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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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Footbag
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Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing?
      #5615152 - 01/10/13 09:57 AM

I was browsing the BYO site and I see they have installed prices for their observatories. The prices seem very reasonable or at least less then a local builder would charge me.
Are there any other charges that aren't spelled out? It seems like a low amount for them to come from Ohio to build it and then return home. Unless of course the delivery charges bump the price up.
Has anyone used BYO? How quick was it? Tips?
I seems to remember them being at NEAF. I'm going to try and get all of my research done by then and get the ball going at NEAF.
Does anyone know of any builders who have built observatories in northeast PA?


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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5615201 - 01/10/13 10:31 AM Attachment (84 downloads)

Adam, you cannot go wrong with Scott at BYO! I have one of his; a Dobservatory. He built it in one weekend! He's very meticulous about little details, and does absolutely quality craftsmanship! I'd suggest you get in touch with them to discuss any questions you may have. You will get either Scott or his lovely wife, Diane replying. They are the most cordial, helpful people you will ever meet. He has built around 175 observatories around the country, so he's not a beginner!

Check out the Vendor Forum here (down at the bottom of the page); he's got a new thread there.

Here's mine.


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1965healy
The Snarkster
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Reged: 06/23/07

Loc: San Antonio, TX
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5615230 - 01/10/13 10:49 AM

BYO built my Obs a few years back and I' totally satisfied with the price/process and Obs. I'll expand on that a bit.

The price: I think he can keep this well controlled and reasonable because he knows what to do/expect. He's built hundreds of them.
Mine was anything but a "standard" build and he still kept the price fair.

The process: we disussed the build on the phone, via e-mail and even a
bit here on the CN site in this forum. Again, mine was not a typical Obs,
the plan was to "punch a hole" in an existing structure and build a roof top ROR. Scott had been there and done that before. No problem.

Timing: he usually tries to schedule a series of builds that allow him to keep travel time and costs down. He built a couple more Obs here in TX on his trip. He's very up front about timing/scheduling. The build itself in spite of being a bit unusual took less than 3days.

In the end I'm very happy with the experience and the results. I would do it again in a heartbeat!


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Footbag
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Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: 1965healy]
      #5615323 - 01/10/13 11:30 AM

Do they need much info on the site? Do they get permits? About how long would the planning take?

I'll probably contact him, I was hoping to make one trip up to the site to take some photos and measurements.


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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5615385 - 01/10/13 12:02 PM

Again, they are just a phone call, or an e-mail away; to answer any questions you may have. Scott & Diane are also both members of CN.

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Footbag
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Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5615391 - 01/10/13 12:04 PM

I e-mailed them. Just looking for opinions on the process from the customers end.

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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Loc: montana
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5615404 - 01/10/13 12:12 PM

In my case; they knew nothing about the site, simply what was needed as far as observatory size. All lumber was purchased locally. In my area there were no building permits required.

It's difficult for us to answer questions that only Scott (BYO) should be answering, as I'm sure there are different circumstances for different builds that he has to take into consideration.


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Gargoyle
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Reged: 03/13/08

Loc: Long Island, New York
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5615574 - 01/10/13 01:44 PM

Adam,

Scott and crew installed my observatory coming on two years now (No. 150!). These guys are consummate professionals. They arrive with a plan based on your design and their cumulative experience, and adjust if need be with barely a hiccup. All costs are documented up front and are exactly as quoted. Scott manages his costs by purchasing supplies local if he can and by routing his installs to regions.

Straight stuff Adam, the most positive influence on my viewing has been having that observatory built by (in my opinion) the best observatory builders you can hire today. Scott and the guys from BYO are just good guys who return 100% + value for your cost. Very trustworthy and solid people.

Give him a call or email him with your thoughts and plans. Why wait to NEAF?

Jerry


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Calypte
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Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Gargoyle]
      #5615789 - 01/10/13 03:59 PM

BYO built an observatory for me two months ago. In addition to the listed price, I was charged "mileage," which was split with another project they were doing in NM. Of course, all of this is agreed upon ahead of time. Scott & Don showed up on a Sunday afternoon, unloaded some materials, and they went to work the following morning. In 2-1/2 days my observatory was finished. A friend who knows construction looked at it, and he thinks BYO did a great job. However, you're on your own for permits. I intentionally kept my project smaller than 120 sq ft, so that it could be just a "storage shed." Also, since they are unlicensed in my state (Calif.), I would be potentially liable if one of them were injured on the job. Individual homeowners are usually protected if the contractor is licensed, at least in Calif. The situation may be different in your state.

Edited to add: I sent Scott photos of the concrete slab well before they came out. When the slab was installed, I got Scott on the phone with my cement guy to be sure there was a mutual understanding about what was needed.

Edited by Calypte (01/10/13 04:09 PM)


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Footbag
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Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Calypte]
      #5615825 - 01/10/13 04:20 PM

Quote:

BYO built an observatory for me two months ago. In addition to the listed price, I was charged "mileage," which was split with another project they were doing in NM. Of course, all of this is agreed upon ahead of time. Scott & Don showed up on a Sunday afternoon, unloaded some materials, and they went to work the following morning. In 2-1/2 days my observatory was finished. A friend who knows construction looked at it, and he thinks BYO did a great job. However, you're on your own for permits. I intentionally kept my project smaller than 120 sq ft, so that it could be just a "storage shed." Also, since they are unlicensed in my state (Calif.), I would be potentially liable if one of them were injured on the job. Individual homeowners are usually protected if the contractor is licensed, at least in Calif. The situation may be different in your state.

Edited to add: I sent Scott photos of the concrete slab well before they came out. When the slab was installed, I got Scott on the phone with my cement guy to be sure there was a mutual understanding about what was needed.




Thanks. That answered a lot of my questions. Did they suggest you pour the slab without them? I was wondering what they did while waiting for the concrete to set.


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Calypte
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Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5615890 - 01/10/13 04:59 PM

Our observatory slab was poured two months before BYO came out. We had the slab poured as an addendum to a patio & walkway project. I think BYO can build a deck, maybe a slab, but I'd check with them about that. I don't know what they would do if they had to wait for the concrete to set. They used locally-bought Quik-Crete for the telescope pier footing and outrigger footings. For my own benefit, I wanted to get the project underway, to get it out of the hypothetical category ("Someday, I'm going to build an observatory!"). Also, I wanted to be able to send photos of the finished slab to Scott to show that I was serious, that I wasn't just wasting everybody's time with queries about something that wasn't going to happen. That was my concern, not necessarily relevant to anyone else. I did check with another observatory vendor (not Sky Shed; they don't come to Calif.), and it would have cost something like $14k for a smaller, less-attractive building, and reports here about the unresponsiveness of that vendor also put him out of the running.

Some people have suggested that I could have done the whole thing on my own for a lot less money. Probably true. I looked at a lot of photos of other personal observatory projects. I saw any number of steps where I might lose enthusiasm for the project or perhaps "settle" for something substandard, because doing it right would be beyond my confidence level, and I'd have to puzzle over the next step. Also, I could see that dumping a load of lumber in my driveway would still leave me months or years from getting it done. I'm 69 now (68 when the obs. was built), and I don't have a lot of "somedays" remaining. I wanted it done. These guys have built a lot of them (mine is no. 173), and they know exactly what to do. There's no wasted motion.


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Footbag
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Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Calypte]
      #5615925 - 01/10/13 05:29 PM

I was considering building it myself. In fact, I was about to start digging a hole for the pier when my back went out. It was then that my contractor neighbor convinced me I didn't want to do it myself.

But I also know that If I pay someone to do it, it will get done quickly. If I do it myself, it could take forever.


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Calypte
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Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5616178 - 01/10/13 07:59 PM

Quote:

But I also know that If I pay someone to do it, it will get done quickly. If I do it myself, it could take forever.



Everybody has to judge their own ability and persistence for something like this. I see pix of lots of beautiful, completed, user-built observatories. I didn't see my own picture being among them. BTW, I thought they would pour the pier first. They did it last. My cement guy left a 16x16-inch aperture in the slab (per specification), and Scott dug it out after almost everything else was finished.


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BKBrown
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Reged: 08/23/09

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Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5616207 - 01/10/13 08:20 PM Attachment (39 downloads)

BYO is a thoroughly professional outfit, and I encountered zero issues with "hidden costs"...everything was laid out and agreed upon up front. Scott and Don are first class craftsmen and knocked the whole thing out in three days, start to finish. IMO they are the gold standard for amateur observatories. Here is a link to my project, Beaglehaven Observatory BYO #168, it pretty well documents the entire process: http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/5275087/page... Good luck!

Clear Skies,
Brian

Edited by BKBrown (01/10/13 08:22 PM)


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Footbag
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Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: BKBrown]
      #5616303 - 01/10/13 09:28 PM

I can see they do nice work. Along with their craftsmanship, I may need their advice as I have two potential sites each with their own set of challenges.

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Digital Don
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Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5616323 - 01/10/13 09:42 PM Attachment (44 downloads)

Hi Adam,

BYO addresses the delivery charges on their website: "The Observatory shipping/delivery charge is not included in the prices listed but will be included in your quote." The delivery price was reasonable and I imagine it varies with distance.

Mount Jennings Observatory was number 100 for BYO and it's been one of the best astronomy related purchase I've made!

The real 'bottom line' is that you'll observe much more with an observatory than without one. Period.

Don


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Calypte
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Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5616348 - 01/10/13 09:54 PM Attachment (60 downloads)

Anza Gap Observatory exterior:

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Calypte
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Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Calypte]
      #5616349 - 01/10/13 09:54 PM Attachment (50 downloads)

Anza Gap Observatory interior:

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Calypte
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Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Calypte]
      #5616352 - 01/10/13 09:55 PM Attachment (55 downloads)

Anza Gap Observatory open for business:

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Calypte
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Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Calypte]
      #5616362 - 01/10/13 10:00 PM Attachment (47 downloads)

Anza Gap Observatory slab:

Edited by Calypte (01/10/13 10:00 PM)


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Calypte
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Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Calypte]
      #5616580 - 01/11/13 01:08 AM

Adam, I apologize for taking over the thread, but there are three other things I wanted to mention.

(1) In these tiny buildings, every inch of space counts. I added 2 ft of length, making the obs. 9-6 x 11-6, still keeping it under 120 sq ft. The two extra feet cost an additional $450. Since I was already down a lot of money for the project, I couldn't see nickel & dime-ing what I really wanted. I did, however, forego the motorized roof $1100), and I may yet regret that decision. It takes a good pull to get the roof rolling.

(2) Scott & Don came in a big Chevy pickup with a trailer of the type you might use for moving, about the size of a large horse trailer. I have a lot of space on the property (2.73 acres). I chose the observatory site so that the house would block a particularly annoying bright light, but also it was already cleared off, and it was easy for the guys to get back there to do the work.

(3) I considered a dome. A friend has an Explora-Dome, and it's really very nice. Three things made the decision for a roll-off instead of a dome: (i) I didn't want to attract unwanted attention by having something that looked like an observatory. (ii) My friend's Explora-Dome requires some calculations and data entry to get the rotation correctly synchronized with the scope. He said he had some trouble getting it right. Since I'll be swapping scopes occasionally, I wasn't sure I could get it working with all three scopes. I didn't want to have to worry about it. (iii) His door requires bending over to crawl through. At 69, I don't want to bend over if I don't have to. However, the Explora-Dome provides more protection against dewing of the optics, more protection from wind, and a view down to the horizon. I agonized a long time about the pier height. I finally went with BYO's standard 42 in. No, I can't see the horizon (except south; I got the fold-down south wall), but for imaging it doesn't matter. I'm not going to shoot down there anyway, and I gain some wind protection. It was important to me to get the fold-down south wall, but it turns out that I haven't used it except to view Canopus from inside the observatory. I may gain some galaxies in Fornax and Eridanus.


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Footbag
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Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Calypte]
      #5616942 - 01/11/13 09:56 AM

Thanks for all of the info. I appreciate all of the details and pictures. I think I also have a better understanding about the logistics of how they operate.

I have to say, I'm excited to get this underway; but not at all confident in my location selection or planning ability.

Below is a picture of the location. It will either be on a raised deck right up against the house where the gas tank is, or in the center of the lawn with all effort put into maintaining the view from the windows you can see behind the landscaping.

I'd like the roof to roll south, but I also want maximum southern view. That is what I don't have in town.

I'd also like a warm room to be placed within the frame for the roll off roof. And I'd love to do it in an 8X10 structure.



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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5616977 - 01/11/13 10:26 AM

Quote:

I'd like the roof to roll south, but I also want maximum southern view.




If your roof rolls south, it will definitely block some of your southern view! I had mine roll west, as there's a mountain that partially blocked the horizon, so the roof didn't take any sky away. My walls are around 3' high, to give me maximum view with my dob; therefore, a Dobservatory.


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1965healy
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Loc: San Antonio, TX
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5617019 - 01/11/13 10:51 AM

Is there attic/finished space in the part of the structure to the right of the propane tank? If so you could use it as your warm room and a way to access the Obs which could be built on a deck above where the propane tank is.

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Footbag
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Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: 1965healy]
      #5617038 - 01/11/13 11:02 AM

Quote:

Is there attic/finished space in the part of the structure to the right of the propane tank? If so you could use it as your warm room and a way to access the Obs which could be built on a deck above where the propane tank is.




Yes. Actually, the window above the gas tank is my bedroom. I could use it as a warm room, but wouldn't easily be able to get there from the observatory. This is a very old log cabin. We won't be allowed to cut any logs.

I just had a discussion with my parents, who own the property and will have veto power over the location. They also prefer the gas tank area. My initial concern was their view from their bedroom, and that has become their main concern.

If I were to put it by the house, I just wonder how you would deal with the roof transitions. This is why I need a professionals guidance.

I really hate to say this, because I don't like them; but a dome might make this a lot easier.


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1965healy
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Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5617096 - 01/11/13 11:36 AM

PM sent.

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Footbag
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Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: 1965healy]
      #5617144 - 01/11/13 11:58 AM

Quote:

PM sent.




Coincidentally, I was just showing the Google overhead view to my parents. I put two red squares in there to show you the spots.

For scale, there is a golf cart in the front yard. It is 8' long.



Edited by Footbag (01/11/13 11:59 AM)


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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5617169 - 01/11/13 12:18 PM

Which direction is South, on this image?

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Footbag
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Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5617173 - 01/11/13 12:21 PM

My bad. South is down.

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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Loc: montana
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5617189 - 01/11/13 12:27 PM

No problem Yes, that would be the best way for the roof to roll off; however, it looks like your southern view will be blocked considerably by the buildings.

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1965healy
The Snarkster
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Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5617195 - 01/11/13 12:30 PM

I'm guessing South is at the top? Hard to figure out the lot lines on anything but the right/East side. Is that your driveway on the NE corner? Will you get a lot of light from the house to the right? Just checked your post and I'm backwards. Based on the image/orientation you're going to have a view of a pine tree and the house to the south. Your horizon will be maybe 60 degrees?

Edited by 1965healey (01/11/13 12:36 PM)


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Footbag
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Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: 1965healy]
      #5617241 - 01/11/13 12:57 PM

In the summer, there is a lot of light coming from the neighbors house on the left side. They have lots and lots of bright landscape lighting. There are very few winter residents, so it will be very dark in the winter.

The very top of the picture is the lake. The building at the top is a boathouse. Everything slopes towards the lake.

I will not have a great horizon, butI think it will be better then 60 degrees. It is much darker then where I typically image from. And I think most of my targets will be high in the sky when I'm imaging them.

Truth is, if I had a better location, I'd use it. But as for now, I just want a way to image without setting up. I have back problems and when it goes out, I can't do anything. I'd love to be able to do some remote imaging in those cases. And in the winter, I hate running out into the cold to setup and breakdown.


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1965healy
The Snarkster
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Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: 1965healy]
      #5617259 - 01/11/13 01:10 PM

Where is the lot line to the left of the house?

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Footbag
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Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: 1965healy]
      #5617265 - 01/11/13 01:15 PM

6 feet from the house. There is no room on that side.

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1965healy
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Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: 1965healy]
      #5617317 - 01/11/13 01:51 PM

Dome vs ROR debate
Dome is a smaller footprint
Less ambient LP with a dome
More of a DIY project
But
Small footprint equals cramped unless you go big
Access is thru a small door in the base
No warm room so you're in ambient temps unless you automate it
Slot/mount sync is critical
Obvious to all what's inside

ROR less cramped
Tracking is in a wide open environment
Entry/exit thru a regular door
Looks like a shed/outbuilding

Larger footprint
Stick built not a DIY for most folks

Both can be automated for remote use from inside the house or from a distant location


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Footbag
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Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: 1965healy]
      #5617338 - 01/11/13 02:07 PM

Yeah, I don't like anything about the dome option, except the smaller footprint.

And since it's a winter home, I am concerned with theft in the winter. It will have an alarm/security system, but a lot of damage could be done in the meantime.


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1965healy
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Loc: San Antonio, TX
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5617383 - 01/11/13 02:39 PM

Talk to Scott @BYO, their M1 Automation has security feature as well.

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1965healy
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Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: 1965healy]
      #5617403 - 01/11/13 02:51 PM

Don't know if you're anywhere near Kimberton, PA but check out this site. Automated BYO Obs.
http://darkhorseobservatory.org/index.php


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Calypte
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5617424 - 01/11/13 03:03 PM

If I had a dome, the ideal for me would be to have an elevated observing floor, accessed by a short interior stairway, thus allowing for a standard height entry door. The dome itself and pier would be higher, of course, to accommodate this. In my mind's eye I see something like the old 18-inch Schmidt dome at Palomar Obs. (I work there as a volunteer). Such a dome would definitely look like an observatory. There'd be no hiding it.

For location on the property, it sounds like you have some domestic negotiations to resolve, and I don't think I can help you. We're retired. Our vegetation is variously described as high chaparral or desert transition (elev. about 3930 ft.). The property slopes gently to the south. The previous owner had to have some of the vegetation cleared for fire protection, so I have several suitable observatory sites. That was a major factor in choosing this property. My chosen observatory site was to deal with that @#$% light to the southeast, but, once up, I discovered another annoying light, to the southwest. Sigh! It's probably 1/2 mile away, so it could be lots worse. Provided the south wall is up, the observatory walls block all exterior lights and the distant urban light domes. I was worried about interior lights from my own house, but they haven't been an issue.

My roof rolls north. Polaris barely clears the peak of the roof, as viewed from the scope. You'll gain by Polaris being higher, assuming that part of the sky is important to you.

Edited to add: my friend's Explora-Dome is 10 ft diameter. The footprint is actually smaller than mine (78 sq ft vs 109 sq ft), plus some of the floor is under the sloping outer parts of the building. OTOH, he can leave his cope in the upright position (equivalent to A-P's "Park 3"), so it's easier to walk around the scope. One advantage of a dome is that you have protection for much of your gear if a sudden storm comes over. Before I had the observatory, I had my scope set up under a Tele Gizmos-type cover, and a storm that all of the weather forecasts had ignored moved up from Baja Calif. and soaked my gear. The scope & mount were OK, but I thought my computer was fried. It was a couple of days before it came back to life. A dome would have protected it; my roll-off is no better than what I had before.

Further edited: The scope wasn't under the cover at the time of the storm, of course. It was imaging in perfect conditions most of the night.

Edited by Calypte (01/12/13 01:01 AM)


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Footbag
Postmaster
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Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Calypte]
      #5617663 - 01/11/13 05:51 PM

A good location and plan will solve the domestic issues. If it goes over by the gas tank, that problem is solved.

It will be raised up higher and I will have a better view of the sky and likely Polaris, although I have less interest in imaging the northern targets. The trees to the north just reveal Polaris when I'm on the ground, but it's possible the gas tank is in just the wrong place to see Polaris. That wouldn't really bother me.

I typically image from the box in the center of the lawn area. To the SE and SW there are some trees, but there is a pocket between them which will give me a few hours on the further south targets.

I'm wondering whether the roof line of the house could maybe be extended over the observatory and then a further rolling roof extension could be put on top of that. Or whether it's better to keep them completely separate. I'm not a builder or architect, so I don't know.


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rimcrazy
sage


Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Overgaard, AZ
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5617710 - 01/11/13 06:19 PM

Quote:

It will have an alarm/security system, but a lot of damage could be done in the meantime.




My home/observatory is in a remote location. I have a security system but what I really rely on is I have very visible active security camera system everywhere along with the necessary signs indicated 24 hour video surveillance. All of my doors have steel security doors which cannot be kicked in. I can and do regularly monitor my home from 130 miles away in Phoenix. I have been the victim of theft and break-ins a few times in Phoenix. You cannot stop someone if they are bound and determined to break in. What you can do is make your residence extremely undesirable and difficult. This makes your neighbors a much more likely target and not you. Sad, but it is the truth. Most break-ins are by addicts looking for a quick dash to get cash. My observatory is a dome with one entrance. It has a steel security door. The building is 10' high to the bottom of the dome and essentially un-scaleable without a ladder. Not foolproof, nothing is but pretty darn difficult.

Edited by rimcrazy (01/11/13 06:37 PM)


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stmguy
sage


Reged: 10/11/12

Loc: Western NH
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: rimcrazy]
      #5618502 - 01/12/13 06:25 AM

My conventional roof observatory might fit your needs , it isn't perfect and I'd do some things different if I started over. It does give you the protection of a dome while not looking like one.
http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/5466873/page...

Norm


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droid
rocketman
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Reged: 08/29/04

Loc: Conneaut, Ohio
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: stmguy]
      #5620208 - 01/13/13 05:57 AM

Little late, but one more testomonial for BYO. Scott and Don showed up with truck and trailer, and four or five hours later tops, drove away. Mine was a very basic model, so didnt require a lot of extras.If I ever have another one built ,it will only be bye BYO

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raf1
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/18/05

Loc: south Texas
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: droid]
      #5621137 - 01/13/13 04:14 PM

Quote:

Little late, but one more testimonial for BYO.




No surprises, great workmanship and drama-free. Just the way I like it!


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Footbag
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Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: raf1]
      #5621376 - 01/13/13 06:16 PM

I made a pano of the observatory location. I know, no sky, I didn't take the pics. You can see where the trees are, just not their tops.

http://i288.photobucket.com/albums/ll175/Footbag01/Untitled_Panorama1_zps1154...


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1965healy
The Snarkster
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Reged: 06/23/07

Loc: San Antonio, TX
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5621457 - 01/13/13 07:04 PM

Hmmmm. If you built it even/level with the porch you could walk right into it w/o getting out into the elements, have a short run for electrical and use your bedroom as your control/warm room. You could probably follow the pitch of the porch roof and have a sloped rather than gable roof. You could slide it north along the wall of the house. Done nicely it coud have log posts and be stained to match the house. I'm pretty sure Scott has built at least one log cabin Obs. They do make split log siding so you might be able to make it look pretty unobtrusive, he matched my shingles and siding on my Obs to my 70+ year old house almost exactly. If you retire the Obs it could be used for storage, a potting shed or a play house. The parental units would probably be happier if it looked like it belonged there.

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Footbag
Postmaster
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Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: 1965healy]
      #5621551 - 01/13/13 08:08 PM

Quote:

Hmmmm. If you built it even/level with the porch you could walk right into it w/o getting out into the elements, have a short run for electrical and use your bedroom as your control/warm room. You could probably follow the pitch of the porch roof and have a sloped rather than gable roof. You could slide it north along the wall of the house. Done nicely it coud have log posts and be stained to match the house. I'm pretty sure Scott has built at least one log cabin Obs. They do make split log siding so you might be able to make it look pretty unobtrusive, he matched my shingles and siding on my Obs to my 70+ year old house almost exactly. If you retire the Obs it could be used for storage, a potting shed or a play house. The parental units would probably be happier if it looked like it belonged there.




That is a very good idea if it is possible. We used log looking siding on the other side of the house. I think that's probably what you are referring to as split log, and it blend nicely. I really like the idea of combining that with log posts. I won't be able to cut logs form the porch, but I could probably hop over onto the observatory deck.

I do have to be careful through. I picked April because that's when I'd have the budget. If it gets to be a much larger project, I'll have to save for a bit longer.


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bluestar
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/06/05

Loc: Maryland Eastern Shore
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5630583 - 01/18/13 09:02 PM

Scott and crew built my observatory some years ago and it's a dream. Being a visual observer w/portable piers we did the slab ourselves. Scott "bundled" his trip to the Mid Atlantic to coincide with a build just up the road in Philadelphia...saves costs! Predesigned via his plans, he had some of the wall sections pre-assembled in the trailer and purchased odds and ends locally. I made recommendations re nice but economic overnight motels in town...everything lined up ahead of time. Costs were right on the $$ with NO surprises...except some late mods where, after seeing the site, Scott felt I didn't need the fold-down wall and built it solid...and he was right!

My signature has the archived CN thread w/BO and our build experience. BEST thing I ever did. I still pinch myself out there at night to be sure I'm not dreaming.


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TCW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/05/13

Loc: The North 40
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Calypte]
      #6255231 - 12/15/13 08:58 PM

The issues with out of state contractors in California are these. If they have workers comp then you would be covered in the case of an injury, just get proof. Technically it would be illegal to hire them if they are not CA State licensed. That would be a judgment call depending on how rigid your local building department is and if your neighbors are tattletales. If you are concerned about the licensing it might be possible to have them work under a local CA licensed contractor. Liability insurance would be good but not necessarily mandatory; it just depends on your level of comfort.

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