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Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing?

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#26 1965healy

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 11:36 AM

PM sent.

#27 Footbag

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 11:58 AM

PM sent.


Coincidentally, I was just showing the Google overhead view to my parents. I put two red squares in there to show you the spots.

For scale, there is a golf cart in the front yard. It is 8' long.

Posted Image

#28 csa/montana

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:18 PM

Which direction is South, on this image?

#29 Footbag

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:21 PM

My bad. South is down.

#30 csa/montana

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:27 PM

No problem :) Yes, that would be the best way for the roof to roll off; however, it looks like your southern view will be blocked considerably by the buildings.

#31 1965healy

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:30 PM

I'm guessing South is at the top? Hard to figure out the lot lines on anything but the right/East side. Is that your driveway on the NE corner? Will you get a lot of light from the house to the right? Just checked your post and I'm backwards. Based on the image/orientation you're going to have a view of a pine tree and the house to the south. Your horizon will be maybe 60 degrees?

#32 Footbag

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:57 PM

In the summer, there is a lot of light coming from the neighbors house on the left side. They have lots and lots of bright landscape lighting. There are very few winter residents, so it will be very dark in the winter.

The very top of the picture is the lake. The building at the top is a boathouse. Everything slopes towards the lake.

I will not have a great horizon, butI think it will be better then 60 degrees. It is much darker then where I typically image from. And I think most of my targets will be high in the sky when I'm imaging them.

Truth is, if I had a better location, I'd use it. But as for now, I just want a way to image without setting up. I have back problems and when it goes out, I can't do anything. I'd love to be able to do some remote imaging in those cases. And in the winter, I hate running out into the cold to setup and breakdown.

#33 1965healy

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 01:10 PM

Where is the lot line to the left of the house?

#34 Footbag

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 01:15 PM

6 feet from the house. There is no room on that side.

#35 1965healy

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 01:51 PM

Dome vs ROR debate
Dome is a smaller footprint
Less ambient LP with a dome
More of a DIY project
But
Small footprint equals cramped unless you go big
Access is thru a small door in the base
No warm room so you're in ambient temps unless you automate it
Slot/mount sync is critical
Obvious to all what's inside

ROR less cramped
Tracking is in a wide open environment
Entry/exit thru a regular door
Looks like a shed/outbuilding

Larger footprint
Stick built not a DIY for most folks

Both can be automated for remote use from inside the house or from a distant location

#36 Footbag

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:07 PM

Yeah, I don't like anything about the dome option, except the smaller footprint.

And since it's a winter home, I am concerned with theft in the winter. It will have an alarm/security system, but a lot of damage could be done in the meantime.

#37 1965healy

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:39 PM

Talk to Scott @BYO, their M1 Automation has security feature as well.

#38 1965healy

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:51 PM

Don't know if you're anywhere near Kimberton, PA but check out this site. Automated BYO Obs.
http://darkhorseobse...y.org/index.php

#39 Calypte

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 03:03 PM

If I had a dome, the ideal for me would be to have an elevated observing floor, accessed by a short interior stairway, thus allowing for a standard height entry door. The dome itself and pier would be higher, of course, to accommodate this. In my mind's eye I see something like the old 18-inch Schmidt dome at Palomar Obs. (I work there as a volunteer). Such a dome would definitely look like an observatory. There'd be no hiding it.

For location on the property, it sounds like you have some domestic negotiations to resolve, and I don't think I can help you. We're retired. Our vegetation is variously described as high chaparral or desert transition (elev. about 3930 ft.). The property slopes gently to the south. The previous owner had to have some of the vegetation cleared for fire protection, so I have several suitable observatory sites. That was a major factor in choosing this property. My chosen observatory site was to deal with that @#$% light to the southeast, but, once up, I discovered another annoying light, to the southwest. Sigh! It's probably 1/2 mile away, so it could be lots worse. Provided the south wall is up, the observatory walls block all exterior lights and the distant urban light domes. I was worried about interior lights from my own house, but they haven't been an issue.

My roof rolls north. Polaris barely clears the peak of the roof, as viewed from the scope. You'll gain by Polaris being higher, assuming that part of the sky is important to you.

Edited to add: my friend's Explora-Dome is 10 ft diameter. The footprint is actually smaller than mine (78 sq ft vs 109 sq ft), plus some of the floor is under the sloping outer parts of the building. OTOH, he can leave his cope in the upright position (equivalent to A-P's "Park 3"), so it's easier to walk around the scope. One advantage of a dome is that you have protection for much of your gear if a sudden storm comes over. Before I had the observatory, I had my scope set up under a Tele Gizmos-type cover, and a storm that all of the weather forecasts had ignored moved up from Baja Calif. and soaked my gear. The scope & mount were OK, but I thought my computer was fried. It was a couple of days before it came back to life. A dome would have protected it; my roll-off is no better than what I had before.

Further edited: The scope wasn't under the cover at the time of the storm, of course. It was imaging in perfect conditions most of the night.

#40 Footbag

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 05:51 PM

A good location and plan will solve the domestic issues. If it goes over by the gas tank, that problem is solved.

It will be raised up higher and I will have a better view of the sky and likely Polaris, although I have less interest in imaging the northern targets. The trees to the north just reveal Polaris when I'm on the ground, but it's possible the gas tank is in just the wrong place to see Polaris. That wouldn't really bother me.

I typically image from the box in the center of the lawn area. To the SE and SW there are some trees, but there is a pocket between them which will give me a few hours on the further south targets.

I'm wondering whether the roof line of the house could maybe be extended over the observatory and then a further rolling roof extension could be put on top of that. Or whether it's better to keep them completely separate. I'm not a builder or architect, so I don't know.

#41 rimcrazy

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 06:19 PM

It will have an alarm/security system, but a lot of damage could be done in the meantime.


My home/observatory is in a remote location. I have a security system but what I really rely on is I have very visible active security camera system everywhere along with the necessary signs indicated 24 hour video surveillance. All of my doors have steel security doors which cannot be kicked in. I can and do regularly monitor my home from 130 miles away in Phoenix. I have been the victim of theft and break-ins a few times in Phoenix. You cannot stop someone if they are bound and determined to break in. What you can do is make your residence extremely undesirable and difficult. This makes your neighbors a much more likely target and not you. Sad, but it is the truth. Most break-ins are by addicts looking for a quick dash to get cash. My observatory is a dome with one entrance. It has a steel security door. The building is 10' high to the bottom of the dome and essentially un-scaleable without a ladder. Not foolproof, nothing is but pretty darn difficult.

#42 stmguy

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 06:25 AM

My conventional roof observatory might fit your needs , it isn't perfect and I'd do some things different if I started over. It does give you the protection of a dome while not looking like one.
http://www.cloudynig...5466873/page...

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#43 droid

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:57 AM

Little late, but one more testomonial for BYO. Scott and Don showed up with truck and trailer, and four or five hours later tops, drove away. Mine was a very basic model, so didnt require a lot of extras.If I ever have another one built ,it will only be bye BYO

#44 raf1

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 04:14 PM

Little late, but one more testimonial for BYO.


No surprises, great workmanship and drama-free. Just the way I like it! :cool:

#45 Footbag

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 06:16 PM

I made a pano of the observatory location. I know, no sky, I didn't take the pics. You can see where the trees are, just not their tops.

http://i288.photobuc...ama1_zps1154...

#46 1965healy

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 07:04 PM

Hmmmm. If you built it even/level with the porch you could walk right into it w/o getting out into the elements, have a short run for electrical and use your bedroom as your control/warm room. You could probably follow the pitch of the porch roof and have a sloped rather than gable roof. You could slide it north along the wall of the house. Done nicely it coud have log posts and be stained to match the house. I'm pretty sure Scott has built at least one log cabin Obs. They do make split log siding so you might be able to make it look pretty unobtrusive, he matched my shingles and siding on my Obs to my 70+ year old house almost exactly. If you retire the Obs it could be used for storage, a potting shed or a play house. The parental units would probably be happier if it looked like it belonged there.

#47 Footbag

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 08:08 PM

Hmmmm. If you built it even/level with the porch you could walk right into it w/o getting out into the elements, have a short run for electrical and use your bedroom as your control/warm room. You could probably follow the pitch of the porch roof and have a sloped rather than gable roof. You could slide it north along the wall of the house. Done nicely it coud have log posts and be stained to match the house. I'm pretty sure Scott has built at least one log cabin Obs. They do make split log siding so you might be able to make it look pretty unobtrusive, he matched my shingles and siding on my Obs to my 70+ year old house almost exactly. If you retire the Obs it could be used for storage, a potting shed or a play house. The parental units would probably be happier if it looked like it belonged there.


That is a very good idea if it is possible. We used log looking siding on the other side of the house. I think that's probably what you are referring to as split log, and it blend nicely. I really like the idea of combining that with log posts. I won't be able to cut logs form the porch, but I could probably hop over onto the observatory deck.

I do have to be careful through. I picked April because that's when I'd have the budget. If it gets to be a much larger project, I'll have to save for a bit longer.

#48 bluestar

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 09:02 PM

Scott and crew built my observatory some years ago and it's a dream. Being a visual observer w/portable piers we did the slab ourselves. Scott "bundled" his trip to the Mid Atlantic to coincide with a build just up the road in Philadelphia...saves costs! Predesigned via his plans, he had some of the wall sections pre-assembled in the trailer and purchased odds and ends locally. I made recommendations re nice but economic overnight motels in town...everything lined up ahead of time. Costs were right on the $$ with NO surprises...except some late mods where, after seeing the site, Scott felt I didn't need the fold-down wall and built it solid...and he was right!

My signature has the archived CN thread w/BO and our build experience. BEST thing I ever did. I still pinch myself out there at night to be sure I'm not dreaming.

#49 TCW

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 08:58 PM

The issues with out of state contractors in California are these. If they have workers comp then you would be covered in the case of an injury, just get proof. Technically it would be illegal to hire them if they are not CA State licensed. That would be a judgment call depending on how rigid your local building department is and if your neighbors are tattletales. If you are concerned about the licensing it might be possible to have them work under a local CA licensed contractor. Liability insurance would be good but not necessarily mandatory; it just depends on your level of comfort. :p






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