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Go Back   IceInSpace > Equipment > DIY Observatories

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  #1  
Old 12-07-2017, 01:12 PM
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AstralTraveller (David)
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How big and tall is your ror obs?

OK, I'm at the design concept stage of my obs. It will house a C-11 on a G-11 and be used for visual observing (sin, moon, planets) and videoing asteroid occultations. There is also a chance I could use a 15cm f/8 frac for visual variable star estimates, where the wide unvignetted fov would be an advantage.

I've mocked up an obs a the concrete pad with internal dimensions of 3m x 3.5m with the 'extra' 0.5m used for desks and storage. Having played with the scope in this footprint for a couple of nights it seems large enough for the 1-2 people who will commonly use it. I could possibly trim a couple of hundred mm off each dimension but I think that's risky. I could also go a little larger but that is more cost, more weight in the roof, more shading of the lawn and more view lost.

So, what size are other peoples observatories and how cosy or expansive do you find them?

The other dimension I have to decide on is roof height, but I think that sorts itself. I'm 188cm so I plan to have the underside of the roof 195cm above the floor so I can move around without damaging the rafters with my noggin. With the saddle of the G-11 1.5m above the floor I can observe at the zenith in some degree of comfort and it still fits under the roof in the park position, even while piggy backing a small scope. The end walls will affect low elevation viewing but that is only to the south, where Wollongong lights ruin viewing anyway, and to the north, where the house is in the way. Because the rollers sit under the roof the side walls (east and west) will be lower (perhaps 160-170cm) and should allow views to near the horizon.

My backyard is prone to flooding and the situation could easily get worse over the next decade or two. The water is unlikely to get very deep but I wouldn't be surprised to find 20cm of water flowing through my yard. Therefore I have to use a floating floor, not a concrete slab. I'd also like to have the scope (and floor!) as far off the ground as possible to improve my views towards the horizon. If I was only viewing/imaging DSOs and planets I wouldn't be too worried but asteroid occultations can occur basically anywhere in the sky and so the more sky I can see the higher my possible success rate. Has anyone else tried to put their observatory up on stilts or am I the only idiot/optimist?

Any and all comments welcome. Tell me I'm a fool before I find out the hard way.
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  #2  
Old 12-07-2017, 01:55 PM
glend (Glen)
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Ok here is what i did. My wall height is 1500mm, and i used a skillion roof with the high end on the pier end for scope clearance. My interior floor dimensions are 1800 x 2400mm and this provides enough room for my concrete pier mounted CGX and swing room for all of my scopes, plus i have a small workstation on the rear wall and can often stop the roof roll back to retain a roof section over the workstation. The height of my skillion roof peak was determined by the closed roof clearance required for my 10" f5 imaging newt, when opening the roof it is easy to release the RA clutch and swing the OTA out of the way.
Your wall height must be determined by the clearance you require to access the lowest altitude you would normally work from, and this can also be affected by trees in other yards, etc. As an imager, i don't work below 40 degrees, and this is enough to clear any trees on all but one side. Mock it up, or make a drawing. I personally think 1800 high walls are too high and you can easily duck your head to get through a 1500mm door opening. Build your pier footing first, as that determines every other placement. My pier is on continous pour of concrete from bottom of the footing to top of the pier and the cage bolt inserts, obviously with reo as required. Your pier height above your desired floor level is an important measurement if doing it this way. The pier extends up through (but does not touch) the obs floor, must be isolated.
My obs is build on treated pine stumps, this provides ventilation under the floor, reduces condensation due to cold slab effects, and prevents torrential rain run off from coming in the uphill door joint. My uphill step up into the obs is only about 200mm, which provides good bearer clearance and an air gap. My bearers are through bolted to the posts, flooring is tongue and groove ply structure floor which i sealed top and bottom before install. Make sure you seal any end grain. Equipment reaches ambient temperatures quickly. As my obs is on a slope, I also ran a trench around the obs and put sleeved ag pipe in for drainage to two pits below the obs. This keeps the ground dry around the footings and prevents water retention under the obs. I used 8 treated pine posts ( suitable for footings) to build on, each sunk to 600mm and concreted in place, with gravel drainage layer at the bottom of each hole.
Prior to putting flooring down i installed a double layer of weed mat on the ground and covered it with gravel, this prevents any growth below the obs and discourages varmits.

My obs is designed to be modular, ie each wall is an assembly, as is the roof and floor. I can break it down to move it if i ever have to, and it would all stack on a large box trailer for transport.

My obs has survived some pretty extreme weather events, including the big east coast low storm which hit it with heqvyvrain and sustained winds of over 100kph. Obviously good roof tie down design becomes important, as well as wall bracing and cross bracing at the corners.

My build thread is still in the Obs forum section if you want to check the photos. Have fun,

But, its your obs so make it the way you want.

Last edited by glend; 12-07-2017 at 02:36 PM.
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  #3  
Old 12-07-2017, 02:27 PM
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jenchris (Jennifer)
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If you're going to be observing sin, make sure the sinners can't see you.
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  #4  
Old 12-07-2017, 02:41 PM
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LewisM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AstralTraveller View Post
OK, I'm at the design concept stage of my obs. It will house a C-11 on a G-11 and be used for visual observing (sin, moon, planets)
I believe this type of observation is illegal in most jurisdictions, unless the parties consent.

It may also be a religious taboo

My observatory consists of bringing my scope out of the house and back inside the house every time so I have nothing constructive (pun intended) to offer.

Good luck
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  #5  
Old 13-07-2017, 06:57 AM
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Marke (Mark)
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Mine is 2.5m x 3.5m x 1.9m also I think council only allows up to 3 square m with out approval if I'm not mistaken.
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  #6  
Old 13-07-2017, 07:20 AM
glend (Glen)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marke View Post
Mine is 2.5m x 3.5m x 1.9m also I think council only allows up to 3 square m with out approval if I'm not mistaken.
Depends on the Council. There is also a height restriction, 3m in my area for shed related buildings that do not require Council approval. Check your Council website, they usually have info online. Don't call them and ask! Stay under the limits and you will be fine.
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  #7  
Old 13-07-2017, 10:17 AM
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AstralTraveller (David)
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my sin - no proofreading

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenchris View Post
If you're going to be observing sin, make sure the sinners can't see you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by LewisM View Post
I believe this type of observation is illegal in most jurisdictions, unless the parties consent.

It may also be a religious taboo
Given the demographics of my neighborhood the only sin likely to be observed is raiding the cookie jar! I'm nearly retired and I'm the young pup.

I'm reminded of a supposed misprint in a church newsletter. "Carols by candlelight will be held next Saturday evening in the park opposite the church, so bring a blanket and be ready to sin!"
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  #8  
Old 13-07-2017, 10:44 AM
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tempestwizz (Brian)
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My ror obs is roughly 3 by 6 metres, and is split in half to make a 'control' area and storage alongside the viewing area. The gabled roof of the control room is slightly lower than the viewing room roof. This allows the viewing room roof to roll back over the control room roof on garage door tracking. The garage door track in the viewing room which supports the centre of the moving gable section, is designed to easily lift out thereby giving clear view of the sky. The track is simply dropped back into a support point at either end to allow the roof to close back over the viewing area again. This saves footprint of the overall structure.
I also wanted extra viewing height to get above local obstacles. I made my concrete pier somewhat taller and wider than most. Set in the obligatory cubic metre of concrete at the base. The whole obs is on a concrete slab, but the viewing area floor is raised inside.(I go up three steps). While the pier is a bit longer out of the ground, because of a larger diameter and plenty of rebar inside, it is still very stable.
My one mistake was that I built the dimensions to the equipment I had at that time. I have since upgraded from an EM200 Mount to a PMX. The paramount is physically taller than the Tak and made it much closer to the roof when closed. I now need to park the scope appropriately before I can close the roof.
I should add, this refers to my Canberra obs. Still working on one for Laos.
Hope this helpful.
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  #9  
Old 14-07-2017, 07:01 PM
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cometcatcher (Kevin)
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My ror obs has 1500mm high walls and is 2.4 x 2.4 metres square. It houses a 10" F4 newt. The roof is angled 21.5 degrees from memory. I don't hit my head on it being higher at the apex. I DO hit my head on the outrigger rails though!
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  #10  
Old 15-07-2017, 08:26 PM
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astronobob (Bob)
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I built a short stumpy solid pier - then put my largest rig on & measured it, plus any head-room, but rig was taller, so all good !

That was the guide to how high I went ?
Also keeping the walls as short as possible, incase of any low bright Comets, but that might not be for you

Just my 'bobs' worth
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  #11  
Old 18-07-2017, 07:47 PM
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AstralTraveller (David)
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Thanks for the replies and sorry for letting he thread go cold, it's a bad habit I must get ride of.

It seems that perhaps I could have a slightly smaller building. However the replies are not always clear as to whether the scope is used for imaging or visual observing. You need a lot less room around an imaging rig than you do for visual observing. I've also taken the point that future-proofing the obs is a good idea and slightly too big now is better than slightly too small later.

I recall someone commenting, ruefully, about the number of times he had hit his head on the low door to his obs. I suppose the door should either be tall enough or way too low - having it 50mm too low is a recipe for a scalping. Personally I'll opt for 'tall enough', especially as I think I can do it without losing any sky. However I will need to keep the side wall height down and the idea of having a pitched roof is interesting. I'm not looking at the walls as just something that gets in the way, they also have a positive function. They need to act as a light shield and a wind break. Minimising stray light is another argument for raising the observatory slightly. If I could have the top of the walls above the offending lights it would be great but I doubt I can manage that. I expect I'll have some sort of pop-up light shields in a couple of directions.

Anyway, I'll continue reading and planning.
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  #12  
Old 24-07-2017, 06:15 PM
issdaol (Phil)
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Mine is 4m x 4m with 2.1m high wall and built wind rated for my area.

I went with 2.1m because I wanted everything to be fully protected by walls and easy standing and headroom clearance.

Pier is in the centre and is about 1200 high so after the Mount on top and the scope mounted up I can get down quite low for good visuals.
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  #13  
Old 25-07-2017, 07:25 PM
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el_draco (Rom)
Politically incorrect.

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Mine is located on my 11ha dark sky site at 500m Alt. Its about 2/3 finished now and I expect to be done before Summer this year. Its got 16.0 sqm of observing floor and a 20 sqm warm room. The walls are 2.1m high.... I could effectively LIVE IN IT!
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  #14  
Old 25-07-2017, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LewisM View Post
I believe this type of observation is illegal in most jurisdictions, unless the parties consent.

It may also be a religious taboo
They'd never know I was looking. I reckon I can see houses 10 km away. Alas, what I am likely to see if I wasted my time doing this... would probably burn my eyes out
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  #15  
Old 28-07-2017, 09:56 PM
Mckechg (Grant)
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Mine is about 5 x 3M

Two piers at 1200mm high

Photo for illustration
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  #16  
Old 29-07-2017, 10:58 AM
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Mine is 4m X 3.5m with split roofs to North and South. South roof holds my 4 X 310kw panels and when retracted forms a .5m roof over my PC desk and bench.

I have a 1100mm Pegasus pier dead centre at 3.5m x 3.5m inside.

My walls are 2.1m but my rig always has to be parked horizontal as I am running 3 X OTAs on my mount.

Stefan
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Last edited by stefang; 29-07-2017 at 12:43 PM.
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  #17  
Old 31-07-2017, 12:29 PM
I.C.D (Ian)
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Mine is 3mx3mx2m with a pitch roof split in the middle , the telescope is mounted on pier separate to the floor I only wish I had made the walls 1.8m instead of 2 m

Ian
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  #18  
Old 01-08-2017, 01:50 PM
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strongmanmike (Michael)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stefang View Post
Mine is 4m X 3.5m with split roofs to North and South. South roof holds my 4 X 310kw panels and when retracted forms a .5m roof over my PC desk and bench.

I have a 1100mm Pegasus pier dead centre at 3.5m x 3.5m inside.

My walls are 2.1m but my rig always has to be parked horizontal as I am running 3 X OTAs on my mount.

Stefan
..oooooh! yeh! look at that mount
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  #19  
Old 03-08-2017, 01:45 PM
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Well look who the cat dragged in at SPSP 2017.

I'm pretty sure I have another image somewhere also where you are violating my mount Mike.

Squeal like a NEQ6 baby....Squeal.
sG
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  #20  
Old 04-08-2017, 12:43 PM
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Well look who the cat dragged in at SPSP 2017.

I'm pretty sure I have another image somewhere also where you are violating my mount Mike.

Squeal like a NEQ6 baby....Squeal.
sG
Man oh man, will you look at that. It was clear and sunny until those three congregated in an observatory.
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