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Deep Sky West (Midlands)


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Apologies for the rather pretentious post title, it is actually the start of the Tomato and Tomatobro collaborative back garden observatory. I’ve now retired to semi-rural Shropshire and we can now make a start on this long awaited project.

Observatory will consist of a second hand Pulsar Dome and separate shed for the warm room in the corner of the garden. The outlook is OK apart from one LED street light directly opposite, will have to see how much of an issue this is for imaging.

First lot of materials landed with expert precision by the truck driver using a wireless controller for the crane, I was most impressed.

More posts to follow as the build progresses.

 

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Another milestone, the Pulsar 2.2 m dome after being in storage for 18 months, is now assembled! A mixed reaction from the family now it is sitting in the garden. Mrs Tomato definitely wants a gr

Time for an update. As posted previously, Mrs Tomato didn’t like the white dome so it is now resplendent in British Racing Green. The weather has played havoc with the finish on the dome, how do outsi

Further progress made over the festive season, the circular rack made up of 6 lengths joined together, has been installed using adjustable brackets so that it can be made reasonably level and circular

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Shropshire is a fab place to relocate for dark skies; the south west of the county going into the Marches being the darkest. If the street light gets on your nerves you can always abscond to even darker skies which would be a short drive away...

I don't know if you are aware but a lot of Shropshire is now part lit so you'll hopefully be pleasantly surprised if that pesky light extinguishes at midnight...this website will given you an idea of the status of your locality: https://shropshire.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Minimalist/index.html?appid=fa2afc7ab61a40d8a499684e3dba8374

Congratulations on your move. :)

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51 minutes ago, Beulah said:

Shropshire is a fab place to relocate for dark skies; the south west of the county going into the Marches being the darkest. If the street light gets on your nerves you can always abscond to even darker skies which would be a short drive away...

I don't know if you are aware but a lot of Shropshire is now part lit so you'll hopefully be pleasantly surprised if that pesky light extinguishes at midnight...this website will given you an idea of the status of your locality: https://shropshire.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Minimalist/index.html?appid=fa2afc7ab61a40d8a499684e3dba8374

Congratulations on your move. :)

Thanks very much for this, from what I had read on the council website I was hoping that these lights would go off at mid-night. However, you have probably gathered from the photos that it is a new build estate, and I think the lights maybe still be under the developer’s control as they currently stay on all night. According to the link, they should come under the partial lit remit. 

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1 hour ago, PhotoGav said:

Deep Sky West (Midlands) - absolutely love it!!! Good luck with the build, I look forward to seeing the progress updates.

Thanks Gav, New Mexico it ain’t, but it’s the best I could do and keep Mrs Tomato 100% on board, because without her, I would still be working for a living.

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The locations for the shed and dome bases have been pegged out, a Skywatcher tripod has been pressed into service for the laser level.

We have started to dig out the footings for the blocks that will form part of the base for the shed, but 30 degrees, 95% humidity and two retired geezers in their 60’s means it is happening at a measured pace...🥵

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Yaay an observatory build starting.
Enjoy the build, enjoy using it even more.
I will watch with interest and slight envy, just one light being a nuisance tskk 'tis but a flesh wound!' (Read my woes)
Good luck Tomato and TomatoBro
 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks Steve, it’s been a while in the making, but really excited to be moving towards a permanent observatory.

I just need Shropshire Council to apply their ‘street lights off after midnight’ policy to the bit of the county where I now live.😊 

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12 hours ago, sloz1664 said:

I wish you luck on persuading Shropshire Council. Also, hope the build and installation goes to smooth and to plan.

Steve

Thanks Steve,

I only want the council to implement their existing policy, the street lights on the estate on the other side of the main road to me do go off at midnight, mind you it’s a bit of work for them so I won’t count my chickens just yet.

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In Devon my council put up two light shields on a couple of led lights next to my property. I was well impressed as it only took a week from me emailing them. Your council may well do a light shield even though they go off at midnight. Worth a try, made my side garden really dark where my observatory is. 

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The warm room shed is up, although my grand daughter has already christened it “Grandad’s Wendy House”.

It seems all DIY observatory build threads are not complete unless they have a time lapse construction video. Here is my very amateur attempt on the shed build (I’ll try and frame the subject properly next time, and apologies moderators for the brief glimpse of builder’s b*m)😄

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You know, she's quite perceptive, your granddaughter :D

Just wait until she gets chatting with the neighbours and tells them that grandad spent last night in the wendy house...

James

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  • 3 weeks later...

Warm room main construction complete, still needs power to it and fitting out internally but we can at last begin dome construction. 😜

Pier base former constructed and pegged in location, now for some hard labour, having decided on 1 cubic metre of concrete to go down. 🥵

 

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4 hours ago, JamesF said:

Why so much concrete?

James

There will be a substantial dual rig bolted to the block, and we certainly don’t want to dig it out to put a bigger one in.

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Good progress on the pier base hole, only another 150 mm to go! The Shropshire subsoil (at least where I live) is great for digging out, easily cleaved clay and no stones. 

We have estimated 30-40 mixer loads to fill it, a new v belt has been fitted to it in preparation.

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I agree Gina, it looks half way to Australia but the tape measure does not lie! 

The sides are currently tapered inwards which gives it the illusion of being deeper, these will be made vertical just prior to filling and knocking in the rebar.

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