Go Back   IceInSpace > Equipment > DIY Observatories

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread
  #1  
Old 12-05-2022, 09:11 AM
RugbyRene (Rene)
Registered User

RugbyRene is offline
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Sydney
Posts: 285
Any ideas for a micro observatory?

Hi all,

I'm looking to build myself an observatory but this one is a bit different. I'm space challenged where I live but have found a spot where I'll be putting a pier. I'd like to build an enclosure that covers either the pier and mount/scope, or just the mount/scope (leaving the pier exposed).

I can't build a shed or any similarly sized structure due my aforementioned space constraints.

So I was wondering if other people here are in a similar situation and what they have done.

My mount is a SW AZEQ6
Scope is a SW Esprit 100ED

I'm happy to remove the scope and just have a cover for the mount and pier.

Cheers

Rene
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 12-05-2022, 09:49 AM
JA
.....

JA is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 2,692
Hi R,

Given your space constraints you could consider a large inverted plastic bin, with the mount and part of the pier sealed inside the bin, wrapped in a towel or two. I would choose an opaque white bin and/or use reflective foil on the outside to help reduce heat somewhat and maybe even use some insulation on the inside surface of the bin. Keep the bin as small as possible to limit the amount of entrapped air and hence water vapour. If you wanted to go crazy you could even do something to limit heat conduction via the pier to the mount and/or use a double walled bin construction in conjunction with the previously mentioned reflective foil.

Also ensure the pier is on/over a concrete slab, rather than over grass so as to limit localised moisture / humidity.

The goal should be to achieve as stable an environment as possible inside the enclosure, free from water and extremes of high and low temperature and moisture so as maintain the service life of electronics, rolling/sliding surfaces, lubricants and minimize corrosion.

Best
JA

Last edited by JA; 12-05-2022 at 10:11 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 12-05-2022, 01:51 PM
mura_gadi's Avatar
mura_gadi (Steve)
SpeakingB4Thinking

mura_gadi is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Canberra
Posts: 678
Hi,

I setup between two garden beds, inset four PVC pipe in the edge of the garden beds(or into the ground with caps) and used a set of broom handles as poles. Cheap 2nd hand sheets stapled to the poles, and you can erect some walls quickly. Its fast, light way to setup a block for the neighbourhood lighting. Not too heavy fabric as they need to dry upright in the garage after a dew etc.

Not really a pull down obs', but does help a lot with my suburb viewing. (single storey homes and street lights)
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 12-05-2022, 02:09 PM
Tinderboxsky's Avatar
Tinderboxsky (Steve)
I can see clearly now ...

Tinderboxsky is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Kingston TAS
Posts: 882
Hi Rene,

I built just the solution you are looking for. See my thread:

https://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/...d.php?t=176146

Hopefully this may give you some ideas. Let me know if you would like any additional information.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 12-05-2022, 10:01 PM
mswhin63's Avatar
mswhin63 (Malcolm)
Registered User

mswhin63 is offline
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Para Hills, South Australia
Posts: 3,614
I built my second iteration of a fully enclosed system. I was a lot more challenged in that the only location was on the grass of my rental home.

The final version I expect will be made of fibreglass.

It is lockable as well as waterproof as is. Fibreglass will be long-living.
It has been set up internally for positive air pressure with an air gap between the outer layer and inner layer. I have an input air circulation port underneath but am in no hurry to develop a cooling system as winter is coming.

I was planning to use my wife's business to sell these, but I haven't done any final determination as yet.
Attached Thumbnails
Click for full-size image (20220409_145845.jpg)
194.6 KB94 views
Click for full-size image (20220404_163530.jpg)
200.6 KB77 views
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 14-05-2022, 09:06 AM
OzEclipse's Avatar
OzEclipse (Joe Cali)
Registered User

OzEclipse is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Young Hilltops LGA, Australia
Posts: 1,014
Many years ago I built such a structure to hold mount without OTA. I was offered the opportunity to bolt down a pier at Arthur Page's then Mt Tamborine observatory. I built a lightweight box frame out of 50x50mm Oregon pine about 700x700x1600mm(h). I then ordered 4 pieces of 22 gauge galvanised iron from a sheet metal shop. each piece was the size of the side of the structure but each had 90 deg fold on the edge with a 50mm strip on the fold. These returns were all overlapped to prevent ingress of water at the corners and added a lot of strength and stiffness to the structure. One side was removable and the frame at the base on that side was on a hinge with a shed bolt catch.

The sheet metal shop made me a square cap for the structure with soldered seams and 50mm vertical sides. It was a little oversize allowing the removable side sheet to be inserted and removed from under the cap. I made the whole thing as an 18 yo with minimal construction skills. Mt Tamborine was a high rainfall zone, the structure kept the scope dry. Two loxons were drilled into the slab and two 1/2" bolts held the whole structure down in the face of sometimes very high winds. There were two substantial handles on the sides which made it easier to drag off and away from the mount. Two if the cross braces were at "observing seat height." I had a shelf I could insert in there and sit inside it, shielded from the wind during hours of manual guiding that was an unavoidable part of AP in the early 1980's. In the 2nd photo you can see it with shelves inserted.

Were I to build it today, I'd use much lighter weight aluminium siding or fence panels, readily available and cheap.

Joe Cali
Attached Thumbnails
Click for full-size image (IMG_0287-1.jpg)
164.9 KB34 views
Click for full-size image (IMG_0287-2.jpg)
184.8 KB28 views

Last edited by OzEclipse; 20-05-2022 at 03:03 PM. Reason: added photos
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 14-05-2022, 10:14 AM
OzEclipse's Avatar
OzEclipse (Joe Cali)
Registered User

OzEclipse is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Young Hilltops LGA, Australia
Posts: 1,014
Quote:
Originally Posted by mswhin63 View Post
I built my second iteration of a fully enclosed system. I was a lot more challenged in that the only location was on the grass of my rental home.

The final version I expect will be made of fibreglass.

It is lockable as well as waterproof as is. Fibreglass will be long-living.
It has been set up internally for positive air pressure with an air gap between the outer layer and inner layer. I have an input air circulation port underneath but am in no hurry to develop a cooling system as winter is coming.

I was planning to use my wife's business to sell these, but I haven't done any final determination as yet.
Hi Malcolm,
Looks like an excellent design. It also looks like a very sheltered location.

The only problem I see is that the cover is attached to the mount. If it gets bumped, the mount moves and you lose polar alignment. Further, there is no way to protect or stabilise it from high winds which could blow the whole thing over.

In your final commercialised version, you should consider including anchor points so that the cover can be held down to the ground with guy ropes or steel cables. Putting tension on these cables could also affect polar alignment but better that than a blow-over.

This is a video of a blow over with only a soft cover over the scope.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vflg...el=DanBartlett

Joe Cali
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 14-05-2022, 02:06 PM
mswhin63's Avatar
mswhin63 (Malcolm)
Registered User

mswhin63 is offline
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Para Hills, South Australia
Posts: 3,614
Hi Joe,

This has already been considered and is an easy addition. I do live in a fairly sheltered position and already in this configuration, it has survived without flinching at 90kph winds, but obviously, the level of the wind in my location would have dropped at the scope.

I decided not to put them in at this point, I want to leave that and get some measurements done first and consider the location of mounting options.

A job in my past before doing what I do now was antenna mast installation up to 60 metres in height. I learnt how hard they can fall when the supports fail.

My design methodology at this time is iterative (Elon Musk's method "Crash and Burn") and when I get all my prototype projects complete, I hope to concentrate on full System Engineering Design work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OzEclipse View Post
Hi Malcolm,
Looks like an excellent design. It also looks like a very sheltered location.

The only problem I see is that the cover is attached to the mount. If it gets bumped, the mount moves and you lose polar alignment. Further, there is no way to protect or stabilise it from high winds which could blow the whole thing over.

In your final commercialised version, you should consider including anchor points so that the cover can be held down to the ground with guy ropes or steel cables. Putting tension on these cables could also affect polar alignment but better that than a blow-over.

Joe Cali
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 15-05-2022, 08:59 AM
AstroApprentice (Jason)
Registered User

AstroApprentice is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 339
Miniature astrodome

A couple of years ago I talked to Owen of Sirius Domes about a mini dome. At the time, he was thinking about making the Miniature Astrodome that was designed (see pic), and from memory, never manufactured. He said the structure would be much cheaper than a full size dome, but feared the required motors/controllers etc needed for automation would be as much as for a full dome, likely deterring buyers. So he shelved the idea. You could talk to him about the simpler, non-automated fibreglass box design…
Attached Thumbnails
Click for full-size image (9BD0D388-8008-4E8A-B1F2-573F57068800.jpg)
51.8 KB31 views
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 15-05-2022, 11:39 AM
mswhin63's Avatar
mswhin63 (Malcolm)
Registered User

mswhin63 is offline
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Para Hills, South Australia
Posts: 3,614
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstroApprentice View Post
A couple of years ago I talked to Owen of Sirius Domes about a mini dome. At the time, he was thinking about making the Miniature Astrodome that was designed (see pic), and from memory, never manufactured. He said the structure would be much cheaper than a full size dome, but feared the required motors/controllers etc needed for automation would be as much as for a full dome, likely deterring buyers. So he shelved the idea. You could talk to him about the simpler, non-automated fibreglass box designů
Nice design, I would do something like this, but mine is designed as I live in a rental property and am limited on what I can build on. The grass is still growing which is the primary reason for my design.

Next time, either buy a home and land or rent a place that has paving.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 15-05-2022, 02:56 PM
Boozlefoot
Registered User

Boozlefoot is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 320
I've been through the "obs mill", and after years of deliberation have opted for a "pier garden", with a dehumidified and wood heated warm room within elect cable distance of my 3 piers, and a concrete ramp to wheel out the big fellas. I find proprietary obs somewhat cold and cramped anyway. Having said that, obs are very much a personal preference thing. As for the mini dome, my idea when considering same was for a simple hatch/box on a rotating turret. Doesn't have to be round, and you can "hinge" same with a prop system at varying openings if you don't want to open the aperture fully. Keep it small enough to fit on a box trailer in parts if you are in the situation of possible future moves. Think outside the box! Employ the KISS principle. Think of the 2.4m cut sizes for timber - much cheaper/available. The tilting hatch is good as it doesn't have seams near the zenith, avoiding drips on your gear.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 15-05-2022, 08:02 PM
AstroApprentice (Jason)
Registered User

AstroApprentice is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 339
Mini mount

When I was thinking about a mini-obs, I also considered cutting down a tripod or using a very short pier to simplify the obs structure. Avalon have since built a mini tripod, which would be ideal for a mini-obs, unless tripod height is needed due to viewing obstacles.
Attached Thumbnails
Click for full-size image (8E6FC39A-6A80-49F1-800F-AA74E34B78AE.jpg)
125.1 KB40 views
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 20-05-2022, 01:23 PM
RugbyRene (Rene)
Registered User

RugbyRene is offline
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Sydney
Posts: 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boozlefoot View Post
I've been through the "obs mill", and after years of deliberation have opted for a "pier garden", with a dehumidified and wood heated warm room within elect cable distance of my 3 piers, and a concrete ramp to wheel out the big fellas. I find proprietary obs somewhat cold and cramped anyway. Having said that, obs are very much a personal preference thing. As for the mini dome, my idea when considering same was for a simple hatch/box on a rotating turret. Doesn't have to be round, and you can "hinge" same with a prop system at varying openings if you don't want to open the aperture fully. Keep it small enough to fit on a box trailer in parts if you are in the situation of possible future moves. Think outside the box! Employ the KISS principle. Think of the 2.4m cut sizes for timber - much cheaper/available. The tilting hatch is good as it doesn't have seams near the zenith, avoiding drips on your gear.

Do you have photos?
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +10. The time is now 02:20 AM.

Powered by vBulletin Version 3.8.7 | Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Advertisement
Testar
Advertisement
Limpet Controller
Advertisement
Astroworx
Advertisement
Bintel
Advertisement
Astronomy and Electronics Centre
Advertisement