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Anyone built an observatory in their roof?


Martyn_Bannister
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Hi there,

I was thinking, in one of my madder moments, wouldn't it be great if I could have a sliding door (like they have on the side of a white van) in the roof of my house?

If it wasn't actually raining, I could slide open the door, raise a platform from the bowels of the loft and observe away. If the sliding door was just under the ridge of the roof, it would afford a 360 degree view of the sky, the horizon formed by nearby houses and trees would be effectively lowered and it would all stow neatly back in, come the inevitable rain.

The platform would need to be big enough for me and the scope of course, and the sliding door would need to be weather tight.

An alternative would be a platform just big enough for the scope, and run everything by remote control from the lounge............

Anyone got there before me??????? :D

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Aha. That's a point :D

I'm a newbie, so forgive the dumb question, but what effect would the heat have? Is it atmospheric effects due to air currents, or is it change of temperature of the equipment?

I currently live in a new build, with 6" of high quality loft insulation on the loft floor. It's always a possibility to increase this, or replace with something a bit better. Being a new build, my garden is tiny and, of course, from the garden the house would cut off a large proportion of the sky. Observing from the ridge line of the roof would give me a much better view.

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It has been done before... just took a few mins to find a link...

Loft Observatory

Thanks. And I found an excellent document too :D

here

Very informative, and very useful. This has really set me thinking :) I like the VELUX route, since it is easily changed back to just being an attic window.

Edited by Martyn_Bannister
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Depending on your observing or imaging intentions you might have trouble getting stability from a suspended floor. This would affect imaging far more than visual observing. People go to great lengths to plant their scopes an big bases or buried pillars of concrete. My main mount stands on 3.5 tonnes.

I think that whatever you do with insulation the rising currents are likely to be an issue. But none the less the idea is interesting.

Olly

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It certainly won't be optimal for all the reasons people state; but if it is the difference between you using your telescope in non-optimal conditions, and not using your telescope at all; then it will do its job...

well said. I totally agree with that.

Do it if it's the ony way for you to use your scope regularly.

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Yes the heat inside the house will be a biggest problem to that.

Yes, several sources indicate that it's important to equalise the temperature of the observatory with that of the outside world well before trying to observe. This might be achievable with fans or a/c.

Another issue might be heat rising from hot roof tiles? In my house though, the slope of the roof facing away from the road outside (and hence where the VELUX would be placed) faces easterly, so it mainly shaded after noon. The other side is a different matter :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

I fancied this idea and after a few drinks ran it past my missus ... :hello2:

She said nope! Problem was that it was a bit of an own goal coz it got her thinking ..... I'm now slowly but surely working away on an attic conversion for an extra bedroom ....DOH!!! :blob10::confused::)

"We could use the extra space"

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I think the rest of the family might be a bit upset in having to forego the central heating in the winter as the heat rising from below would ruin your seeing. Interesting proposition though.

At Castle Yeti, they have to don wooly hats and large overcoats in winter anyhow, I'm damned if I'm heating all that space for those idle gits! Leaving lights on all over the place, watching 'TV' and eating EVERY day!

Build your obsy where ever it pleases you, and damn the torpedoes!!

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George Alcock discovered Comet Iras - Araki - Alcock whilst observing through double glazing from the top of his stairs .....so it is possible to do some remarkable observing from inside your house - well, it is if you are the quite extraordinary Alcock.

I think the rest of us better continue to go outside.

John

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  • 2 years later...

Tthis is an old thread but I thought I would add something to it as over the last week I have started to give serious thought to moving the observatory from the garden. We have a large attic and I installed leccy up there a while back. Looking at putting a large Velux in which will open in the centre and slide outwards, a room will be made for the observatory and another for the equipment, I will use the tripod rather than a pier. As this is still in the thought stage I will be contacting the Planning Officer to get info on what planning I need, if he says not possible then the matter is closed. Regarding the heat loss from the attic, I will be pushing in as much insulation as necessay on top of what is there and the rooms wili be as isolated from heat loss as much as possible.

Jim

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Unless you're in a conservation area or something like that I'm fairly sure you won't need planning permission at all for velux style windows (not even before they relaxed the rules a few years back). Building regs get interested if you want to put in a permanent staircase or anything like that though.

"It feels very cold in the house this evening."

"Yes dear. The forecast is for a clear sky, so I turned the heating off. I'll put the heater on in the observatory if you'd like to sit out there."

:D

James

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well I have taken the next step in seeing if an observatory in the attic is feasible, had a builder round this morning to check on the installation of a Velux window, all looks okay and he will quote me and I will take it from there. The trapdoor which is in the bathroom will be moved to a spare bedroom and a more modern one fitted, this will give me better access to the area the observatory is sited in. The actual arc of sky from the observatory will be the same as from the ground but will give me a better horizon above local trees. One thing that did come out of the meeting was the centre pivot window, this is capable of being removed quite easily, something I did not know about before so looking better. More to come, watch this space :)

Jim

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  • 2 years later...

Hi

Just trawling the pages on home observatories. Saw your comments and am interested about the velux option. I will be using a similar setup in an "attic" of a small shed with a concrete pier build up through. I am going up to the "second" floor, like you, to improve access for a better view. I have considered "surespan" sliding Windows but these can be expensive. How did you progress beyond your last thread where your builder advised that the centre pivot could be removed.

Thanks in anticipation.

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