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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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StarWrangler
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/03/04

Loc: Three Rivers, MI U.S.A>
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5522589 - 11/16/12 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)

Edited by StarWrangler (11/16/12 10:27 AM)


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Mirzam
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 04/01/08

Loc: Lovettsville, VA
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: StarWrangler]
      #5522719 - 11/16/12 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


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Gastrol
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/04/11

Loc: los angeles
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Mirzam]
      #5522849 - 11/16/12 12:48 PM

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

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StarWrangler
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/03/04

Loc: Three Rivers, MI U.S.A>
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5522860 - 11/16/12 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


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YetAnotherHobby
sage
*****

Reged: 09/02/09

Loc: Central CT
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: StarWrangler]
      #5522912 - 11/16/12 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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Aquarist
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: YetAnotherHobby]
      #5523199 - 11/16/12 05:01 PM

My initial thinking was as follows. Since my physical condition limits my ability to set up and tear down it seemed to me that if the equipment was already set up in a backyard observatory, I will get many more days of observation than if I have to travel. Roughly two nights in seven seem pretty good here with another night on average being mediocre. My initial hesitation was light pollution, not neighborhood lights, but residual sky glow from the city which is a ways from us. Also, we both are willing to adjust our viewing to after midnight to partially mitigate the light pollution.

Of the types of observatory commercially available, I am tending towards a dome (Technical Innovations); we surveyed a lot of the existing ones. We are currently going through the building code approval process. Since I am not very handy, I am lucky enough to have someone to help with those details.

The first year will be spent on coming up the learning curve with hardware and software, the second year, beginning to plan for AP.

This thread has been very helpful to me so thanks to all who contributed.


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thesungazer
Sungazer
*****

Reged: 05/06/03

Loc: Maryland
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5523216 - 11/16/12 05:13 PM Attachment (27 downloads)

Absolutely YES, Steve! I live in a Bortal white zone (Rockville, MD) and am limited to mag 6 objects through the scope. Did that deter me from building it? No way.

Like others have said, Id observe once a month before the observatory. Now Im out 2-3 times a night on clear days! I can spread out my observing all month and revisit objects night after night (tonight Uranus and Neptune). I may observe a few minutes after dinner and once the kids homework is done, then maybe 45 minutes before bed.

Start up and shutdown takes all of 30 seconds: Park the mount and close the roof.

Another nice feature is that whenever you have visitors, you have an observatory. Nothing beats stepping outside for a moment to take in Jupiter or Saturn.

A back yard observatory offers the ultimate in flexibility.

I hope this helps and keep us updated if you do install one.

Greg
http://www.sungazer.net/observatory/index.html


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StarWrangler
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/03/04

Loc: Three Rivers, MI U.S.A>
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: thesungazer]
      #5523225 - 11/16/12 05:17 PM Attachment (31 downloads)

Greg,

Cool Floor Matt,

Here's mine,

Alan O.


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thesungazer
Sungazer
*****

Reged: 05/06/03

Loc: Maryland
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: StarWrangler]
      #5523227 - 11/16/12 05:20 PM

LOL! Excellent.

Greg


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Aquarist
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: thesungazer]
      #5523237 - 11/16/12 05:26 PM

Greg, I totally agree. Love seeing yours in pictures. As I go down the implementation path, I will post pictures and I am sure there will be lots of questions. This forum is invaluable for me.

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nytecam
Postmaster


Reged: 08/20/05

Loc: London UK
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5523287 - 11/16/12 06:27 PM

Quote:

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!


The answer is YES but for me, beyond the moon and brighter planets, it's AP in very brief exposures typically ~60s exp [for many targets in an evening!] with a fast f/3.7 SCT via focal reducer to really suck up those faint deepsky photons - check out sig below

ps: I'm in LP London and, to the eye, very few stars are visible but my color cam ignores these conditions to go really deep even at f/10



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Aquarist
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: nytecam]
      #5523311 - 11/16/12 06:46 PM

Quote:

Quote:

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!


The answer is YES but for me, beyond the moon and brighter planets, it's AP in very brief exposures typically ~60s exp [for many targets in an evening!] with a fast f/3.7 SCT via focal reducer to really suck up those faint deepsky photons - check out sig below

ps: I'm in LP London and, to the eye, very few stars are visible but my color cam ignores these conditions to go really deep even at f/10






That is why I hope to go the AP route. Nice image!!!


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Mirzam
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 04/01/08

Loc: Lovettsville, VA
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5523317 - 11/16/12 06:53 PM

I imagine a CDK 17 with a Mallincam would do some pretty serious damage on DSO's

JimC


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Tom and Beth
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/08/07

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Mirzam]
      #5523795 - 11/17/12 02:11 AM

BUILD THE OBSERVATORY.

This really isn't "group think", but having the scope outside, ready to use in minutes, usually equates to more time spent enjoying this hobby. The scope and mount you mentioned would likely sit in a spare bedroom waiting for the 1/2 dozen trips a year...but with the Obs and everything assembled..there is so little you would have to do to be ready...

BTW, this was suggested to me before I built. Put in TWO piers. On the secondary pier put a scope that doesn't need much time to acclimate. This way you have a scope to observe with while the big gun is cooling.

Edited by Tom and Beth (11/17/12 02:12 AM)


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Aquarist
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Tom and Beth]
      #5523877 - 11/17/12 06:42 AM

Quote:


BTW, this was suggested to me before I built. Put in TWO piers. On the secondary pier put a scope that doesn't need much time to acclimate. This way you have a scope to observe with while the big gun is cooling.




Interesting. I was considering a second piggy back scope (possibly solar) to utilize the mount for both but you think that a second pier is better?


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Bob Griffiths
Getting Grouchy
*****

Reged: 10/10/05

Loc: Frederick Maryland
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5523924 - 11/17/12 08:12 AM

YES....
I live about 60 miles from Baltimore and 60 miles from Washington DC ...darn close to a few guys who already have posted that they do not live in "exactly" the darkest places ...

My ED is not entering its 7th full winter and all I can say is BOY AIN'T THE BEER COLD !!!! having an observatory gives you the same type of feeling that an ice cold beer does on a hot summer afternoon

Physical limitations come with age BUT where there is a will there is a way..

Bob G.


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Aquarist
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Bob Griffiths]
      #5523938 - 11/17/12 08:33 AM

There is a will! I think I am being realistic about what I can and cannot do, and an observatory gives me many more viewing days than I would otherwise have. My only concern was the light pollution limiting the usefulness.

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mikey cee
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/18/07

Loc: bellevue ne.
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5524233 - 11/17/12 11:46 AM

Steve...OK it's been several days of answers. Now have you broke ground yet?? You have no more LP than me and I had no option. I wanted an observatory that could be ready at the eyepiece in less than 5 minutes max!! Do it man there ain't no second chance....that I'm sure of. Mike

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Tom and Beth
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/08/07

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5524251 - 11/17/12 11:59 AM Attachment (16 downloads)

Quote:

Quote:


BTW, this was suggested to me before I built. Put in TWO piers. On the secondary pier put a scope that doesn't need much time to acclimate. This way you have a scope to observe with while the big gun is cooling.




Interesting. I was considering a second piggy back scope (possibly solar) to utilize the mount for both but you think that a second pier is better?




"better" is a dangerous word.

I'm also a Visual Observer. Having two piers allows tracking on two differnt objects, and scootong the chair from one pier to anotjer is a non issue. As already mentioned, I can also observe with one while the other is cooling, but that would be true with a smaller scope piggybacked. If I had gotten into pictures, being able to observe while the other mount is collecting photons on a chip is also a bonus.

I CAN tell you that for this Observer, two piers was "better". There have been times I wish I had three.

BTW ,here's the main scope set up for Solar.


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Gastrol
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/04/11

Loc: los angeles
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: mikey cee]
      #5524255 - 11/17/12 12:01 PM

Additionally, if I ever give up this hobby my obs can easily turn into a storage shed.

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