View Full Version here: : My New Observatory begins
First of all, to anybody that builds an observatory it is a compromise. Mine is more compromised than most. I have a large tree that blocks my new western view.
That said I am more than willing to live with it just to have the convienence of a roof that I have but to push a button to open and close the roof and sleep/wake up the mount. I want a warm room and a 'scope' room.
I live in a battleaxe block near the centre of Bathurst. I did not have the room to build a stand alone observatory. What I had availiable was a 2 metre alley between 2 sheds. This is my canvas.
Pics of the alley.
Normally, you start at the foundations and work up from there.... Unfortunetly I was forced to work from the roof down, due to the roof being supported by the existing garages, I had to start there.
I wanted to something different for the sliding roof. Scratching my head looking through my shed to see what materials I had, I came across some laminated glass sitting in the corner. Ran a tape over it and and scratched my head some more and came up in my head a steel frame and glass cladding.
Here is the roof frame half complete. Note lack of collar ties in the the truss section. I want the roof to clear the scope when it is at its highest point so I never have to worry about stowing the scope in its lowest position to get roof clearance. The plan is that the roof can shut when the mount is in any position and the roof will not hit the ota's. The roof will be remotely controlled and will have lots of electronic goodies/sensors controlling it.
27-02-2009, 11:25 PM
This looks interesting. Watching and waiting. Good luck with the project.
27-02-2009, 11:32 PM
Is this the world's thinnest observatory? :lol:
28-02-2009, 12:14 AM
you should transform one of the sheds ;)
Yes Mike, Its an incentive to never put on weight!:)
As to transforming one of the sheds..... When I built the sheds I wish I had been into astronomy then, things may of been different.
The shed cosest to the house would have been bad, everything east of the zenith would have been blocked, and the other shed is to be subdivided into another property.
Here are the pics of the roof in place on the sectional garage door runners, forgot when I built the sheds that one was 40mm higher than the other, so I got a bit of a suprise when it came to level the tracks, there was just enough adjustment.
I lifted the frame into place and got it running and I had my big brother come over and help me lift up the glass, unfortunetly one of the glass panels got cracked in the process, only on one side of the laminate and mostly under the diagonal brace, so it is still usable. It still runs like a charm with the weight of the glass, so I'm happy.
28-02-2009, 08:40 AM
starting to take shape Bert. What a good use of otherwise wasted space between the sheds.
What size and type of scope is going in?
The Eq6, Vixen ed103 widefield, vixen ed80 refractor guidescope and a vc200 that I pick up today. YYAAAAAY. I'm still working out how to get all three mounted though.
Today the pier is to be welded up.
I got the the concrete pad in yesterday, its 1250mm deep, 300round, flared at the top to make a 600x600 pad at the top, reinforced with f82 mesh welded together all the way down, and I forgot to tack a pic of the hole. The best part was getting the concrete, I went to see the concrete company as I had done a large pour the previous day and asked for the 'leftovers' from a pour that had ordered too much concrete. They had some leftover yesterday and it was enough to fill the whole pier and it cost me a case of beer. I just love brewed economics!
28-02-2009, 09:10 AM
It's great when things work out the way you like them to.:thumbsup:
28-02-2009, 09:12 AM
I hope I'm not too late Brett to suggest: Did you put any conduits
in the slab for cabling?!!!!!
You can never have too many conduits!
Even if you never use them...throw as many in as you can.
It is SOOOOO handy having all your cables that run from a pier
over to a PC or mains etc out of harms (tripping) way!.
Only put the pier pad in, not the the warm room slab. The telescope room floor is to be raised 900 of the ground height, so the cables can be run under the suspended floor. Thanks for the tip though, I'm still tossing up wheather to run the cables inside the pier or on the outside, so if anyone has a reason one way or another....
The top height of the pier is 2 metres, so it's quite a large pier. Its now half completed, hopefully finished tomorrow.
Ok, I've been alittle slack on posting the progress.
The pier is in, the warm room roof is on and I am getting some where and its staring to feel tlike this is really happening!
I really need some inspiration for a name for the observatory... suggestions would be very welcome!
These photos are of the work done over the last couple of weeks.
Cant wait to get it enclosed and get some scopes in.
Gee Brett, don't you and Jasmin look nice in your profile pic, with that amazing 10" LX-200. Must have been an amazing photographer that took the photo!
25-03-2009, 07:40 AM
Why not name it " The Sandwich Observatory " :lol:
25-03-2009, 08:39 AM
It's a kin to a Transit Observatory!!;)
Nice progress and you can only make do with what you've got, so 10/10 for compromise :thumbsup::thumbsup:
Nice welding job too!:thumbsup: with those images from above it's not that narrow! You just need to be selective on your viewing list, that's all.
25-03-2009, 01:18 PM
Just curious, do the roofs of the adjacent sheds affect the seeing?
Thanks for comments everyone.
Thunder: I havent used the scope in there yet. Maybe it will affect a couple of hours after the sun has gone down in summer, that said I do not think it will have too much affect.
Red: Yes, I will have to plan my imaging runs.... part of the fun of astronomy.
Steven: The photographer is a pretty good astrophotographer too.;)
The lx200 looks good but the optics are a little off!:P
25-03-2009, 06:46 PM
Looks great Brett.
It's obvious you have planned things very well.
I wish I had a warm room immediately adjacent the scope.
I can control my scope and image from inside but to set up
usually means walking a half marathon between the dome
and house about 20 times to tweak stuff.
Closing sliding doors etc at 2am sets off every dog in the area :)
How about 'Three Peaks Observatory'...you have Twin Peaks and
Kitt Peak :)
Keep the pics coming!
I am in!!!
Yes I have brought in the storm clouds. Been putting a lot of time to get it finished. Getting pretty comfortable.
Really putting in a lot of effort to get things done right, cause I know I'm not going to be pulling the scope down everyday. Got eqmod working and working on polar alignment, when I can see the sky.
Keep the name suggestions coming...
10-04-2009, 08:02 PM
Very smick indeed, love it. When you say the roof is remotely controlled, I seriously hope you stick a timer (PLC?) and rain sensor on it, would be a shame not to, so you can start it up, go to bed and get lots of no-pain much-sleep megadata.
10-04-2009, 08:13 PM
wow looks pretty darn good
10-04-2009, 08:18 PM
Looking good, Brett!:thumbsup:
Fred re automation.
I was given By Chamberlain/merlin (thanks Andrew) a Prototype sectional door motor to motorise the roof. Chamberlain makes HALF the garage door motors in the world and I use their products almost exclusively, so I'm pretty stoked. Battery back up, belt not chain drive, fully enclosed drive shaft, dc soft start and 3/4 hp, which is massive!
I have not installed it yet its a little bigger than I had planned and 115v(I'll be running on battery anyway). Thats a project thats a few weeks away, and yep will be looking at making a few sensors and toys.
10-04-2009, 08:43 PM
Looks great Brett - wish I had a setup like that.
10-04-2009, 09:52 PM
Looks fantastic Brett, even comfy.
Even comes with a maltese terrior, glass of champers and padded walls for when it all gets too much!
11-04-2009, 09:22 AM
Great progress Brett! Can you build one for me please? ;)
Very nice job Brett, that's what I call observing in comfort.
Finally got around to the automation. I have been working too much on other peoples observatories! I really put a lot of thought and development time into the automation side of it.
The controller is ascom compatible and can control any motorised roof with 12 to 24v (1 or 2 motors) dc motors even when they have to be synchronised, (A featurs I used on Doomsayers observatory). Its usb controlled, has sensitivity in case the roofs get jammed/obstructed (yes it does work after somebody I know closed a roof on an rcos), it has a wireless rolling code remote control for opening and closing, inputs for cloud/rain sensors, inbuilt diagnostics, soft start and finish all on a sesame seed bun! It can be setup to close the roof on loss of usb or computer control and can be fitted with battery backup but I havent gone to the bother on my particular application.
Im loving that I now can leave the scope running at night set an alarm, close it by remote from bed (yeah, yeah I should get ccdap to do it) and know that its all safe.
The motor I used is a sectional door motor that was 110v so I didnt mind hacking out all the electronics and just use the motor and gearbox inside. It does the trick nicely as the roof is very smooth running.
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