Laurel grows makes it look OK to both myself and the House Management Team.
I have just marked it on a picture for clarity.

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I have just given the go ahead to a local contractor to build me a fence all in wood :D
All to be built by hand, so no concrete posts an 6x6 panels here, so should look nice.
This may be done fairly soon as it is a very small job for him, but a big one for me at present.

Watch this space.

Edited by Alan White
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4 minutes ago, JeremyS said:

Good to hear your plans, Alan. And pleased to here you are getting much better.

Jeremy

Thank You Jeremy.

Felt I had to share the Plan to Reality stage, just to make it become real if that makes sense.
 

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Good solution, glad to see this is resolved with compromise for you. But what the heck are those spot lights used for!.. hellish light pollution even for non Astronomers!. Guess it must be a car park?.

Rob

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26 minutes ago, Rob said:

Good solution, glad to see this is resolved with compromise for you. But what the heck are those spot lights used for!.. hellish light pollution even for non Astronomers!. Guess it must be a car park?.

Rob

No just another person moving to somewhere darkish and not liking darkness.
In total they have 15 spots lamps fitted, all shine towards me........Did I say something wrong ????
Just hope my shielding solution of lots of plants and a fence works.

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15!.. that's crazy. At least make them down lighters.. I really am surprised nobody else has complained. 

Good luck. I'm sure your solution will go a long way to helping you out.

Rob

Edited by Rob

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1 hour ago, Rob said:

15!.. that's crazy. At least make them down lighters.. I really am surprised nobody else has complained.          Rob

Crazy indeed.
I am the only who can complain, they have a wood the other side and behind them too.
 

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The lights from your neighbours place is terrible. They do realise thieves are more likely to go after a lit place than dark?

Anyway. Prize for the most stupid statement/question of the day will be coming my way very soon...

I assume you have spoken to them about your pastime and invited them round for drinks and talk about the effect their lighting would have on your pastime? You are entitled to dark skies and they need to find a way to compromise; when the nights are clear, they agree to switch them off for you. perhaps.

In France, it's easy. They love scotch, so I keep a few bottles to lubricate the wheels of progress...

I really do hope there is a solution that stops you throwing thousands of pounds at a screen..

Good luck with them.

Gordon.

 

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BTW... share my building thread with the house management team as proof how More than Reasonable your proposal is... 😀

Might help...

Gordon.

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1 hour ago, Bukko said:

The lights from your neighbours place is terrible. They do realise thieves are more likely to go after a lit place than dark?

Anyway. Prize for the most stupid statement/question of the day will be coming my way very soon...

I assume you have spoken to them about your pastime and invited them round for drinks and talk about the effect their lighting would have on your pastime? You are entitled to dark skies and they need to find a way to compromise; when the nights are clear, they agree to switch them off for you. perhaps.

In France, it's easy. They love scotch, so I keep a few bottles to lubricate the wheels of progress...

I really do hope there is a solution that stops you throwing thousands of pounds at a screen..

Good luck with them.

Gordon.

 

Gordon that was another thread a long time ago, failed miserably, one light was turned away from a Bedroom window.
I asked for them to be angled down or go off at 1030pm or something.
The response was most impolite and neighbor to neighbor relations are somewhat cool ever since.

When they get done over because they have lit the place for the burglars, I will try very hard to keep a straight face.
Now that is uncharitable, but so is having so many lights pointing at someone else's property.

Sadly the screen and hedges are the pragmatic solution to a situation,
I moved to this location for the dark on the edge of town.

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I did note from the images that I put up, that the hedge plants have grown more than I thought.
They now obscure some of the line of sight to the offending property and its lights.
Sadly at this rate it would take many years to achieve full cover, so the fence really is the answer.

Good news looks like the fence chap can do it a few weeks sooner than he indicated,
but subject to this coming weeks weather holding for him.
So fingers crossed that this is the case, what with the arrival of Astro Darkness 😀

Edited by Alan White
typos of course
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Hi Alan,

Sorry to hear of inconsiderate lighting from your neighbours. If relations are "cool" as a result of being Mr Nice Guy, they clearly need to be reported to local council under lighting nuisance guidelines. Harsh, possibly, but "light blight" and inconsiderate lighting is something that the councils can do something about. Why not invite your local councillor or lighting engineer around for an astro viewing and see the issue themselves?  Links below might offer some assistance to you.

www.mylawyer.co.uk/lighting-a-A76076D76858/

www.gov.uk/guidance/artificial-light-nuisances-how-councils-deal-with-complaints

Good luck and wishing you darker skies.

Les

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I am thankful for the support but the lighting issue is now old hat.
The lighting blight was attempted to be dealt with correctly via the Local Council
the Cool relations are due to the impasse that was the result.
I do understand the legalities of this due to my Day Job, but it relies on others to enforce.

Suffice to say I was told that 'No light nuisance was being caused as it only causes nuisance to my Astronomy' 🤬
The bedrooms are now unlit as one offending light was moved, no nuisance now caused.

Can we all get back to the Observing Pad build now please.......for the sake of my blood pressure.
 

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Well in this fine 31 degrees I have moved the power cable to a better route and in doing so done some gardening.
All in the name of testing my dodgy knee and hand out (honest Mrs W).

Moved one of the Portuguese Laurel, this allows the SWA cable route to change.
I needed about 1m more on the existing run, so a slight redig and move.
The end of the hedge needs to move when the fence is done anyway, so one bush moved.

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Bush now sitting as Billy No Mates, but watered and fed.
This will be part of a hedge from the end of the base to the
end of the fence line.
 

All of this (yeah I know it's not much) was testing my grip on my right hand, which is gradually returning.
This was after a dose of food poisoning that did things to my joints as well as other areas!

IMG_3482.thumb.JPG.588246b86dab7a9ca365e479da4452fd.JPGThis work was done in a couple of hours, and has won me that much needed 1 meter of cable and locates it within the fence line away from any posts etc.

This was needed as I intend to build or install a power cabinet / workbench / surface in the corner of the fence.
I wanted the power at a sensible height, as in not on the floor.

So another small step forward HUURRAH !!!!
Each step has great meaning to me as this project has been on hold since last November when I broke my thumb gardening.
A number off illnesses have befallen me since then and I have not been up to much jobs wise. 
Been very frustrating indeed.

Next steps - Watch this space

  • Fence to be built by a fence contractor, I hope very soon indeed.
  • Gardening and bush moves.
  • Top soil on old base area and grassed over.
  • Power supply completed.
  • Build workbench / cupboard.
  • Get out using it.
  • Enjoy myself.
  • Be Healthy!
  • Purchase a shed and fit on intended spot - future.
  • A Pier install - future.

That's just a quick update as much for me as anything else.

 

Edited by Alan White
typos of course
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Oh and one item missing from the list of to do:

  • Convince the long suffering Mrs W. that an observatory would be a great idea!

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Fantastic.. can't wait to see the finished obsy.

 

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2 hours ago, Alan White said:

Oh and one item missing from the list of to do:

  • Convince the long suffering Mrs W. that an observatory would be a great idea!

I find its better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission in cases such as this 😂

Cracking job, hope your hand heals fully and you are observing in no time!

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2 hours ago, upahill said:

I find its better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission in cases such as this 😂

Cracking job, hope your hand heals fully and you are observing in no time!

Thanks for the wishes, the hand is improving slowly but surely.
As to doing and getting forgiven, never that brave or stupid to be honest.
The Observing Area and shed will do for a few years, observatory towards retirement.

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I found that the possibility of all my astronomy kit being removed from the house made Mrs JamesF very amenable to the idea of having an observatory, though she did get an en-suite and dressing room into the bargain.  And a cellar that is no longer a dark pit of dirt and damp, come to think of it.

James

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Going back to the neighbours lights (sorry). here's a suggestion for something to help whilst your bushes grow higher.  Get several metres of black material, and some roof battens.  Staple the cloth to the battens, spaced about a metre apart, so its like lots of flags and poles stuck together, and prop this up at the edge of your property when you go observing.  I have found this quite effective in the past.

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2 minutes ago, Oldfort said:

Going back to the neighbours lights (sorry). here's a suggestion for something to help whilst your bushes grow higher.  Get several metres of black material, and some roof battens.  Staple the cloth to the battens, spaced about a metre apart, so its like lots of flags and poles stuck together, and prop this up at the edge of your property when you go observing.  I have found this quite effective in the past.

Thank you, interesting idea and another line of thought for me.
You are therefore forgiven for going back to the lights......😉

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Given your situation, can you swing to a dome? They take up less room than a ROR and provide shielding from local light pollution. For visual you wouldn't need the extensive (And expensive) automation options. It's the latter that swung me to ROR rather than dome.

In my last place I had a few lights shining directly into my garden, so did what oldfort suggested, though I used 50mm sq fence posts with trellis and weed control membrane.

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7 minutes ago, DaveS said:

Given your situation, can you swing to a dome? They take up less room than a ROR and provide shielding from local light pollution. For visual you wouldn't need the extensive (And expensive) automation options. It's the latter that swung me to ROR rather than dome.

I think the fenced corner and letting the plants grow is my plan and budget for the minute Dave.
Yes as you say a dome would be the way to go, but at present not enough budget to do this as I have a daughter at University,
bank of Mum & Dad is being stretched supporting this, but after (3 more years) 😉

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That's fair enough Alan, and probably the best option while Daughter needs financial support at uni.

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