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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Is it worth establishing an observatory?
      #5521590 - 11/15/12 05:16 PM

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!


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ahopp
sage


Reged: 05/24/12

Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5521722 - 11/15/12 06:51 PM

I have seen amazing astrophotography done in light polluted regions. Not sure how visual observing would be.

Tony


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Startraffic
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 02/12/06

Loc: Lat. 39.143345, Long. -77.1748...
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5521758 - 11/15/12 07:17 PM

Aquarist,
Yep, yep, yep, I've had a SkyShed POD-XL3 for the last 4-5 years. My observing time went from 1-2 time a month to 3-4 times a week (whenever the sky was clear). I'm less than 15 miles from DC. google my coords 39.138274 -77.168898

Clear Dark Skies
Startraffic
39.138274 -77.168898
Alt 518ft ASL


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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Startraffic]
      #5521821 - 11/15/12 07:55 PM

Thanks much! My wife is primarily a visual observer. I also really like visual observation but hope to learn how to do AP as well. Planned equipment, by the way, is an AP 1600GTO mount with a Planewave CDK 17 scope.

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shawnhar
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 06/25/10

Loc: Knoxville, TN
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5521857 - 11/15/12 08:21 PM

Quote:

Thanks much! My wife is primarily a visual observer. I also really like visual observation but hope to learn how to do AP as well. Planned equipment, by the way, is an AP 1600GTO mount with a Planewave CDK 17 scope.



Good lord man! with 34 grand between the scope and the mount, I hope you learn to do AP as well!


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Erik30
member


Reged: 10/16/12

Loc: Cottage Grove, MN
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5521873 - 11/15/12 08:30 PM

Quote:

Thanks much! My wife is primarily a visual observer. I also really like visual observation but hope to learn how to do AP as well. Planned equipment, by the way, is an AP 1600GTO mount with a Planewave CDK 17 scope.




An Observatory with an alarm system and a hungry German Shepard sleeping inside... Nice setup!!


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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Erik30]
      #5521878 - 11/15/12 08:38 PM

Actually, Blue, my Shiloh Shepard, weighs in at 154 lbs. He loves intruders and can make it to the back fence in a little less than 4 seconds. No alarm system though!! Yes, I know the equipment is not cheap, but I have always wanted to do this and you cannot take it with you.

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Erik30
member


Reged: 10/16/12

Loc: Cottage Grove, MN
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5521907 - 11/15/12 09:01 PM

A Shiloh... You don't see to many of that breed... Big dogs that look just like a GSD, only more hair!! (Depending on the coat) I love the German Shepard line and have only had a couple chances to see/meet a Shiloh.

Anyway, I think if "I" had that setup I would build an Ob.. You would use it a lot more as Startraffic has pointed out. And with the investment for the mount and scope I think it is an insurance measure also.


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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Erik30]
      #5521943 - 11/15/12 09:23 PM

Blue is the short hair variety (as opposed to the long hair variety). Looks more like a wolf than GSD primarily because the back is level rather than sloped. Shoulder is 31 inches which means he is able to table surf.

The observatory will allow me to make a permanent mount and also will provide better cooling than taking the scope from inside to outside. (It does have fans, however) Since my physical abilities are diminished, life will be a lot easier and more observation days should result.


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Raginar
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5522090 - 11/15/12 11:04 PM

Definitely worth an observatory. If you can drop 34k on scope/mount, an observatory is a cheap investment to ensure you get your money's worth out of it. I went from 5-10 days a month with my mount outide to just about every clear night available with my current setup.

Good luck!


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mikey cee
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/18/07

Loc: bellevue ne.
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Raginar]
      #5522105 - 11/15/12 11:16 PM

Cash is one thing going into debt...entirely different animal with that tidy sum. Killjoy Mike

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frolinmod
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/06/10

Loc: Southern California
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: mikey cee]
      #5522137 - 11/15/12 11:50 PM

With an observatory and automation hardware and software you don't even have to be awake to do imaging. Combine that with narrow band filters and you can take spectacular images from the heart of the city.

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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]
      #5522152 - 11/16/12 12:08 AM

Hi Aquarist,

Click on the kink below my name to see a wide
varity of alternative observatory designs and soultions.

Alan O.


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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]
      #5522156 - 11/16/12 12:12 AM

My wife and I live in Albuquerque nm and we are
suprised to see stars and even Orion in the middle of the city.

If I had a house here instead of living in a apartment
I would have an observatory.


Alan O.


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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: StarWrangler]
      #5522332 - 11/16/12 06:56 AM

Quote:

My wife and I live in Albuquerque nm and we are
suprised to see stars and even Orion in the middle of the city.

If I had a house here instead of living in a apartment
I would have an observatory.


Alan O.




Wow, great information sources! Thanks.


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1617
member


Reged: 04/28/06

Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5522412 - 11/16/12 08:17 AM

Absolutely. Get in touch with Scott Horstman at Backyard Observatories. He'll get you set up and you won't even know you're near the city.

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JJK
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 04/28/08

Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: StarWrangler]
      #5522490 - 11/16/12 09:11 AM

Quote:

My wife and I live in Albuquerque nm and we are
suprised to see stars and even Orion in the middle of the city.

If I had a house here instead of living in a apartment
I would have an observatory.


Alan O.




Move to Grants, NM.


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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
*****

Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5522495 - 11/16/12 09:16 AM

Here is Neil Fleming's webpage. His imaging was done from downtown Boston. Mostly narrowband, but it can be done with excellent results.

As far as an obs is concerned and especially considering the size of the hardware in your plans, a 10X10 rolloff roof would be terrific! And it will make it MUCH easier to decide if you're going to get out. I have an 8X8 and regret not making it 10X10.

David


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bunyon
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/23/10

Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: JJK]
      #5522498 - 11/16/12 09:20 AM

I'm an observatory forum lurker who hopes to one day become a participant.

My only 2 cents here is that, in my opinion, an observatory is more important for AP than visual. Precise tracking isn't necessary for visual work but if you wind up having to go through polar alignment every time you image (ahem, as I do), it gets to be a pain and can seriously cut into data acquisition time. With an observatory, you can spend a moonlit evening getting the polar alignment, balance, etc. nailed and not have to deal with it again.

Also, I've found simply getting a little older makes hauling all the gear out less fun. If you have more serious physical limitations, it would give you some relief in that regard as well.

So, like the others, it sounds to me like it would make a lot of sense for you to have an observatory. Cheers.


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Jeff B
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 12/30/06

Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5522550 - 11/16/12 10:02 AM

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!




Yes!


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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
scholastic sledgehammer


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
scholastic sledgehammer


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
scholastic sledgehammer


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
scholastic sledgehammer


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
scholastic sledgehammer


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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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: mikey cee]
      #5524260 - 11/17/12 12:07 PM

Quote:

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




Building permit is applied for which should be available next week if they do it in the time frame they promise. Just waiting for that before getting my ATS pier ordered (which takes three months). But I do have a question or two for you: do you do AP and visually how much can you see?


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Lorence
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/15/08

Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5524405 - 11/17/12 01:51 PM

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?




Put a little thought into climate control of the observatory. I did and have no temperature issues, even on the hottest summer days. Spend what you have to during construction and get the most from your investment or live with the problems for the life of the observatory.


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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Lorence]
      #5524562 - 11/17/12 03:24 PM

Quote:

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?




Put a little thought into climate control of the observatory. I did and have no temperature issues, even on the hottest summer days. Spend what you have to during construction and get the most from your investment or live with the problems for the life of the observatory.




An excellent point that is well addressed in your website. I will plan accordingly (although I am using a dome)


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Calypte
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: thesungazer]
      #5524875 - 11/17/12 06:49 PM

Greg, anybody, what are you doing with the cables between the computer and scope? Are you using USB cables, where applicable?

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mikey cee
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/18/07

Loc: bellevue ne.
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5524878 - 11/17/12 06:51 PM

Quote:

Quote:

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




Building permit is applied for which should be available next week if they do it in the time frame they promise. Just waiting for that before getting my ATS pier ordered (which takes three months). But I do have a question or two for you: do you do AP and visually how much can you see?


No I have not started any AP as of yet. I'm more visual. But I'll take the word's of others that say I'd be able to in these urban skies.....when I get good and ready. Mike

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thesungazer
Sungazer
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Reged: 05/06/03

Loc: Maryland
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Calypte]
      #5525022 - 11/17/12 08:17 PM

The cables (DC power, serial, USB) are not installed in that shot, Calypte. They're currently zip tied to the pier and run below the carpet. That keeps me from tripping over them at night.

Congrats on the permit, Steve. You're going to love it! Keep this thread going when you start to build. Watching people build their observatories here on CN is one of my favorite pastimes on the net.

Greg


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Calypte
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: thesungazer]
      #5525054 - 11/17/12 08:42 PM

Greg, I'm about to have an observatory built. The guys are supposed to be here as soon as tomorrow afternoon Up to now, I've been able to use pretty short cables. But when the observatory is finished, I'd like to run them under the carpet/mat, as you suggest. But I haven't seen USB cables long enough to do the job. Maybe there's an industrial source (as opposed to Staples, Best Buy, etc.).

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Starhawk
Space Ranger
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Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5525288 - 11/17/12 11:33 PM

I'm sorry, did you say you already have an AP 1600 GTO and a CDK 17 and you *HOPE* to get into AP? Holy cats, what are you going to do if you get into it? Launch your own space telescope?

-Rich

Quote:

Thanks much! My wife is primarily a visual observer. I also really like visual observation but hope to learn how to do AP as well. Planned equipment, by the way, is an AP 1600GTO mount with a Planewave CDK 17 scope.




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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5525575 - 11/18/12 06:22 AM

We originally got interested in astronomy because of visual observation and we both enjoy that. Over time, I became interested in AP but there is a pretty significant learning curve there.

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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5525829 - 11/18/12 10:38 AM

This is true. AP isn't easy.

-Rich


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Phil Wheeler
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/31/05

Loc: 3 miles WNW of Celestron
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Calypte]
      #5526568 - 11/18/12 06:29 PM

Quote:

But I haven't seen USB cables long enough to do the job. Maybe there's an industrial source (as opposed to Staples, Best Buy, etc.).




Anza, great location near OCA site. For cables you might want to try Amazon.


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Mirzam
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Reged: 04/01/08

Loc: Lovettsville, VA
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Phil Wheeler]
      #5526584 - 11/18/12 06:35 PM

USB 2 is limited to 5 meters cable length. To go longer you need to use either a powered hub to boost the signal or individual cables with a built-in signal booster. I've used the booster cables to go a few meters further than the standard 5 m. (This gets me into my warm room which is mighty nice at this time of year.)

JimC


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Calypte
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Phil Wheeler]
      #5527058 - 11/18/12 11:17 PM

Quote:

Anza, great location near OCA site. For cables you might want to try Amazon.



You're right about Amazon. Lots of long cables. I'm east of OCA site, in Terwilliger Valley. There's a weather station at our house: www.weathercurrents.com/anza/


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nytecam
Postmaster


Reged: 08/20/05

Loc: London UK
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5527364 - 11/19/12 05:56 AM

Quote:

We originally got interested in astronomy because of visual observation and we both enjoy that. Over time, I became interested in AP but there is a pretty significant learning curve there.


An intermediate step to AP is astrovideo which can start at a modest <$80 in NLTech CCTV cam giving a max 17s exp [see V&EAA forum] - needs a 12VDC to power and TV monitor for display and will outperform the eye on DSOs - 'cos the eye [great that it is] sees no more after ~1/25sec

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ZeroID
sage


Reged: 04/21/10

Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5528998 - 11/19/12 10:35 PM

Quote:

This is true. AP isn't easy.

-Rich




Yes, but when the skies are cloudy you have hours of fun playing with your images getting the best out of them.


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Lorence
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/15/08

Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: ZeroID]
      #5530405 - 11/20/12 03:21 PM Attachment (14 downloads)

Quote:

Quote:

This is true. AP isn't easy.

-Rich




Yes, but when the skies are cloudy you have hours of fun playing with your images getting the best out of them.




There's plenty of fun to be had getting the best you can out of live images.

This isn't too shabby for three minutes of my time.


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Mike I. Jones
Post Laureate
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Reged: 07/02/06

Loc: Fort Worth TX
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Lorence]
      #5533029 - 11/21/12 10:10 PM

Steve,
Go, have someone build you a nice roomy observatory, starting TOMORROW! The heaviest thing you will lift is the key from your pocket to open the door! There's just nothing like walking out to a scope ready to use, polar aligned to single arc-seconds, and all your gear neatly organized.
Mike


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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
*****

Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Mike I. Jones]
      #5533038 - 11/21/12 10:15 PM

I'm attempting an image of M45 at the moment. It took me about 20 minutes to get everything clicking. Again, the best $1200 I've spent for this hobby.

David


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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: Lorence]
      #5533056 - 11/21/12 10:32 PM

"My God, It's Full Of Stars"

Alan O.


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Mittag56
sage


Reged: 07/08/09

Loc: West Amboy, N.Y.
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5533559 - 11/22/12 09:03 AM

My goodness yes....I've been disabled for 9 years and it crimped my observing allot.....new building for observatory use, has added so much more...things can stay set up....everything is there...no finding a helping hand to carry or assemble...must say from my side of the fence...best addition ever.....

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CounterWeight
Postmaster
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Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Palo alto, CA.
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5533726 - 11/22/12 10:49 AM

Short answer, IMO absolutely yes!. I'm a bit disabled and it makes all the difference. As David posted, it may be the best $$ you spend in the hobby, that is how I feel. I also in an LP city environment. Amazingly a neighbor about 2 blocks away saw mine and now has his own - his is much nicer.

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tomo
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 06/14/10

Loc: Shelby Twp, Mi
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5533733 - 11/22/12 10:54 AM

Having a dome is the best decision I made. It allows instant access and increase my time under stars 10x easily.

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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
*****

Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5534554 - 11/22/12 10:25 PM

Quote:

Short answer, IMO absolutely yes!. I'm a bit disabled and it makes all the difference. As David posted, it may be the best $$ you spend in the hobby, that is how I feel. I also in an LP city environment. Amazingly a neighbor about 2 blocks away saw mine and now has his own - his is much nicer.




I had to chuckle just a little when I read your post saying your neighbor's obs was nicer than yours. Mine is as spartan as it gets. It's painted nicely and looks nice on the outside, but if you were to remove the astrohardware and the carpeting, my obs interior would be no different than a typical garden shed. However, it's water tight and has withstood three hurricanes. Besides, when all is going well, I don't spend a lot of time in it. I imaged M45 last night and it took about 20 minutes to start exposing. I went out a little over two hours later, made some flats and bias frames and came in and went to bed.

If I had to tear stuff down and move it into the house, I'd have been out there a LOT longer. If you're so inclined, build yourself an obs.

David


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Dan McConaughy
sage


Reged: 11/11/06

Loc: LA
Re: Is it worth establishing an observatory? new [Re: Jeff B]
      #5537953 - 11/24/12 10:23 PM

Absolutely. It's no more than a 5 minute setup to observe and shut down, which includes covering the mount and OTA with a couple sheets to minimize dust on them. If you have guests over to observe, you should get something like the 11.5' observatory as it will hold a large cassegrain and several people. I live outside Los Angeles; so it's probably darker where you are.

Edited by Dan McConaughy (11/24/12 10:26 PM)


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