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Astro-Geek

Roll-Into Observatory ?

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I've had a good search around in here, and indeed also Google, but haven't come across this sort of thing.

My garden site-specific need is for a roll into observatory, as the only space available to me is some raised decking alongside a shed.

It has good sky visibility as I back on to open fields with few trees, and no street lights and few neighboring houses.

I'm intending to use a high security Asgard metal bike/garden store, so that I can keep my 300p goto DOB and my wheeled pier mounted EQ6 in it, ready for instant use when wheeled out on to the decking.  I realise this will mean no firm concrete base and that I will need to polar align the EQ6 each time, but having these heavy bulky items already out there and at ambient temperature will save so much time and effort.

Indeed, one of the main reasons is to not have to lift them, which always wakes up my ancient Hernia repair opp....  😲

I can also keep my observing chair and other bits and pieces to hand as well.

The security aspects of these Asgard metal sheds are very high too, so the Astronomy kit should be safer in there than in my house !

I'm mindful of keeping condensation at bay, (ventilation and insulation).

Has anyone else tried anything similar ?

The attached Sketchup diagram is exactly to scale, with my 2 foot high decking and 5ft high adjacent shed wall.  The "Asgard Addition" bike store is to scale, as are the 300p DOB and EQ6 pedestal inside.  The only thing not to scale is the burly looking chap. He's the same height as me, but much fitter looking 🤓

roll into observatory.jpg

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I know someone who used to roll his gear out from his garage on a trolley.  As you say will need polar aligning each time but at least it is ready assembled and does not need lifting. 

Carole 

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My Dob is on a trolley in the garage ready to roll out and use. It has revolutionised my observing! Just make sure that you have some way of making things stable for observing. Gear on wheels can sway about a bit.

Paul

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I must admit I do have a garage and a large conservatory too, but unfortunately their rear garden access is nearly two feet down via two steps, and the rear garden is "paved" with gravel.  I did consider creating another adjacent decking, but the view from my existing "high level" decking by the shed gives a much better all-round view of the sky.

Yes, I'll have to see how I go with vibration, but at least it's very substantial decking, on 5x2 joists.

Here's a couple of photos of the Asgard shed/store, one from the manufacturer and one from someone who has fitted insulation (to a similar store that has a lift up lid).

 

addition_3_bike_storage_1.jpg

insulation.jpg

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Better late than never?

I have some considerable experience with mobile telescope mountings to avoid trees and high hedges.

I used to have pneumatic tyres on my massive, welded steel pier for my MkIV mounting.
These were standard pilot wheels from car trailers with rise and fall jacks.
The whole thing used to sway on the air cushion of the tyres. Mobile but absolutely hopeless for a telescope.!
So I replaced them with solid foam, "puncture proof" trailer pilot wheels and jacks.
It didn't sway any more but the rolling resistance rose dramatically on lawn and gravel.
Always have four wheels if you are going for mobility. Three is recipe for disaster with a top heavy load!
The slightest undulation on the ground or even a soft spot will risk a very expensive topple!

Here's my 7" refractor on pneumatic tyres. Absolutely lethal on our undulating ground!

P1200907 rsz 600.JPG

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The key thing in this design will be how you go from 'wheels' mode to 'standing on the deck' mode, especially in the case of the equatorial. I would be thinking along the lines of a lever and cam system either to raise and lower the wheels or to raise and lower hard blocks which lifted the wheels off the ground. Operating while riding on the wheels wouldn't work, in my view. This might sound complicated but I don't think it need be. Ideally the operating position should be built in to the deck, just a simple locating system which would give you an acceptable PA without the need for nightly adjustment.

Olly

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Many urethane wheels are available with brakes.

Depending on the load and surfaces I doubt they'd move nor the tyres flex noticeably.

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Unless you're doing wide angle, you need a very rigid support.

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2 hours ago, Rusted said:

Many urethane wheels are available with brakes.

Depending on the load and surfaces I doubt they'd move nor the tyres flex noticeably.

My instinct says the opposite but I've never tried to make anything which mounted a scope on wheels so I'm left only with instinct.

What about trying it on wheels but having hinged bolts fixed to the deck which pivot up to pull down on the trolley top once in position?

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice

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I’ve used twin wheel locking castors and while there is no up and down movement the wheels can swivel a little bit due to play in the locking mechanism. 

The only castors that do not move at all are the leveling types that let you raise the castors off the ground and the weight is then supported on rubber feet. Not cheap though.

https://www.bearingboys.co.uk/Levelling-Castors-3783-c

My old Blue Whale used them.

 

E2E20AF3-8566-4D1E-93CA-E2CA6375E432.jpeg

2F74027F-3D2D-4174-943E-DEFBCD191503.jpeg

 

5B6BFE49-3AD1-4541-920C-DC77BE6BB133.jpeg

Edited by johninderby
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It's very interesting to see these comparisons of "heavy duty" rolling solutions.

If only my Patio/Decking was adjacent to my Garage or Conservatory.

Unfortunately they're on significantly different levels because of the way my small rear garden slopes downwards slightly.

My ideal existing observation area is the 9 foot square decking that is raised up by about 2ft, so it gives good horizons. The route to it from the conservatory or garage is down 1ft and across gravel, so even the large wheeled tripod dollies and piers are impractical for me.

....hence my initial idea of the secure storage cupboard actually on that raised decking.

I've now had further thoughts though 🤓.

It would still take time to wheel the scope(s) out and align them, and there would be no shelter from the inevitable cold Winter breeze.

So the new plan is to have a Skyshed Pod on the decking, which is just big enough.  The thought of just walking out there and flipping the eyebrow open with no lifting or setting up is much more attractive.  Good viewing conditions so often seem to be just for an hour or two, either at dusk or shortly before dawn....

pod on decking.jpg

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I wouldn't be too optimistic about avoiding breezes in such a dome.
One which opens over a quarter of a hemisphere rather than having a narrow slit.
You are, to all and intents and purposes, standing outside.

That said, you do have a permanent mounting set up.
With rapid opening and instant weatherproofing on demand.
Thermal problems are also likely to be much less with such a wide opening.
You are also unlikely to step off into the void beyond the terrace.

I cannot compare the Pulsar with the Pod because I have owned neither.
My own experience is with a 3m, 10' dome which has an eye-level base ring.
Despite the relatively narrow observation slit it can still get pretty draughty in there.
One always seems to be observing or imaging in the direction of prevailing winds.

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Hi 

Rather late to this thread, but if you are still thinking of rolling the beast, the trick is to have the castors on jacks and the feet rigidly attached - which is the reverse of what is normally done.  To  move, wind the castors down so it is off the feet, move it, then wind the castors up so it stands on the feet.  Jacked feet will just wobble. There may be some merit in 4 wheels.  I had three, and rolling over soft turf was seriously weird if it bogs down...

Re your dome:  are you sure it is worth the bother - they are cramped.  My scope I abandoned the garden and moved up to the roof, a small one metre wide strip of flat roof: A couple of pics -

P1220822

 

and

P1220829

and

P1370942_small2

 

The thing is covered by 3 of these garden furniture covers, one inside the other:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Woodside-Outdoor-Garden-Furniture-3-25ft/dp/B00CQ4DOK6/ref=sr_1_6?keywords=woodside+garden+furniture+covers&qid=1574722227&sr=8-6

Quite water proof, about half an hour to uncover or pack up.  Bit of a laugh if the wind is up.  

 

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Absolutely amazing! You are a bit of a genius to have constructed that lot! :thumbsup:

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Looks like you need a good head for heights 😄  Certainly amazing!

Edited by Gina
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When I were a lad.. I used the valley between the twin roofs of our Georgian slum as an "observatory."

4" f/15 refractor in a cardboard [carpet] tube with a [home made] simple, objective lens made of ophthalmic glass.

Quite well corrected too, surprisingly enough. Which is more than you can say for me. :wink2:

  • Haha 1

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I realise I am very late to this thread but if you are still considering wheeling your dob out from a small shed type building I have  a friend who did the same but to prevent aligning every time he had the setup on tracks, like a train, with a stop at the point where he got the best view and was aligned.

i realise the alignment can't be absolutely precise every time doing it this way but it is food for thought...

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