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Advice on observatory siting next to light


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I am intending to build a roll off roof observatory over the summer but have an issue with a street light right next to the optimum site.

The local council have replaced the old sodium light with an LED one, then with prompting they fitted shields, but it still floods the patio I can build on.

My solution would be to make a raiseable 'screen' or 'shield' to cover most of the light whilst observing. Perhaps a fixed or hinged pole with some type of plate to cover the lamp area, or 2 poles with a winched up tarpaulin between them. I realise that whatever solution I use will block some of the sky however it will be to the NNE region.

So my questions are please:

  • Am I wasting my time putting an observatory right next to a light?
  • Has anyone done anything like this before and if so, what type of screen did they use?

I've attached a couple of pictures to show the area at day and night times.

I am looking at using an 8x8ft shed with pitched apex roof. 

The rough sketch (not to scale) on the day photo shows how the shed will be on the patio area and the roll-off will go to the right over the plants.  

site with shed sketch.jpg

20220524_000130.jpg

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Hi Duncan,

how about leaving the  north  side of the roof fixed so it can act as a shield. 

Can you use an octagonal shed or turn the shed so the fixed part of the roof is  towards the offending light. 

Robin

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Hi Robin, thanks for the input.

Leaving the North end fixed is certainly an option to help a bit however, I think the height and proximity of the lamp negates this.

It would need something of the same height as the lamp to block the light

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I have a similar problem. My street light is also at the NW corner. The only real difference in my layout is that my roof rolls away from the light.
I have some plywood panels that I fix to the walls of the shed once the roof is rolled off. I made slots out of 2x1 battens to fit them into. They interlock to give a bit more stability. They are a bit problematic with even just a little breeze. It’s not a perfect solution but it is at least usable. 
There is some more information here:

https://www.backyardastro.org/topic/2163-my-observatory/

Edit: not sure you’ll be able to follow that link. I’m away at the moment, will give some more info when I get back if you want. 

Edited by dwc
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How about setting two steel tubes into the ground near the lamp to mount flagpoles. You can string a large black piece of material between the flagpole halyards and hoist them up to lamp height. When you're done, lower the 'flag' and lift out the pole from the mounting tube. My wife's Girl Guide unit got a flagpole which is 5 metres tall, made from one metre sections that slot together. It can be assembled as a two, three, four or five metre tall pole.

EDIT - Alternatively, you could mount the two poles on a pivoting base, so each could be folded down along each fence line when not in use. Fold up to use, down to store which may save set up time.

Edited by ArmyAirForce
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3 hours ago, dwc said:

I have a similar problem. My street light is also at the NW corner. The only real difference in my layout is that my roof rolls away from the light.
I have some plywood panels that I fix to the walls of the shed once the roof is rolled off. I made slots out of 2x1 battens to fit them into. They interlock to give a bit more stability. They are a bit problematic with even just a little breeze. It’s not a perfect solution but it is at least usable. 
There is some more information here:

https://www.backyardastro.org/topic/2163-my-observatory/

Edit: not sure you’ll be able to follow that link. I’m away at the moment, will give some more info when I get back if you want. 

Thanks, the link worked great. That's a good solution although as you mention wind can be an issue.

It's nice to know other people have faced and solved the same issue, so I at least know it's worth moving forward

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50 minutes ago, ArmyAirForce said:

How about setting two steel tubes into the ground near the lamp to mount flagpoles. You can string a large black piece of material between the flagpole halyards and hoist them up to lamp height. When you're done, lower the 'flag' and lift out the pole from the mounting tube. My wife's Girl Guide unit got a flagpole which is 5 metres tall, made from one metre sections that slot together. It can be assembled as a two, three, four or five metre tall pole.

EDIT - Alternatively, you could mount the two poles on a pivoting base, so each could be folded down along each fence line when not in use. Fold up to use, down to store which may save set up time.

The two pole method with a hoist up 'shield' is top of my list of solutions.

Hinge up poles would be the easiest to deploy or even just leave them up all the time and fly a patriotic flag during the day :)

I've just checked .gov.uk website and there are no restrictions on the size of the flag, but any flagpole may not exceed 4.6 metres (15 feet) above ground level. That should be high enough to do the trick

It's also allowable to have 2 flag poles, so I could leave them permanently in place.

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I hang black polyester shower curtains from a PVC frame or a closet rod and they work pretty well.  However, that's at ground level or on my deck.  I've often thought that a double flagpole / mast solution could work well if I needed something higher. 

An added bonus is you could talk like a pirate as you hoisted your black "flag".  😉

 

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1 hour ago, Tomatobro said:

Tomato posted this picture which should give you some comfortDomecam.jpg.35641e4dd551b1cf360c27bd50cdb9ec.jpg

Wow, I've seen the images you get which makes them all the more impressive having that light next to you. 

Full steam ahead with observatory plans now !! :)

 

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55 minutes ago, jjohnson3803 said:

I hang black polyester shower curtains from a PVC frame or a closet rod and they work pretty well.  However, that's at ground level or on my deck.  I've often thought that a double flagpole / mast solution could work well if I needed something higher. 

An added bonus is you could talk like a pirate as you hoisted your black "flag".  😉

 

Thanks for the feedback, glad I'm not the only one with light issues and that I'm thinking along the right lines for solutions.

I've heard that dedicated observers wear an eye patch during the day and was told it's to enhance their dark adaptation. I think they might secretly be pirates :)

 

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