It's been a while since I posted anything on IIS ... I just had to share the tragic news of my observatory. We had a freak thunderstorm through our valley 2 weeks ago and what must have been a small tornado hit my obs side on from the north ( not usual direction for strong winds here ) and certainly not an ordinary storm ... it was a very scary event with howling winds and driving, horizontal rain that was so strong it manage to flood through my closed windows and sliding door which are underneath a 3 metre verandah. I have never experienced such a storm in all my years on this planet. The lady who lives across the road from me also suffered damage in that her patio roof ended up on top of her house roof ... so that gives you an idea of the ferocity of the wind that must have blasted through during the thunder and continuos lightning which lasted for around 45 minutes ... it dumped between 1 and 2 inches ... I say that because there was an inch in my gauge but as the rain was horizontal a lot of it wouldn't have entered the measuring vessel I suspect and there were reports of 2 inches and more in the area being dumped in 15 minutes
I didn't know anything had happened to the observatory 'till I looked through my kitchen window and saw a flash of white in a lightning strike ... waited for another strike and saw that the white flash was the roof of my obs at almost 90 degress to the ground, still connected to the walls but not where it should have been. The whole structure was twisted and bent over with concrete paving slabs hanging from the bottom of the walls of the shed ... see photos attached.
Anyway now all I have is a 3x2 metre slabbed area where my obs used to be. It took virtually all the following day to dismantle the twisted mess sheet by sheet, screw by screw. We had no power for about 14 hours as well and my cordless screw driver had very little power in it's battery. The wall and roof sheets are reusable, in fact the roof was completely in tact and in place with it's 10 padlocks holding firm but the steel framing and roof runners are bent and useless and heading to the tip.
The good news was that my eq6 pro mount and accessories ( dew heater, power for CCD and power transformer for the mount ) were all fine ( I always kept a heavy duty plastic bag over them in the obs ) also my computer desk and chair and even the computer itself still works apart from the old dial up modem card that must have got a bit too wet and an old DELL mouse I have out there. So I guess you could say the obs did it's job when the chips were down.
Needless to say if I rebuild up here it will be on a poured concrete slab and will have a very substantial steel tube frame or perhaps I'll go for a local stone observatory I have plenty of rocks on my land and a wheel barrow.
So who amongst us still doesn't believe in global warming
Ain't life just grand ....
I guess I'll be doing things the old way out in the cold on the slabs for a while when I can get enthused again.
p.s. For those who don't know what it looked like before I just added an old photo from when it was first rebuilt at my Dark Sky home