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The Little Owl Micro Observatory (on a balcony)

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#26 astrovirus

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Posted 27 August 2014 - 03:59 PM

Made some good progress again today, out on the balcony in the nice sunny weather. Installed the clips that will lock down the top frame and also the back frame when the observatory is closed. Also constructed the backframe and installed the rain gutter and drainpipe for the observatory and also a reroute from our drainpipe for the appartment roof that would empty on the balcony, which now follows a gutter to the drainpipe for the balcony itself. So most of the roof water will not have to pass beneath the obeservatory now. Still I will put up a damp barrier under the floor which I have to install over the coming days, to prevent moisture from entering the structure from below.

 

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Clip to lock down the top

 

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Clip to lock down the back

 

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Gutter/pipe installed on the back panel



#27 astrovirus

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Posted 27 August 2014 - 04:01 PM

And some more

 

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Back panel in place after opening the observatory

 

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Back panel removed with gutter/pipe



#28 astrovirus

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Posted 09 September 2014 - 11:54 AM

Another small update with some pics.

 

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Made some finishes to the Alu-frame and als the sides of the shiplap.

 

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Placed extra handle for opening/closing observatory and also put some caps in the foldable stand.

 

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Put up a plank to prevent rain from entering on sloped sides and also serves as a alignment help when closing the observatory.

 



#29 astrovirus

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Posted 09 September 2014 - 11:56 AM

Continued.

 

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Bracing pins for the closings.

 

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Power lines, sockets and data pipe.

 

 



#30 astrovirus

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Posted 13 September 2014 - 01:57 AM

So, the light at the end of the tunnel is coming into sight. This week, I pulled 3 active USB cables through the data pipe, which prove more of a problem then I had anticipated beforehand, but in the end with a little help we managed. Then I also wanted to get the EQdit cable in, which also succeded with some effort. I also place the NEQ6 mount on the pier and leveled it, and then came the moment of thruth, to see if the observatory would properly close with the OTA fitted. And it did, so I did my homework, measurements, and building properly to my specs. First Light is approaching now, although I still have to do a lot of tiny things around and in the observatroy. Also the control PC will have to be installed at the inside of the balcony/window wall, so I'll have to install a mounting for that, as well as configuring the PC, as I have decided to swap my old PC for another oldie, that has a much smaller footprint. However this means installing XP pro again with its 111 updates and after that getting all my astronomy software up and running again, with some nice new additons to start experimenting with (AT plate solving and maybe after that FocusMax autofocusing).

 

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Observatory closed as seen from the roof of our shed.

 

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Mount installed on the pier.

 

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OTA installed.



#31 astrovirus

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Posted 13 September 2014 - 01:58 AM

And one more.

 

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Everything fits like intended.



#32 TimN

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Posted 13 September 2014 - 04:27 PM

From one Tim to another - that is a great solution. I'm sure your ideas will be copied by many others. Well done!

 

Tim



#33 Starman27

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Posted 14 September 2014 - 10:54 AM

Well Done.

#34 hbastro

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Posted 14 September 2014 - 12:41 PM

Hi Tim,
Very resourceful and creative solution to an overwhelmingly confined space, very well done...

Dave



#35 astrovirus

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 04:32 AM

LOMO is alive. Yesterday I got around to instal the rest of the equipment and started to prepare the control PC with the much needed software. All connections between software and equipment are up and running, so I'm nearing "first light". However, before that, polar aligning will prove somewhat of a challenge as I have almost no view of the Northern sky and Alignmaster strongly favors starpairs with a component in the Northern sky. So I'll probably will also try the polar alignment help in AstroTortilla, or EQalign to perform polar alignment. Images of the completed setup will follow in the coming days, as there is still some cable mess to sort out on the observatory floor.



#36 JJK

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 08:42 AM

LOMO is alive. Yesterday I got around to instal the rest of the equipment and started to prepare the control PC with the much needed software. All connections between software and equipment are up and running, so I'm nearing "first light". However, before that, polar aligning will prove somewhat of a challenge as I have almost no view of the Northern sky and Alignmaster strongly favors starpairs with a component in the Northern sky. So I'll probably will also try the polar alignment help in AstroTortilla, or EQalign to perform polar alignment. Images of the completed setup will follow in the coming days, as there is still some cable mess to sort out on the observatory floor.

 

Use a clinometer to set your mount ALT angle, point roughly to true North (use a compass and correct for the deviation), and then use drift alignment.  You'll be dead-on in under two hours, and drift alignment is the final arbiter anyway.



#37 astrovirus

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Posted 27 September 2014 - 12:03 PM

So, finally managed to take some images to show the latest progress.

 

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1. Control PC ready for action on polar algnment tonight. On the right is a simple weather station to monitor temperature and humidity in the observatory when not in use.

 

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2. Another view of the control unit with the imaging equipment ready for action in the background. The PC is attached to the monitor stand so it has a nice small footprint.

 

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3. Camera mounted, with all needed cables/hub.



#38 astrovirus

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Posted 27 September 2014 - 12:04 PM

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4. Finder guider and main data cable.

 

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5. Outdoor sensor of the weatherstation mounted on the lower casing of the observatory. In the background, some of the polystyrene isolation I'm in the process of installing is visable.

 

 



#39 tim57064

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Posted 28 September 2014 - 09:11 AM

Tim,hopefully you are planning on running your setup from a different locating during the winter. That computer may not last long next to that heater. Just a thought.



#40 astrovirus

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Posted 28 September 2014 - 02:40 PM

Tim,hopefully you are planning on running your setup from a different locating during the winter. That computer may not last long next to that heater. Just a thought.

 

It is a central heating system with warm water running thru, no electrical radiation heater or something like that, so it doesn't get that hot and in addition we don't have it turned on that often, as our home is pretty well isolated and we usually have the thermostat set at about 18°C. So, I think it should be alright, but thanks for pointing it out, and I'll keep an eye out on it during the coming winter time.



#41 astrovirus

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Posted 18 October 2014 - 04:58 PM

So, finally a clear night without any other obligations, so spent some time on polar aligning the NEQ6 using AstroTortilla Polar Alignment tool. Despite having read some bad experiences with this tool, I have to say it worked out rather well to get my mount reasonably polar aligned without having any views of polaris from my balcony. Also using Alignmaster proves difficult as it has a preference for N-S star pairs and I have hardly any view towards the Northern skies. With a couple of itterations AT now reports my altitude error as 48' (coming from 5°) and my azimuth error was around 2-3' so I left that alone. Plate solved corrected goto precision is now spot on and I already tested shooting 5 minute guided subs with no problems. Looks like LOMO is now truly getting ready for a serious first light.


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