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Brick walls for an observatory?

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#1 timwetherell

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 06:11 PM

I'm about to start designing an observatory for my 8" refractor. (Heaving it in and out each time has finally ceased to be fun!)

I'm toying with the idea of using wood paneling on the inner walls and brick on the outer walls separated by a few inches of insulation. Obviously any kind of masonry isn't 100% desirable because of its tendency to store heat but i was just wondering if anyone had any experience with this? Do you think it would be a mildly bad idea or would it render the whole thing useless?

Why brick? Well, it has to look a certain way to keep my other half happy :)

#2 rimcrazy

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 06:19 PM

Can you use faux-brick panels on the outside of wood panels that don't have near the heat capacity of real bricks? You get rapid cooling, she get's "Brick" appeal.

#3 csa/montana

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 06:26 PM

Can you use faux-brick panels on the outside of wood panels that don't have near the heat capacity of real bricks? You get rapid cooling, she get's "Brick" appeal.


Not to mention, much easier to do. :)

#4 timwetherell

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 06:54 PM

yes I guess that would be a possibility. I think she's imagining some rather fancy brickwork though. I showed her a design for a metal skin which apparently looked like a water tank and she sent me this as her ideal :lol:

http://en.wikipedia....ervatory_01.JPG

#5 rimcrazy

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 07:05 PM

Well if she likes that then she would love this

#6 timwetherell

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 07:19 PM

:lol: Oh yes, I'm sure that would be just the ticket! I wouldn't even dare table the idea of stone!

#7 JJK

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 10:21 PM

Tim,

I have a brick house, and can feel heat radiating from the surface for hours after the Sun sets. I'd recommend against using much brick or stone.

I bought a lovely cedar walled garden shed (9' 6" square Williamsburg style) from www.gardensheds.com about 7 years ago. Shortly thereafter, I contacted them to design & build a RoR observatory in the same design, perhaps a bit bigger. Life got in the way, and I built my own 8'x8' building (a fun process, but it is nowhere as nice looking as the Garden Sheds' structure). I contacted the company again, and they now make RoR and dome observatories.

These structures aren't cheap, but they are striking, exude quality, enhance the value of your property, and would please any better half. They even look beautiful from the inside. In addition, they deliver the structure either completed (they carefully place it on your foundation, you could be observing that same day the observatory is delivered) or as a kit (to save a bit on transportation costs). They even have options like recycled plank flooring that looks stunning, windows/no windows, pre-wired, roof material, etc. My next observatory will be built by them.

I saved money building my own tiny observatory, but if I had built one of the same size as my garden shed, the difference in cost would not be much (a lot of little things add up). I'll be giving mine away when I move (which should be in about a year).

I think they can build any size structure you want. An 8" refractor likely needs about a 10' square structure, and perhaps a larger footprint depending on the focal length.

Clear Skies,
John

#8 Hilmi

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 02:48 AM

I live in a brick house. It's the law and there is no way around it where I live. I built my observatory on the roof. using sandwich panels because I have no space anywhere else. When you have no choice as to how it is going to be built, its better to have a less than perfect observatory rather than have non.

I'm now working on building my new house and i am moving from a 200 m^2 plot to a 900m^2 with the possibility to expand the plot a further 400 m^2. Now I am planing an observatory building outside the house a good distance away from the building. An astronomer has to do what an astronomer has to do.

#9 nytecam

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:36 AM

Tim - climbing evergreen plants make the perfect screen material and provide year-round shade. Hence the reason, in IR-photos, such foliage appears white = IR reflective! But if done properly the brickwork will be largely invisible :grin:

#10 dobsoscope

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:53 AM

+1 for that advice, if not paint it all pure white and it will remain pretty much cool to the touch.

Tim - climbing evergreen plants make the perfect screen material and provide year-round shade. Hence the reason, in IR-photos, such foliage appears white = IR reflective! But if done properly the brickwork will be largely invisible :grin:



#11 mikey cee

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 11:33 AM

Concrete block stays cooler inside on warm days. On hot to super hot days it doesn't make much difference. The hollow air cores are great insulators. You can get designer faces and different sizes. I just used regular concrete block to match the house foundation. Brick is hot on either side and much more labor intensive to lay. ;) Mike

#12 timwetherell

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 05:43 PM

Those sheds are pretty amazing John!

#13 timwetherell

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 05:46 PM

Yes I'd thought about roof top too but as much as anything it would involve making expensive changes to our (brick) house that would also be very awkward given its design. I heard from others that roof top isn't ideal too. hope your new setup works well - must be hot in Oman? Guess bricks would be a real headache there?

#14 timwetherell

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 05:48 PM

Given the likely standard of my brickwork fake or real, hiding it as much as possible might well be the go! :grin:

#15 timwetherell

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 05:52 PM

I've done some building in hebal (a very airated concrete) and it's great. flame retardant insulating and light.

I'm actually erring toward the suggestion of fake bricks. I was a bit skeptical at first but the more I think about it the more it does seem to offer a good solution. especially since it's highly likely that we'll have to move one day and take the observatory with us.

I have provisional approval for this design so now just have to figure out how to make it.

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#16 JJK

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:12 PM

Those sheds are pretty amazing John!


Ask the company owner (Ken) for info on Rex's RoR observatory. It's really neat, and the image of the installation (placing the entire structure perfectly on the foundation) is impressive.

#17 JJK

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:15 PM

I've done some building in hebal (a very airated concrete) and it's great. flame retardant insulating and light.

I'm actually erring toward the suggestion of fake bricks. I was a bit skeptical at first but the more I think about it the more it does seem to offer a good solution. especially since it's highly likely that we'll have to move one day and take the observatory with us.

I have provisional approval for this design so now just have to figure out how to make it.


You can move the Garden Sheds buildings in one piece.

#18 Hilmi

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 08:06 AM

Tim,

I actually used the wrong word. What we call bricks, you refer to as cinder blocks I think. My house is made from Cinder blocks. The entire area is built up and covered with concrete and blocks. So basically, the seeing isnt any worse on the roof than it would have been on the ground.

At least I get to use the telescope every night because I dont have to worry about set up. The house also acts as a huge light shield. It blocks lots of the lower light sources like neighbors house etc. etc.

#19 berlinstar

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 01:40 PM

If money wasn't an object (brick seems to be pretty expensive these days), I would think that you could build an airspace between two walls of bricks, to provide an air-space and insulate the inside from outside wall. I've seen late 1900's brick homes built this way.

#20 JJK

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 02:59 PM

If money wasn't an object (brick seems to be pretty expensive these days), I would think that you could build an airspace between two walls of bricks, to provide an air-space and insulate the inside from outside wall. I've seen late 1900's brick homes built this way.


Bricks warmed during the day transfer heat to the adjacent air at night. I can't imagine wanting to view or image surrounded by brick walls. Been there, done that.

#21 berlinstar

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 03:58 PM

Not if it was engineered correctly. Proper venting and air space between inner and outer brick will work. It comes down to economics, build time, and cheaper, more efficient alternatives.

#22 zawijava

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 05:17 PM

This would certainly keep the inside wall of bricks cooler but the warm outside wall would cause a rising plume of warm air all around the observatory until they reached ambient temps, correct ? -Tim

If money wasn't an object (brick seems to be pretty expensive these days), I would think that you could build an airspace between two walls of bricks, to provide an air-space and insulate the inside from outside wall. I've seen late 1900's brick homes built this way.



#23 timwetherell

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 05:20 PM

One problem is that I don't know they export to Australia? And if we move it would most likely be overseas again. From the site it does look like they do kits though so I'll keep it in mind :)

#24 timwetherell

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 05:23 PM

At least I get to use the telescope every night because I dont have to worry about set up.


Yep exactly! Dragging the beast out is such a task that I'm not using it nearly as much as it deserves - an observatory seems the right way to go!

#25 timwetherell

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 05:30 PM

I guess brick has a big heat capacity (hence their use in storage radiators) so in theory it may be bad but I've no direct experience myself which is why these discussions are so cool - can hear from those who have :)

Brick or concrete definitely wouldn't be portable. Perhaps I could make a temporary skin in metal then replace it with airated concrete blocks on the final version? Like the idea of growing stuff up it too!






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