looking for ideas on home observatory without a permanent building

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Ben Cartwright SASS
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looking for ideas on home observatory without a permanent building

#1

Post by Ben Cartwright SASS »

I had planned a home observatory, but the boss said NO. We have two sheds now, a garden shed and a "she shed" and lots of trees. I have a observing platform setup in the back corner of my yard where I have a gap in trees.

I am looking for ideas on what you do to protect your gear and computer both during and after observing. Due to my health issues totally breaking down is really not an option. Currently I keep my Skywatcher EQ6-R Pro and often one of my refractors, set up under two Telegizmo covers, the tripod one and the mount one. I keep my computer in a storage box along with my other telescopes and gear. During the winter I bring cameras and Quark and PC inside but leave the mount out and the scopes in the storage box in case of a good day or night for observing.

I am thinking of a couple of different things, well at least 3, first would be a second "trash can" storage box to hold a table and observing chair and PC, the stuff I sometimes leave out (except for the PC), another is a box say 3' wide by 4' high 2' deep with a door next to the telescope that I would keep the PC set up in during the season and during a session, especially solar where you need to shield the screen from light. and the third at this point is a "roll off" box covering the scope and mount, it would roll off on rails or something (would still need the ok from the wife, it is the golden rule "she with the gold makes the rules") I am hoping that at some point I can convince here (and the town zoning board) that I could setup a small resin or metal tool shed that is held down but not "permanent" but for now looking for ideas.

Oh and my skies are Bortle 8 so while I try to do binocular observing with only being able to visually see down to mag 2.4 I have trouble finding objects.

What ideas are you using?

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yobbo89
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Re: looking for ideas on home observatory without a permanent building

#2

Post by yobbo89 »

very nice, i use two tarps over each setup to surely waterproof them, 2 mounts and two scopes out in the yard, one of the scopes is 35kg incl gear so there's no real option to break down and re setup every night . my biggest problem is hail and strong gale winds, had a scope mangled from a bad storm a few years back , i fixed that scope, panel beating and a new focuser ! , any how you seem lucky enough to have a kit of nice light weight refractors !, should be a quick tare down for you incase you face some strong weather. btw is the little red building your ahh "man cave" ?it looks pretty nice, fire pit and all !
scopes :gso/bintel f4 12"trust tube, bresser messier ar127s /skywatcher 10'' dob,meade 12'' f10 lx200 sct
cameras : asi 1600mm-c/asi1600mm-c,asi120mc,prostar lp guidecam, nikkon d60, sony a7,asi 290 mm
mounts : eq6 pro/eq8/mesu 200 v2
filters : 2'' astronomik lp/badder lrgb h-a,sII,oIII,h-b,Baader Solar Continuum, chroma 3nm ha,sii,oiii,nii,rgb,lowglow ,Thousand Oaks Solar Filter.
extras : skywatcher f4 aplanatic cc, Baader MPCC MKIII Coma Corrector,Orion Field Flattener,zwo 1.25''adc.starlight maxi 2" 9x filter wheel

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The Happy Parrot
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Re: looking for ideas on home observatory without a permanent building

#3

Post by The Happy Parrot »

My preference is to keep the backyard from turning into an obstacle course/junkyard. The second option, the 3x4x2' box, in a nicely finished cedar or pine might be enough?

Why does the third option require rails? Could you roll the equipment from a safe dry place on a cart with pneumatic wheels or is the terrain too bumpy?
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Ben Cartwright SASS
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Re: looking for ideas on home observatory without a permanent building

#4

Post by Ben Cartwright SASS »

yobbo89 - it is a blacksmith shop I built about 20 years ago and also stores my coleman fuel and tools.

Happy, the ground is severely slopped towards the house, I had to build up the pad to get is for of level about 12 inches in 10 feet. Also with my bone on bone knees i cannot pull anything without a lot of pain
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Re: looking for ideas on home observatory without a permanent building

#5

Post by pakarinen »

I'm not sure I understand all your requirements, but you might check out plans for a "scope motel". Or maybe it's hotel. Whatever. Basically a pier with a hinged box on top.
The lamp once out
Cool stars enter
The window frame.

~Soseki

Orion ST120, Meade AdventureScope ST80, Skywatcher 90mm Mak
Twilight 1 / Astro Devices encoders / Nexus II / Manfrotto 475B tripod
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Re: looking for ideas on home observatory without a permanent building

#6

Post by OleCuss »

As noted above, he Motel O'Scope might be a little interesting? https://www.pierplates.com/motel.html


Also, while most don't view it that way, the SkyShed Pods I think are technically portable. You can take one apart in a relatively short time period and put it all in the back of a pickup truck and it's gone. So the SkyShed might slip past the zoning board although the wife/CFO may not allow it?
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Re: looking for ideas on home observatory without a permanent building

#7

Post by pakarinen »

A nice thing about the Motel is that the plans and parts list are provided - you can modify the plans or buy the materials from your favorite supplier if you want.

I'm a big fan of extruded polystyrene insulation - the green, blue, or pink sheets. It's very light, easy to cut and shape, and holds up to impacts pretty well if it's thick enough (I tried stabbing a butcher knife through a 2-in piece once as an experiment). I'd try the foam for walls. JMO.
The lamp once out
Cool stars enter
The window frame.

~Soseki

Orion ST120, Meade AdventureScope ST80, Skywatcher 90mm Mak
Twilight 1 / Astro Devices encoders / Nexus II / Manfrotto 475B tripod
Nikon Aculon 10x50 binos
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Re: looking for ideas on home observatory without a permanent building

#8

Post by helicon »

On some occasions when the weather is good I leave my scopes out covered with a tarp, that way I can string together two or three observing nights in a row without having to haul everything back in the house. The AR152 is actually less portable than my 10" Dob.
-Michael
Various scopes, 10" Zhumell Dob, ES AR152, AWB 5.1" Onesky newt, Oberwerk 25x100 binos, two eyeballs
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pakarinen
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Re: looking for ideas on home observatory without a permanent building

#9

Post by pakarinen »

helicon wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 3:33 pm
On some occasions when the weather is good I leave my scopes out covered with a tarp
I've left my mount outside under a grill cover overnight a couple times when I've planned on an early morning session, but I've not been brave enough to leave a scope on it or leave it out for more than a day. I just don't trust the weather here.
The lamp once out
Cool stars enter
The window frame.

~Soseki

Orion ST120, Meade AdventureScope ST80, Skywatcher 90mm Mak
Twilight 1 / Astro Devices encoders / Nexus II / Manfrotto 475B tripod
Nikon Aculon 10x50 binos
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Ben Cartwright SASS
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Re: looking for ideas on home observatory without a permanent building

#10

Post by Ben Cartwright SASS »

pakarinen wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 12:19 pm
helicon wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 3:33 pm
On some occasions when the weather is good I leave my scopes out covered with a tarp
I've left my mount outside under a grill cover overnight a couple times when I've planned on an early morning session, but I've not been brave enough to leave a scope on it or leave it out for more than a day. I just don't trust the weather here.
Try a Telegizmos 365 cover! I have 2, a tripod/mount cover and the scope cover the also covers half the tripod, keep them both on year round, for 3 years so far, no issues, you just have to be careful when you shovel the snow not to bump the tripod
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Re: looking for ideas on home observatory without a permanent building

#11

Post by UlteriorModem »

I have to second the telegizmo covers. I leave my scope and mount out under one at all times. Except when a hurricane comes along.

It saves me ALOT of time not having to align the scope for each session!

But my back yard is fenced on all sides, and I have a motion detection alarm installed on the mount for security.

Been doing this for a couple of years now with no real issues. The only issue is spiders kinda like to make a home in there. I found some stuff in little pouches you put under there to deter them. I hear dryer softener sheets work as well.

Image20171006_175636 by Tom Whit, on Flickr

Not the 'underpants' as I call it, the white colored cover is something I stitched together with Velcro closure to keep rain and sun off the battery box and charger.

The trash can in the background is where I store the covers when the scope is in use.
Tom

Current Equipment:
Scope: 130mm APO triplet atop a CGX-L mount
Cam: ASI071mc-pro
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Ben Cartwright SASS
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Re: looking for ideas on home observatory without a permanent building

#12

Post by Ben Cartwright SASS »

stands up to snow also

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Re: looking for ideas on home observatory without a permanent building

#13

Post by pakarinen »

I saw this over on CN. Pricey, but might be an option:

http://www.cycleshell.com/index.html
The lamp once out
Cool stars enter
The window frame.

~Soseki

Orion ST120, Meade AdventureScope ST80, Skywatcher 90mm Mak
Twilight 1 / Astro Devices encoders / Nexus II / Manfrotto 475B tripod
Nikon Aculon 10x50 binos
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Re: looking for ideas on home observatory without a permanent building

#14

Post by helicon »

Seems like a good option.
-Michael
Various scopes, 10" Zhumell Dob, ES AR152, AWB 5.1" Onesky newt, Oberwerk 25x100 binos, two eyeballs
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