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Another remotely controlled, roll off roof imaging observatory

Obi Wan Ken00bi

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Out in a field with oh so cold feet.
The Skywatcher Esprit, is all that's receiving some heat.
This experience just doesn't feel right.
And after another sleepless night....
I'm giving up,
I really tried.


To increase my imaging time and decrease my morning moodiness, I've pulled the trigger and decided it's time to build a remotely controlled imaging observatory. It will be placed in a Bortle class 4 location (not the best, but in my dad's garden, so free access to electricity, land and WiFi! Plus a 'meat' robot on site to help if something gets stuck.

The design is very compact, because no human will be in the observatory, although it will be fully insulated to keep most moisture out. It's also big enough to be upgraded to a 9.25 Edge HD in the future once I run out of narrowband nebula;s to perfect. Next to the observatory part will be my dad's new shed. The sliding system is based on a garage door rail system, that is widely available and will lock the roof in all but the desired diretions of movement. In theory....

The observatory will house my Esprit 100ED on a EQ6R pro, with an ASI1600mm pro +7 filters, motor focuser, guidescope+cam and dew heaters. It will be operated by a Windows10 Intel NUC controlled via Teamviewer and N.I.N.A. The roof will open with an Arduino controlled electric gate opener system and the Arduino can also turn on the power for the entire system through 6 relays (apart from the NUC which is always on). Furthermore I've made a heated all sky camera box based on a new ASI120MC + 150 degree lens and a WiFi security webcam to provide a stand alone live feed.

We have already started construction last week, I'll share the pictures later!

Maybe this thread will inspire some people how (not) to do it :p 


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Last week, the outside wall was build, along with the fixed roof part. I have also prepared the 2 beams holding up the rolling roof by attaching 4 wheels to each beam. I've added metal plates to both ends of the shafts, so it should be really solid and not put direct force on the wood itself. Also the pier (bought second hand for 10 pound!) is nicely painted.

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That's idd ventilation, but it's for the wood storage area of the building, so not the observatory part (that is closed off and insulated).

I'm using Solidworks 2011 (I still have a license for that from my old company).

More updates: the roof now rolls off!! Great milestone, since me and my dad were quite worried whether the system would work!




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Another weekend of diy and we’ve installed the electric fence engine which can now automatically open the roof! What a victory for me and my dad (one that deserves beer). It can also be operated via Arduino and the internet to be fully remote 😁

The next step is making everything water tight and insulating the roof. 

Telescope will be placed come summer. 


Edited by Obi Wan Ken00bi
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