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Is it worth establishing an observatory?

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#1 Aquarist

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 05:16 PM

We live in a light polluted area (city lighting not neighborhood lighting) in the relatively far Chicago Northwest suburbs. Since I cannot travel to observe due to physical limitations, is it worth while establishing an observatory in my back yard?

Thanks in advance!

#2 ahopp

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 06:51 PM

I have seen amazing astrophotography done in light polluted regions. Not sure how visual observing would be.

Tony

#3 Startraffic

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 07:17 PM

Aquarist,
Yep, yep, yep, I've had a SkyShed POD-XL3 for the last 4-5 years. My observing time went from 1-2 time a month to 3-4 times a week (whenever the sky was clear). I'm less than 15 miles from DC. google my coords 39.138274 -77.168898

Clear Dark Skies
Startraffic
39.138274 -77.168898
Alt 518ft ASL

#4 Aquarist

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 07:55 PM

Thanks much! My wife is primarily a visual observer. I also really like visual observation but hope to learn how to do AP as well. Planned equipment, by the way, is an AP 1600GTO mount with a Planewave CDK 17 scope.

#5 shawnhar

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 08:21 PM

Thanks much! My wife is primarily a visual observer. I also really like visual observation but hope to learn how to do AP as well. Planned equipment, by the way, is an AP 1600GTO mount with a Planewave CDK 17 scope.

Good lord man! with 34 grand between the scope and the mount, I hope you learn to do AP as well!

#6 Erik30

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 08:30 PM

Thanks much! My wife is primarily a visual observer. I also really like visual observation but hope to learn how to do AP as well. Planned equipment, by the way, is an AP 1600GTO mount with a Planewave CDK 17 scope.


An Observatory with an alarm system and a hungry German Shepard sleeping inside... Nice setup!!

#7 Aquarist

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 08:38 PM

Actually, Blue, my Shiloh Shepard, weighs in at 154 lbs. He loves intruders and can make it to the back fence in a little less than 4 seconds. No alarm system though!! Yes, I know the equipment is not cheap, but I have always wanted to do this and you cannot take it with you.

#8 Erik30

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 09:01 PM

A Shiloh... You don't see to many of that breed... Big dogs that look just like a GSD, only more hair!! (Depending on the coat) I love the German Shepard line and have only had a couple chances to see/meet a Shiloh.

Anyway, I think if "I" had that setup I would build an Ob.. You would use it a lot more as Startraffic has pointed out. And with the investment for the mount and scope I think it is an insurance measure also.

#9 Aquarist

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 09:23 PM

Blue is the short hair variety (as opposed to the long hair variety). Looks more like a wolf than GSD primarily because the back is level rather than sloped. Shoulder is 31 inches which means he is able to table surf.

The observatory will allow me to make a permanent mount and also will provide better cooling than taking the scope from inside to outside. (It does have fans, however) Since my physical abilities are diminished, life will be a lot easier and more observation days should result.

#10 Raginar

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 11:04 PM

Definitely worth an observatory. If you can drop 34k on scope/mount, an observatory is a cheap investment to ensure you get your money's worth out of it. I went from 5-10 days a month with my mount outide to just about every clear night available with my current setup.

Good luck!

#11 mikey cee

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 11:16 PM

Cash is one thing going into debt...entirely different animal with that tidy sum. :smirk:Killjoy Mike

#12 frolinmod

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 11:50 PM

With an observatory and automation hardware and software you don't even have to be awake to do imaging. Combine that with narrow band filters and you can take spectacular images from the heart of the city.

#13 StarWrangler

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 12:08 AM

Hi Aquarist,

Click on the kink below my name to see a wide
varity of alternative observatory designs and soultions.

Alan O.

#14 StarWrangler

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 12:12 AM

My wife and I live in Albuquerque nm and we are
suprised to see stars and even Orion in the middle of the city.

If I had a house here instead of living in a apartment
I would have an observatory.


Alan O.

#15 Aquarist

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 06:56 AM

My wife and I live in Albuquerque nm and we are
suprised to see stars and even Orion in the middle of the city.

If I had a house here instead of living in a apartment
I would have an observatory.


Alan O.


Wow, great information sources! Thanks.

#16 1617

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 08:17 AM

Absolutely. Get in touch with Scott Horstman at Backyard Observatories. He'll get you set up and you won't even know you're near the city.

#17 JJK

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 09:11 AM

My wife and I live in Albuquerque nm and we are
suprised to see stars and even Orion in the middle of the city.

If I had a house here instead of living in a apartment
I would have an observatory.


Alan O.


Move to Grants, NM.

#18 David Pavlich

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 09:16 AM

Here is Neil Fleming's webpage. His imaging was done from downtown Boston. Mostly narrowband, but it can be done with excellent results.

As far as an obs is concerned and especially considering the size of the hardware in your plans, a 10X10 rolloff roof would be terrific! And it will make it MUCH easier to decide if you're going to get out. I have an 8X8 and regret not making it 10X10. :p

David

#19 bunyon

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 09:20 AM

I'm an observatory forum lurker who hopes to one day become a participant.

My only 2 cents here is that, in my opinion, an observatory is more important for AP than visual. Precise tracking isn't necessary for visual work but if you wind up having to go through polar alignment every time you image (ahem, as I do), it gets to be a pain and can seriously cut into data acquisition time. With an observatory, you can spend a moonlit evening getting the polar alignment, balance, etc. nailed and not have to deal with it again.

Also, I've found simply getting a little older makes hauling all the gear out less fun. If you have more serious physical limitations, it would give you some relief in that regard as well.

So, like the others, it sounds to me like it would make a lot of sense for you to have an observatory. Cheers.

#20 Jeff B

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 10:02 AM

We live in a light polluted area (city lighting not neighborhood lighting) in the relatively far Chicago Northwest suburbs. Since I cannot travel to observe due to physical limitations, is it worth while establishing an observatory in my back yard?

Thanks in advance!


Yes!

#21 StarWrangler

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 10:19 AM

Hey Mike Potter, Step in.

My good friend Mike Potter A Cloudy Night member does Photometry in downtown Baltimore Md.

Alan O.
StarWrangler
(AKA Starquester)

#22 Mirzam

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 11:22 AM

My two cents. Consider getting a dome to house your equipment. It will allow use on nights with some degree of wind. A strong puff of wind will ruin an image subframe unless you are working at short focal lengths. A dome is also a much warmer environment for visual work. I have both a dome and a ROR and there are many nights here in the cooler seasons when it is too windy to use the ROR.

JimC

#23 Gastrol

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 12:48 PM

Having an obs is so cool. I like to entertain my dinner or party guests in the obs.

#24 StarWrangler

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 12:51 PM

Thats a cool iide "Dinner Under The Stars"

My friend Mike Potter has Two domes and two C14's for his photomatery work.

Alan O

#25 YetAnotherHobby

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 01:19 PM

No question it's worth putting up an obs. The scope and equipment are always at the ready, instead of getting in the way inside the house. There is virtually zero setup/teardown time. Now, scaling my Pod to your obs based on scaling my telescope/mount to yours, obs should be about 2500 square feet, with a kitchen in the warm room :).






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