Finished Observatory


Here are the final exterior images from Spring 2010. The observatory has gotten a LOT of use through the winter of 2009-2010! It has its limitations but it is doing its job -- providing quick opportunities to observe! Note the well worn patht through the snow that built up through the winter. I should probably snowblow it -- it would make my life easier! Notice the snow sheds off the plastic roof well and just piles up on the sides.

I keep the key on a little Lego minifigure flashlight -- it makes it easy to find, and provides a quick and easy white light for doing a sweep at observing end to make sure I haven't dropped anything (iPhone, eyepiece, etc).

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Still to do I guess is paint the skirt board, in case I'm in here several more seasons (a likely possibility, as I have decided to build the BIG SCOPE before I build the BIG OBSERVATORY. This decision was actually driven by observing in Star Gully observatory for a while -- it is clearly just a bit too small for Equinox. I don't want to build the big observatory, then a big telescope, and find the two are not compatabily sized!

Support Ropes

The roof panels are supported by nylon ropes (the blue ones) on adjustable cinch hooks. I generally use them more or less so the panels are flat, but could ajust it so the panels are are a higher angle (e.g. if I wanted more protection from the breeze). To keep the roof closed, I use two simple tie-downs (the red ones) that keep the top roof panel pulled down tight on the lower roof panel it overlaps.

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Telescope Cutoffs

The images below show the limitations of this observatory -- the horizon cutoffs. I was conserving money and time, and not expecting to be in the building for too many seasons. There is a hard cutoff E and W, and the peak of the walls blocks my view N and S (though I have a light dome in the north). The SE and SW corners I can go as low as I want without hitting a wall, but the wall will eventually cut off my view. I've toyed with making a fold down panel or opening in the south wall, but think I am going to avoid making such a modifcation for now. I've been observing where I can reach with the scope, and can see plenty of things (though there are some of my Herschel 400s I am going to have to pass on until I pull the scope out).

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In the images below, you can see the amenities, such as they are. I had originally planned to put fold down desks on the walls, to provide a place to set my atlases and log books. Quite by accident, I was observing one night before I had worked on installing these, and discovered the roof panels were ideal places to set things! They were the right height, and stuff tucked nicely between the rafters! This got the desk surfaces out of the footprint, which was a great thing! I put two thin sheets of plywood down over the rafters and now have two desks. I use my atlases on the East side, and my observing logs on the west side. My eyepiece box sits on the west panel as well; I tuck other things (extra coat, drinks, iPod) in the uncovered rafter areas.

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The first image below is from first light for the observatory during the 2010 Leonids, on 16/17 Nov 2010, though I didn't move Equinox in until 22 Nov.

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Last Updated: 25 September 2012