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MAD Observatory

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#1 BYoesle

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 03:16 PM

When I was a small boy growing up in the Bay Area my family was having dinner one evening with my godparents, and I got my first telescopic view of the moon through my Godfather's 3 inch Unitron. I was amazed at the detail. Seeing my excitement, later that year for Christmas I received my first telescope - a 60 mm Unitron refractor. We went up to Lick Observatory and planetarium shows in San Jose and San Francisco. I began dreaming of having my own observatory some day -- at the time the dream was for a 6 inch F15 Jaegers refractor on an equatorial mount housed inside a dome...

Since then I have acquired many more (and much larger) instruments, but unfortunately don’t get to use them as much as I would like due to the time and effort in setting them up and taking them down.

So now I have commenced the building of the long-dreamed-of observatory, dedicated to the memory of my mother and father, who steadfastly encouraged and supported my astronomical interests. But since the Helen Rose and Vernon Arthur Yoesle Memorial Observatory sounds a bit formal and awkward, I have decided to name it the Mom And Dad -- or MAD -- Observatory. It’s about the size of a small garage, located in a clearing at 2100 ft. (640 m) elevation near my house in a Ponderosa Pine forest.

My design goal was for a large enough building to mount and house two fairly large optical tube assemblies - a C14 on a Cave Observatory mount with auxiliary instruments on one, and a fork mounted solar patrol multi-scope configuration on the other. I also wanted a roll-off-roof design open to the grandeur of the sky, along with an insulated warm room and plenty of storage. I came up with the plan below, which uses a split-roof design with a main observing floor 16 feet (4.9 m) east-west and 12 feet (3.7 m) north-south. The two piers with mountings should still be able to observe below the celestial pole, and I am also considering using lifting columns to make observation of overhead objects easier. I have plenty of clearance of the southern horizon with a south wall height of only ~ 5 feet (~ 1.5 m).

HWH Construction (Hippies with Hammers – sort of goes with MAD doesn’t it?) built my house and I was very impressed with their quality and ethics. So considering my lack of ability for such a large construction project, they received the go-ahead to start construction earlier this month.

As this observatory progresses, I will make additions to this thread.


Mom and Dad / Observatory sketch.

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#2 BYoesle

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 03:17 PM

Using just this sketch, HWH went to work: The observatory site with pier foundations poured.

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#3 BYoesle

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 03:18 PM

One of the two concrete telescope piers.

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#4 BYoesle

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 03:19 PM

Ted Bradwell (yellow shirt - owner/general contractor) and Jessie Bybee of HWH Construction setting the floor timbers and joists.

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#5 BYoesle

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 03:19 PM

Ted uses a more sophisticated “hammer” to secure the floor joists - having the observatory’s floor raised a bit higher off the ground will hopefully eliminate some ground seeing effects.

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#6 BYoesle

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 03:20 PM

Jessie discovers a visitor to the construction site.

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#7 BYoesle

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 03:21 PM

Ted celebrating getting the flooring down!

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#8 BYoesle

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 03:22 PM

Roof rail support pillars are up.

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#9 BYoesle

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 03:23 PM

Don Fry of The Dalles, Oregon, and I welded up the 64 feet (19.5 m) of inverted angle iron tract shown here waiting for installation on the two 33 foot (10 m) long glulam roof rail beams.

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#10 BYoesle

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 03:23 PM

Track installed with 4 inch (100 mm) V groove wheels -- 700 lbs. (318 kg) capacity each. Three north and 3 south per each roof half should give plenty of capacity to withstand the highest winter snow loads. Only $11 each through Amazon: http://www.amazon.co...0426CB5U/ref...

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#11 BYoesle

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 03:24 PM

West roof sheathed.

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#12 David Pavlich

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 03:24 PM

A great looking project and a terrific site! Sure hope those blue skies I see in the pictures remain once you're done. ;)

David

#13 BYoesle

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 03:25 PM

East roof taking shape earlier today.

Thanks Dave! Of course being the first day of Autumn it decided to rain...

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#14 BYoesle

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 03:26 PM

Roll Off Roof rafters seen from ground level, and framed doorway to the observation room.

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#15 BYoesle

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 03:28 PM

Thanks for looking -- more will follow.

#16 MHamburg

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 05:25 PM

Bob,
Great looking project! That's a nice tribute to your folks. Please keep us posted with progress.
Michael :waytogo:

#17 BYoesle

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 08:56 PM

Thanks Michael... here are the last pics from today.

View from the NE to the SW: Entry & warm room now has a roof.

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#18 BYoesle

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 08:58 PM

Warm room roof rafter detail.

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#19 BYoesle

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 09:00 PM

View from SW to NE, ready for metal roofing and side walls.

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#20 rigel123

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 01:27 AM

Great post Bob, and great looking observatory!

#21 LarryAlvarez

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 04:56 AM

Really looking good. From the surroundings it looks like a good dark area for night time and should make for an excellent day time shoot'n spot too. :)

#22 Midnight Dan

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 06:23 AM

Beautiful! Can't wait to see the rest of the build!

-Dan

#23 Aquarist

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 07:17 AM

Looking really good. Wish that HWH existed here, but found the next best thing for my base.

#24 Arne Danielsen

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 07:18 AM

The observatory looks very good!

Looking forward to see more pictures from the construction and the finished observatory.

Best regards,
Arne

#25 JJK

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 07:30 AM

East roof taking shape earlier today.

Thanks Dave! Of course being the first day of Autumn it decided to rain...


Bob, it looks great, except the doors aren't plumb. :grin:






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