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Observatory Construction

Posted by Paul On September - 2 - 2018


9/2/2018 A few months ago I decided to add an observatory since I was getting tired of hauling my telescope out and spending quite a bit of time in aligning it.  Having an observatory will enable me to begin imaging almonst immediatly and to continue taking pictures long into the night.  The observatory I'm installing is made by Nexdome in Canada.  Here I will post some pictures of it as well as pictures I've taken during it's construction.  Below are pictures I took from the Nexdome website.






















I was really limited as to where I could place the observatory, both by the layout of our property and zoning restrictions for detached buildings.  Thus, I decided to build on the south end of our driveway.  This had advantages and disadvantages.  It made it easy to build a platform for the obs, but difficult to install a robust heavy pier for the telescope.  I ended up pouring a 2x2x1 foot cement footing that weighed in at about 600 pounds.  I'm hoping that will provide enough rigidity for the pier so that I can take long exposure images without worrying about vibrations..  Here are the construction photos:

9/3/2018 The bids I got for the pier fabrication were way higher than I expected.  I ended up going to a metal sales center and purchased essentially scrap pieces.  I ended up with 3/8 steel plates and a 6 5/8 steel pipe with 3/8 thickness.  They were able to cut the pieces to the sizes I needed, then I drilled the holes myself and tapped where necessary.  I had a local auto fab shop grind off the sharp corners and edges and weld it all together.  Instead of powder coating I cleaned everything with acetone then sprayed it with Rust-Oleum flat black.  Here are the plans for the pier:



9/3/2018 Here are the plans for the observatory layout.

9/5/2018 The telescope computer storage box is finished.

9/14/2018 Here are the latest photos of the observatory and the interior.  Everything is installed, but I'm still changing things to make it more workable inside.  I still need to get the shutter and dome rotation working through the laptop using Sequience Generator Pro.

9/18/2018 Here are some higher quality images that I took today.