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Would I Be Mad To...


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Hi all

While I was out in my back garden last time I was frustrated by trees to the south that blocked a good view. It wasn't much, just the tops stopped me seeing such objects as M22 and M25. Then I looked at the concrete shed that sits close to the back door and I had a thought, what if I put the dob up there?

The shed has a solid concrete roof, it measures about seven feet by three feet and is eight feet high.

My brother in law is a metal fabricator, so it would be no trouble to get a safety rail and ladder built to get me onto the roof.

My dob is a 12" model, so it's heavy, so if I decide to go down this route this will be a one off move, it will be up there for some time.

I have listed some pros and cons:

Pro: Improved southerly views.

Easier to block out the street lights.

Con: At risk from the elements, especially high winds

A potential target for ne'er do wells, it will be easily visible.

It's an Intelliscope and concern about the electronics.

The neighbours calling the police.

I will lose the western sky, not that I see much of it.

For the improved southerly views of summer and winter, will it be worth the effort?

Any thoughts greated appreciated.

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I think youve probably answered most of the questions yourself. Security is going to be your biggest problem. Is your garden fairly secure? Exposure to elements is another youve identified, cold shouldnt be a problem but daily warming then cooling especially in summer can play havoc with the optics with formation of dew. Also consider insect ingress! I know spiders love to make nests inside scopes!

Neighbours shouldnt be a problem if you talk them through your plans (as long as its not right outside or opposite some pretty neighbours window!) Health and safety shouldnt really be a problem either as long as you have some kind of rail round the edge, i know ive fallen foul of this when engrossed with the moon recently i stumbled over the hole left by the washing line post and ended up crashing into the flower bed head first! Check with your local council about the building regs for your area, some can be twitchy with anything that drastically changes the skyline for neighbours.

Consider if this is all necessary in the first place, can you chop the top 5 foot off the trees? The western sky will eventually move around so you can see it if you can wait that long! The alternative i suppose is a garden based lockable observatory

Hope ive helped

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I've been trying to talk myself out of it, and you've helped.

Cutting the trees down is not an option, I would have to do some climbing, at night, with a chainsaw, I don't think so.:)

There is nothing too difficult about the garden security, hop over the back gate and you're in, just watch out for the viscious :D.

I guess those southern delights will have to wait for those rare occaisons when I'm out in the countryside.

Thanks for the comments.

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That N11 sure spoils the view south of us,Paul. The trees are the least of your worries. Dont be going up on the roof if the wind is anything like it was today. My clothes line was taken out and my plastic greenhouse is down the end of the garden.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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I'd say give it a go! Got to be worth trying it and seeing before you write it off completely? Have a session up there one night (just don't fall off, please!) and see how you go. Then you can worry about steps and rails and neighbours.

If it a concrete roof, you might be able to bodge some sort of motorcycle lock thru a set in ring to secure your scope, or possibly even a small out door store (metal/plastic/wood) screwed into the roof to secure and protect the scope?

Failing that, there are companies that do weather proof covers. A few bungy cords and it would survive the worst. You'll get as many insects/arachnids inside an old shed as you will out in the open.

Never say never!

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I think concrete has a low specific heat capacity so it will cool very quickly actually.

Its actually the opposite. Concrete retains heat very well and does cause heat thermals to rise in front of the scope. This is my own experience. I have now moved to observing from the lawn.

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I walked around the back area last night and got a view of the shed from various angles, especially the spot where the younger folk hang out, and I might have come up with a solution to the security situation. There would be enough room on the roof to plant some pots with plants that would act as a blind as well as a screen for the streetlights. They would only have to be on two sides with the house providing protection from the third side.

With regards to the scope protection I was thinking that I could contruct a container of decking timber covered with torch on felt, this could be placed on runners and slide off the scope, there is room, if I steal a little of the neighbour's roof as well, he wouldn't mind. With the scope parked in the horizontal position this would not be a large structure, about a metre and a half long and a metre square on the side, and there would be numerous ways to secure it against the wind.

I'm suddenly getting excited about this again.

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Its actually the opposite. Concrete retains heat very well and does cause heat thermals to rise in front of the scope. This is my own experience. I have now moved to observing from the lawn.

Oh yeah, far out, you're right. It is a bit higher than soil. Obviously not had enough coffee when I posted that. :o

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I don't know if it will be a problem,but you might want to just check with your council and make sure that no alterations you make will fall under requiring planning permission.

All it takes is one person locally to spot it and decide it either bothers them or they are to do their 'civic duty' and report it. It'll be a painful experience if you don't check and have to dismantle it all due to some minor violation.

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