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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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rlandsboro
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Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
TamarackSkies Observatory build pics
      #5734770 - 03/15/13 07:40 PM Attachment (283 downloads)

I have enjoyed the pics of others' builds so much that I must reciprocate.

TamarackSkies Observatory will be an on-roof dome build with an isolated concrete pier. A few of these pics were posted elsewhere, but I will try to consolidate the build pics here.

Here is an early pic of the foundation with pier. The uphill direction is West.


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rlandsboro
super member


Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #5734772 - 03/15/13 07:42 PM Attachment (175 downloads)

And here is a pic showing the isolated pier with adjacent wall sections.

Edited by rlandsboro (03/15/13 07:42 PM)


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rlandsboro
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Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #5734777 - 03/15/13 07:44 PM Attachment (149 downloads)

Here is a pic showing the roof top structure that will support the dome.

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rlandsboro
super member


Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #5734778 - 03/15/13 07:45 PM Attachment (114 downloads)

Here is another view of the rooftop structure showing the isolated pier beneath.

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rlandsboro
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Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #5734780 - 03/15/13 07:46 PM Attachment (110 downloads)

Here is a pic looking through the door that will enter the observatory. I plan a glass panel door with blackout shade.

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rlandsboro
super member


Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #5734785 - 03/15/13 07:47 PM Attachment (108 downloads)

Here is a pic showing a niche I was able to capture during the framing stage to use for storage inside the observatory. Otherwise that space would have been walled over and wasted.

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rlandsboro
super member


Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #5734803 - 03/15/13 07:53 PM Attachment (129 downloads)

Here is a pic from inside the observatory looking through the entry door at the top level of the home.

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rlandsboro
super member


Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #5734812 - 03/15/13 07:56 PM

I'll post more pics showing the development of the obs when I can.

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

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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #5734888 - 03/15/13 08:27 PM

James, that is going to be an awesome observatory; I love the name of it, also!

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MDB
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Reged: 06/06/12

Loc: Idaho
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #5734910 - 03/15/13 08:36 PM

James,

Thanks! I look forward to seeing your obs completed.

Mike


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Lord Beowulf
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Reged: 10/13/08

Loc: Cedar Park, TX
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: MDB]
      #5735479 - 03/16/13 03:01 AM

Wow, very cool! With that height, it makes me wonder about sway and just how much gap you need to the structure. However, given that it's apparently in the very center of the parent building, and the way it's in between a supporting wall, that seems like a really good way to ensure there's no movement due to wind loading, etc. Cool! I'm still going to have to try to convince the wife that we need to add a dome to the house when we build it. She keeps saying, "But you have your observatory now!", but it's just not the same!

Beo


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Starman27
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: Lord Beowulf]
      #5735783 - 03/16/13 09:37 AM

Very interesting design and implementation. What are the dimensions?

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rlandsboro
super member


Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: Starman27]
      #5736167 - 03/16/13 12:21 PM

Thanks Carol, Mike, Beo, and Herman.

The concrete pier is exposed in the pic, but will be completely encapsulated by the exterior and interior walls. These walls will have a semi-circular bump out where they enclose the pier. The only possible pier movement will be from an actual contact with the pier or equipment in the obs. When pushed hard at the top now, the pier has a slight sway - so I will fabricate and add anti-sway brackets that are also vibration suppressers.

The interior dimension in the pic is 12'. This dimension will be reduced at the top by 2' by adding a sloped transition to the top of the framing. A 10'-6" dome will placed on top.

Inside the round room you see in the pic I will build curved stairs that hug the outer wall for about 1/4 of the circumference. These stairs will lead to a viewing platform that will be a comfortable height for working with the equipment. The area under that viewing platform (ceiling height under there will be about 5-1/2 feet) will be for storage. The window opening you see will be shortened after the platform is built to provide day light under the viewing platform, but not above.

I am doing more concrete work next week and will add some height to the pier to get it to the final position. So now I am determining the desired platform height, pier height etc. Its a first observatory for me so I am just winging it there. I'll post a drawing of my results here.


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nytecam
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Reged: 08/20/05

Loc: London UK
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #5738015 - 03/17/13 04:44 AM

That's an interesting project and the slimmest scope pier I've seen to that height. Do ensure, before the pier is encased, that there is no solid contact with adjoining house structure - any such close points better wrapped in insulation quilt to ensure no solid falling debris get trapped there to transfer house vibration to the pier.

What scope have you in mind - for visual or imaging ? Good luck


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rlandsboro
super member


Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: nytecam]
      #5738587 - 03/17/13 01:13 PM

Quote:

Do ensure, before the pier is encased, that there is no solid contact with adjoining house structure - any such close points better wrapped in insulation quilt to ensure no solid falling debris get trapped there to transfer house vibration to the pier.

What scope have you in mind - for visual or imaging ? Good luck




Thats great advice! This is the second house I've built and its amazing what can get left in the walls - coke cans, burger king bags, small pieces of wood, broken saw blades, yadda yadda. I have a project manager on site who so far is doing a good job of keeping everything clean - I'll tell him to be alert.

I plan for the curved section of wall (to cover the pier) that will be added on the home's interior - to be built as the home's exterior wall. This way the outer wall that covers the pier is just cosmetic. The small area between the pier and covering walls will be loosely filled with fiberglass batting. That should keep debris from being a problem. The rest of the home will have spray foam insulation.

The structural engineer for the project designed the pier - and it was a first for her - just as it was for me. The pier is very slender (16" diameter) as you say - but I found that its extreme height gives it so much volume and mass that it takes a lot to make it move. I would like a bigger diameter but there is now a darn house in the way

And thanks for the good luck wish - I am the designer/builder (but not an architect or contractor) of the home - and I will own all of the mistakes. But I learned long ago that are always a million reasons not to do something - so I make the best choices I can and get on with things and get 'em done Some luck always helps.

To answer your question - I have not yet decided on a scope or mount. I had to give the structural engineer who designed the pier some size/weight guidlines for equipment early on - so I gave her specs on some well known big stuff. With a 10'6" dome and pier exactly in the center I can't do anything crazy big, but I have plenty of options. I'm working on that today since the lead times on this kind of equipment coincides roughly with the completion date for the home/obs. I am lucky(?) that my wife wants me to get some very nice equipment. I am relatively new to the hobby but don't do much visual observing. I am leaning toward an AP or Paramount mount and a Planewave or Hyperion scope. I like solar observing and have a Lunt 80mm to accommodate somehow. And I like what is happening with the Mallincams.

Also, beneath the obs is a deck - such that half of the obs is over open space below. I will also be designing some simple plenums with fans. The idea will be to open the dome and use these fans to pull outside air down through the slot and exhaust it below the obs. This to equalize inside/outside temps.


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rlandsboro
super member


Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: Lord Beowulf]
      #5738609 - 03/17/13 01:23 PM

Quote:

I'm still going to have to try to convince the wife that we need to add a dome to the house when we build it. She keeps saying, "But you have your observatory now!", but it's just not the same!

Beo




If you will build a home and want a dome obs - compromise and give your wife part of the upper space for something she will like. Example: give her a big two-story closet - with a staircase inside the closet leading up to her upper-level closet "mezzanine". Worked for me .


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rlandsboro
super member


Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #5739336 - 03/17/13 06:27 PM Attachment (99 downloads)

Here are my quicky calcs for finishing off the pier. I hope this pic is legible. Its the first time I've done this so I appreciate any corrections/additions or practical advice.

Starting from the floor and working up:

20" concrete pier
3/4" plywood transition
1" pier top plate
11" steel pier extension
16-1/2" to the insection of the RA/DEC axes for the mount (PME2).

43-1/4" to bottom of dome opening.

That should do it for height. The steel pier extension gives me a fudge factor and flexibility to make future changes. It also reduces the horizontal dimension from 16" to 11" to minimize chances of counterweight collisions and allow me to set the mount with the desired offset for zenith viewing.

I used the PME2 diemsion of 9-1/2 inches for the distance from the axes intersection to the versaplate. My quicky calcs indicate that in the extreme horizontal orientation I am left with a distance of about 12" to represent an OTA aperture that is not obstructed by the dome wall. This is a first dome for me - can anyone tell me if there is more to the max OTA calculation?

Thank for any input.


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JJK
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 04/28/08

Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #5739487 - 03/17/13 07:38 PM

Be sure to make the opening wide enough to accommodate the largest mount you'd ever think of getting.

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Midnight Dan
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: JJK]
      #5739554 - 03/17/13 08:12 PM

Quote:

The structural engineer for the project designed the pier - and it was a first for her - just as it was for me. The pier is very slender (16" diameter) as you say - but I found that its extreme height gives it so much volume and mass that it takes a lot to make it move. I would like a bigger diameter but there is now a darn house in the way




Structural engineers are concerned with loads and flex, not so much vibration. The pier you have will easily handle the weight that will be put on it, and the amount of flex, sway, etc. will be small compared to normal requirements for building construction.

But with that tall, very thin (compared to its height) pier, I'd be concerned about vibration. It may seem like concrete is very rigid, but in that configuration it may behave more like a tuning fork and less like a rock. There's not much you can do now since the house is designed around it, but it will be interesting to see how it works out for you. Please be sure to let us know!

-Dan


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rlandsboro
super member


Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #5739888 - 03/18/13 12:13 AM

Quote:



I used the PME2 diemsion of 9-1/2 inches for the distance from the axes intersection to the versaplate. My quicky calcs indicate that in the extreme horizontal orientation I am left with a distance of about 12" to represent an OTA aperture that is not obstructed by the dome wall. This is a first dome for me - can anyone tell me if there is more to the max OTA calculation?





I'll answer my own post - it looks like dome rotation software includes an offset parameter for the distance from the mount axes intersection (or maybe it was the rotational center of the dome) to the center of the ota diameter. This will allow the software to keep the center of the dome slot in front of the ota regardless of ota orientation. The dome slot at times I think will be at an obtuse angle to the focal plane - which will reduce the effective width of the slot a bit. But it shouldnt be a problem. I think the software even accounts for a meridian flip. So I should be able to have an unobstructed ota diameter of much more than the 12" shown in my sketch above. I'll research a bit more and post the result.


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rlandsboro
super member


Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #5739898 - 03/18/13 12:23 AM

Thanks for the tip JJK. And Dan, I'll let you know how the vibration issue turns out.

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cn register 5
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/26/12

Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #5740095 - 03/18/13 04:48 AM

Yes, any sensible dome control software will allow for the offset of the OTA from the Ra and Dec axes, also any offset of the Ra and Dec axis interscetion from the centre of the dome. I'm updating the ASCOM software to do this at the moment.

Chris


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
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Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: cn register 5]
      #5740449 - 03/18/13 10:53 AM

If the gap around the pier is filled with Fiberglas insulation, that should reduce vibration, or at least settling time.

-Rich


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rlandsboro
super member


Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: cn register 5]
      #5740681 - 03/18/13 01:03 PM

Quote:

Yes, any sensible dome control software will allow for the offset of the OTA from the Ra and Dec axes, also any offset of the Ra and Dec axis interscetion from the centre of the dome. I'm updating the ASCOM software to do this at the moment.

Chris




Thanks for confirming that, Chris. And thank you for the work you do that benefits so many!


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nytecam
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Reged: 08/20/05

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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #5742296 - 03/19/13 05:18 AM Attachment (66 downloads)

Quote:

Here are my quicky calcs for finishing off the pier. I hope this pic is legible. Its the first time I've done this so I appreciate any corrections/additions or practical advice. Starting from the floor and working up:

20" concrete pier
3/4" plywood transition
1" pier top plate
11" steel pier extension
16-1/2" to the insection of the RA/DEC axes for the mount (PME2). 43-1/4" to bottom of dome opening.

That should do it for height. The steel pier extension gives me a fudge factor and flexibility to make future changes. It also reduces the horizontal dimension from 16" to 11" to minimize chances of counterweight collisions and allow me to set the mount with the desired offset for zenith viewing.

I used the PME2 diemsion of 9-1/2 inches for the distance from the axes intersection to the versaplate. My quicky calcs indicate that in the extreme horizontal orientation I am left with a distance of about 12" to represent an OTA aperture that is not obstructed by the dome wall. This is a first dome for me - can anyone tell me if there is more to the max OTA calculation? Thank for any input.


Don't quite understand relationship between sketch and dome height eg where scopes axes intersect relative to lowest portion of dome shutter. My dome sketch below for my 12"SCT LX200 shows axes intersect ON the lowest section of shutter and central on the vertical axis through the dome so the scope is 50% obstructed when aimed horizontally. I've a fork mount with scope a constant distance from the dome itself. A GEM will offset the scope and clearances must be allowed for.

I find it useful for daytime testing to aim scope horizontally on distant objects for cam focus, finder alignment, effect of Barlow and focal reducers on image scale etc and not waste night set-up time. Also even with partial obstruction of scope aperture very lowly objects like Mercury, a comet or nova etc can be observed, depending on your horizon. Alternatively if the scope[s] are set way below the shutter and horizon unobservable perhaps a well located window in the obsy walls could serve for daytime set-up. Hope these comments help.



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hm insulators
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Reged: 01/22/07

Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: nytecam]
      #5742706 - 03/19/13 11:25 AM

That's a big beautiful house! When it's finished, are you going to move permanently to Idaho or will you still winter in Arizona?

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rlandsboro
super member


Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: nytecam]
      #5742778 - 03/19/13 12:00 PM

Quote:

Don't quite understand relationship between sketch and dome height eg where scopes axes intersect relative to lowest portion of dome shutter. My dome sketch below for my 12"SCT LX200 shows axes intersect ON the lowest section of shutter and central on the vertical axis through the dome so the scope is 50% obstructed when aimed horizontally. I've a fork mount with scope a constant distance from the dome itself. A GEM will offset the scope and clearances must be allowed for.

I find it useful for daytime testing to aim scope horizontally on distant objects for cam focus, finder alignment, effect of Barlow and focal reducers on image scale etc and not waste night set-up time. Also even with partial obstruction of scope aperture very lowly objects like Mercury, a comet or nova etc can be observed, depending on your horizon. Alternatively if the scope[s] are set way below the shutter and horizon unobservable perhaps a well located window in the obsy walls could serve for daytime set-up. Hope these comments help.






Thanks for commenting Nytecam - and thanks for posting your sketch. I think your approach is correct - and mine is atypical. I believe it is common for the GEM RA/DEC axes intersection of one's mount to be positioned level with the lower dome opening. I confess I just couldn't get my brain past the idea of obstructing half of the OTA in the horizontal position so I "fudged" at the last minute and added the pier extension shown in my sketch. (If I ever realize I'm not a submarine commander trying to scan the horizon through a periscope I can lose the extension.). There is no science behind my decision. But I saw no downside to raising the height a bit.

And of course at the same I'm making these decisions many are imaging a comet near the horizon - so I envisioned trying to do that using a side-by-side mount of two scopes. It made my brain hurt less to just draw in a pier extension.


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rlandsboro
super member


Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: hm insulators]
      #5743165 - 03/19/13 03:01 PM

Quote:

That's a big beautiful house! When it's finished, are you going to move permanently to Idaho or will you still winter in Arizona?




Thanks hm! We have a 12-year old in school in AZ. So this will be a vacation home until he leaves the nest. But the home is designed with all the features of a permanent residence - which improves the chances of wife and kid being happy if I want to bring them along on a trip with no other real purpose than for me to try for that once-in-a-lifetime astro pic .

I'll cook up a web site for the obs soon. I can post details of the home there to keep things focused on astronomy here. I have registered the domain name. Link to come soon in my sig.


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nytecam
Postmaster


Reged: 08/20/05

Loc: London UK
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #5748025 - 03/21/13 04:58 PM

Quote:

....And of course at the same I'm making these decisions many are imaging a comet near the horizon....


What comet might that be I wonder

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TeleTex
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Loc: Texas
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #5755257 - 03/24/13 11:57 PM

This is really awesome!

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rlandsboro
super member


Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: TeleTex]
      #5769816 - 03/31/13 10:27 PM Attachment (55 downloads)

The concrete pier is now at its final height. The floor of the obs will be at the level of the upper brace you see in the pic. Curved steps will hug the outer wall to walk up that height.

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rlandsboro
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Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #5902513 - 06/04/13 07:52 PM Attachment (41 downloads)

Here are pics of recent progress. This a view from the warm room. You look across the stairwell that leads up from the bedroom level - and through the framing you see the dome's viewing platform.

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rlandsboro
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Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #5902519 - 06/04/13 07:54 PM Attachment (36 downloads)

And here is a view through the observatory doorway showing the stairs leading up to the viewing platform.

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rlandsboro
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Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #5902530 - 06/04/13 07:57 PM Attachment (35 downloads)

The area under the viewing platform will be used for general storage (probably holiday decorations - we have waaay to many). The opening will have a cabinet-style door.

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rlandsboro
super member


Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #5902542 - 06/04/13 08:05 PM Attachment (42 downloads)

Here is a duct system designed to pull conditioned air into the dome space from the home. A thermostat in the dome will open a damper if the temp falls below 40-degrees (I'll have to experiment with the exact setting) and activate a fan. The idea is to prevent icing or snow accumulation on the dome. There is another duct like this with only a damper to return air into the home.

I will have a snow melt system on the roof area surrounding the dome that is activated by both a temperature sensor and a moisture sensor - and may be able to control the dampers/fan with that same control system.

Edited by rlandsboro (06/04/13 08:07 PM)


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rlandsboro
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Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #5902552 - 06/04/13 08:11 PM Attachment (36 downloads)

And here (lower right) is an exhaust duct. The idea is to open the dome to equalize temps inside and outside before observing. A fan in this duct is designed to pull ambient air down through dome opening and exhaust it out through an eave to speed the process.

Edited by rlandsboro (06/04/13 08:13 PM)


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roscoe
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #5902814 - 06/04/13 10:29 PM

James,

My compliments, Sir! I've been pounding nails for a lot of years, and yours is about the finest owner-builder work I've ever seen. Well done!

Russ


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Midnight Dan
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: roscoe]
      #5903325 - 06/05/13 07:28 AM

Hi James:

Looks like it's coming along nicely! Just wondering ... you have some unique design elements in the house structure, framing, etc. Did you have any trouble getting any of it by the building inspector?

-Dan


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rlandsboro
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Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5903775 - 06/05/13 12:06 PM

Quote:


Looks like it's coming along nicely! Just wondering ... you have some unique design elements in the house structure, framing, etc. Did you have any trouble getting any of it by the building inspector?





That would be a yes . The biggest issue was snow load, but I worked it out. The pier is signed off by a structural engineer. The observatory is now considered a mechanical space. The neighborhood has a 150 lb/ft snow load requirement and they take it very seriously. I researched and learned there are snow load deductions one can take for slope, slippery surface, and heated surface. That is why the 45 lb/ft dome with its sloping, slippery, thin metal skin qualifies if I heat the interior space. And the floor under the dome is rated for the 150 lb/ft snow load requirement so it can protect the living space below if the dome blows away. I will have an emergency generator that can ensure the heat supply in case of power failure. There is always a way to do it right .

In my case the only thing I had to do differently from the original plan was add the duct/dampers/fan system. I will also add a snowmelt system under the roof shingles around the dome (from warmzone dot com) but that is not a requirement. The snowmelt system has an automated control that uses a temp sensor and moisture sensor. If I can use that same control to also activate the dampers/fans to supply the obs with warm air from the home when the snowmelt turns itself on - that will be sweet .


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rlandsboro
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: roscoe]
      #5903895 - 06/05/13 01:06 PM

Quote:


My compliments, Sir! I've been pounding nails for a lot of years, and yours is about the finest owner-builder work I've ever seen. Well done!

Russ




Thanks Russ. It's really the work of many - I'm just the guy who writes the checks


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Midnight Dan
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #5903926 - 06/05/13 01:24 PM

Quote:

The neighborhood has a 150 lb/ft snow load requirement




150 pound per square foot ??? Is that for real?

I live near Rochester, NY ... just across Lake Ontario from Canada ... and our snow load here is 40 pounds per square foot. You're in Arizona and it's 150? Doesn't make any sense. What gives?

-Dan

*** EDIT ***
Ah ... never mind. I just noticed the observatory is in Idaho. Still, 150 pounds per square foot ... wow!

-Dan

Edited by Midnight Dan (06/05/13 01:26 PM)


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dmdouglass
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5904022 - 06/05/13 02:03 PM

Hey Midnight Dan...

I was thinking the same thing.
Snowload in Scottsdale ?? I was about to post the question, but saw the signature line....

Since I live in Tempe (down the street from Scottsdale), I was just a little concerned !!

James in Arizona....
Words are not adequate. Simply Beautiful !!!


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woodscavenger
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: dmdouglass]
      #6127419 - 10/09/13 04:48 PM

I saw Tamarack and was wondering if you were my neighbor. Can't wait to see the finished product.

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rlandsboro
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: woodscavenger]
      #6133078 - 10/12/13 01:14 PM

Quote:

I saw Tamarack and was wondering if you were my neighbor. Can't wait to see the finished product.




If you are in Boise then I am 100 miles North in the Tamarack Resort. I'm expecting the dome to be delivered soon. It will be the last component of the exterior. (Still working to complete the interior of the home. That will still take a few months.). It will be fun to shop for equipment at the Arizona Astronomy Expo next month - I need everything . I'll post pics when the dome arrives.

James


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woodscavenger
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #6137181 - 10/14/13 02:31 PM

I guess you will let us know about the invites for your first Star PArty!!

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rlandsboro
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: woodscavenger]
      #6138192 - 10/15/13 12:39 AM

Quote:

I guess you will let us know about the invites for your first Star PArty!!




Absolutely! And I have already been approached about doing outreach for at least one local school. I look forward to it.


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Aquarist
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #6138496 - 10/15/13 08:18 AM

Snow load??? I can see it in Buffalo. But otherwise, WOW!

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rlandsboro
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: Aquarist]
      #6139182 - 10/15/13 02:25 PM

That 150 lb snow load requirement (for the West side of a particular mountain in Idaho) was a big surprise and tough to solve. The country people explained it well. The area gets 10 feet of snow. Water weighs 62 lbs per cubic foot. If I get 6 feet of snow on the roof and then it rains causing the snow to be 50% water - the resulting load is 186 lbs per square foot. I get that.

That example is for a flat roof. There are then deductions one can take for roof slope, type of surface, etc. To make the dome reach that spec I also had to heat the dome - that deduction brought me into compliance.

Edited by rlandsboro (10/15/13 02:43 PM)


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Aquarist
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #6140399 - 10/16/13 08:13 AM

How did you heat the dome?

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BYoesle
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: Aquarist]
      #6140591 - 10/16/13 10:22 AM

What a very nice dream come true - often felt that the home & domed observatory would be so convenient...

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rlandsboro
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: Aquarist]
      #6146685 - 10/19/13 01:10 PM

Regarding heating the dome. I ran a short duct (maybe 5') into the obs from the heated space next to the obs. I put an electric damper and fan in that duct. It will be thermostatically controlled at a minimum - with t-stat set to maybe 45 degrees. So when the obs temp drops to 45, then warm air is pulled from the home into the obs to keep the dome's metal skin above freezing. This adds some inefficiency to the home heating but it should also make things easier on the equipment in the dome by avoiding extreme cold temps.

I say "at a minimum" because the sloped roof around the dome has a snow melt system of heated wires under the shingles. That system is activated by both a temp sensor and a moisture sensor. It would be nice to have that control activate the damper. That way I would only heat the obs and dome if it is actually snowing. I'll just have to figure it out. Part of the fun.

I also have another duct/damper/fan to take air out of the dome for summer needs. This to draw cooler air in through the dome slot and out the bottom of the obs to equalize summer temps when it is warmer.


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tim57064
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #6160328 - 10/27/13 08:28 AM

James, I have been following your OBS build thread and was wondering if you have any recent images of your progress? I ask this because the last posting of any was in June.
We all love what you are doing and what you have accomplished so far.
Would truly like to see your recent progress as some of us are a visual sort.Please and Thank You


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csa/montana
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: tim57064]
      #6160513 - 10/27/13 10:53 AM

Quote:

Would truly like to see your recent progress as some of us are a visual sort.




+1. Indeed we would love to see the progress!


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rlandsboro
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: csa/montana]
      #6161681 - 10/28/13 12:14 AM

Thanks for the interest. I've spent the last months working on that really big warm room attached to the obs . Finishing interior ceilings and preparing for flooring. Also finishing the exterior and landscaping/driveway, etc. So I don't really have any new obs picks. The dome is due to ship soon and I plan to spend time at the site then to handle that install. I'll get plenty of pics then. But it will be a few more weeks I think.

FYI - the estate homes in the community typically have names. Mine was being called the "Skyview Lodge" so I adopted the name.


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rlandsboro
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #6170437 - 11/01/13 02:51 PM Attachment (31 downloads)

Here is a pic of the roof snow melt system - it gets installed under the shingles. The dome will be installed on a sloped roof dormer. So this system provides enough heat to prevent snow from building up on the roof against the high side of the dome - and to prevent ice dams from building up on the lower sections of roof as water from melted snow runs off during freezing temps. The rain gutters also have their own heat sytems.

The system is activated by temp and moisture sensors - so it actually has to be raining or snowing with freezing temps before it is energized.

Edited by rlandsboro (11/01/13 02:53 PM)


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rlandsboro
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #6170454 - 11/01/13 03:00 PM Attachment (22 downloads)

Here is the snow melt system on the high side of the dome. What you see is a thin metal mesh that gets electrically warmed when the system's sensor criteria for temp and moisture are met. The primary vendors for these systems (I think) are Heatizon and Warmquest.

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rlandsboro
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #6170462 - 11/01/13 03:03 PM Attachment (31 downloads)

The dome vendor - Pier Tech - says the dome is about ready to ship. Here is a pic they sent me of the dome being finished in their shop.

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thesungazer
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: BYoesle]
      #6170878 - 11/01/13 06:51 PM

Impressive!

Greg


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stmguy
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: thesungazer]
      #6171594 - 11/02/13 09:11 AM

Looks really ,really nice!
Norm


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Raginar
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: stmguy]
      #6171617 - 11/02/13 09:24 AM

The ice melt system is unique. I haven't seen that before.

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tim57064
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: Raginar]
      #6171662 - 11/02/13 09:59 AM

Quote:

The ice melt system is unique. I haven't seen that before.



Neither have I,This would be a great alternative to the cable you can put up on your roof before winter hits every year.
Hope that it works without any hiccups. Would not be fun to repair if needed.


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rlandsboro
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: tim57064]
      #6171937 - 11/02/13 01:06 PM

Quote:


Hope that it works without any hiccups. Would not be fun to repair if needed.




I hope so, too:). It is supposed to be pretty foolproof. The conductive heat element is called z-mesh and you can nail and staple through it without harm. To me the potential issue is the conductors from the end of the mesh to the transformers - can't nail through those. The transformers are in a space between roof trusses that is accessible from inside the obs.


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rlandsboro
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #6209166 - 11/22/13 10:56 AM Attachment (43 downloads)

The dome is now crated and ready to ship. I'm told the big crate is about 2,000 lbs and the smaller crate is about 1,500 lbs. They will arrive on a flatbed. A bobcat with forks on site should handle the unloading. I plan to do the (re)assembly myself with some helpers. And I plan to wait for a few sunny days to do the work

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tim57064
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #6210148 - 11/22/13 08:07 PM

James, looks as though you will be well on your way soon.
It's a good thing you live where you do.
Suppose to be 15 degrees F here tomorrow for the high temp and I would not like to have to be putting together a dome in this weather.


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rlandsboro
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: tim57064]
      #6211314 - 11/23/13 12:39 PM Attachment (40 downloads)

Yes, it will be cold

Here is a pic taken this morning of the summit of the mountain I am on - the summit about 1,000 vertical feet above my site.

Back in the day I worked construction through an Alaska winter (one of the reasons I moved to AZ so I know what to expect. Chemical warming packs in the toes of my boots and in the palms of my gloves will extend the time I can work outside.

The good news is that I have heat in the house and should always be just a few steps away from warmth!


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BYoesle
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #6211561 - 11/23/13 02:38 PM

The clear sky and sun looks good though; great looking dome BTW.

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tim57064
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #6211700 - 11/23/13 04:27 PM

James ,So you are in the higher elevations then.I forgot that the weather there is not always like it is directly around Phoenix.I was there many years ago when driving thru a blizzard that was going on in and near Flagstaff and Phoenix was in the 60's.
I have a couple of sisters that live around there,one in Payson and the other is in Surprise. I always wish,for the weather anyway,I lived down there in the winter.


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rlandsboro
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: tim57064]
      #6211794 - 11/23/13 05:20 PM

Hi Tim,

This site is in Idaho - the home and obs is at 5200+ feet of elevation. But I live in AZ - which shows in my profile - and that creates some confusion.

James


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tim57064
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #6212187 - 11/23/13 09:07 PM

James,Sorry I remember that now.Guess I've been reading too much lately and forgot all about that.

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rlandsboro
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: tim57064]
      #6239634 - 12/07/13 06:29 PM Attachment (34 downloads)

So just how bad an idea would it be to clad the round supporting structure beneath the dome with stone? Stone cladding is now in the approved design. My other option is to request a change and use cedar in one of the colors (brown or green) matching the house.

Everybody else involved (the wife, the builder, the architect, the design review committee) wants stone. It will be the same stone that is now on the rest of the house (about 1" thick) and of course the stone cladding will also have thinset mortar and a thick grout between the stones - which seems like a significant thermal mass.

I'm concerned that I may degrade the seeing after sunset with the stone radiating daytime heat out and up right under the dome slot - and for a longer time than the surrounding roof shingles. Even though the roof is a much bigger area that will need some time to cool - I think the thinner roof shingles should equalize temps with the atmosphere much faster than the thicker stone cladding. True?

And will using stone cladding be that much worse than wood cladding given the large shingled roof? I've seen pics where some people have built or retrofitted stone or concrete walled buildings for observatories. And those obs have an even bigger thermal mass beneath their domes.

If this stone cladding won't cause a significant problem I can go with it and please the herd. (And I won't have to submit a change request to the design review committee.) But if it will create a problem I would be quite silly to use stone.

I played around with Photoscape (free) and put together the pics showing renderings of the obs with stone (top) then brown cedar, then green cedar, and the bottom pic shows the actual stone (on the columns) under consideratiomn.

Does anybody here have any experience with a similar situation? My thanks in advance!


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rimcrazy
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #6239647 - 12/07/13 06:34 PM

From just a color perspective of your mock ups I like the green the best but that's JMHO

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Midnight Dan
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rimcrazy]
      #6239686 - 12/07/13 06:53 PM

Just my 2 cents , but it seems like between the roof, the stone cladding on the rest of the house, the stone patio, and the driveway (not sure what material?) you'll have heat radiating out all around you. A little extra stone around the observatory itself won't make much difference. On the other hand, keeping the wife happy will make a BIG difference!

-Dan


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seafury
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #6240195 - 12/08/13 02:50 AM

Hi the green makes it blend in better the stone really makes it stick out, what a place though wow

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TeleTex
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: seafury]
      #6240330 - 12/08/13 07:13 AM

The green is the way to go.

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rlandsboro
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: TeleTex]
      #6241049 - 12/08/13 03:45 PM

I like the green also .

My concern is that stone cladding so close to the end of the OTA will cause worse issues (convection currents) than the other stone/brick/asphalt shingle and driveway that is part of the project - but farther away from the equipment.

I have researched this but can't come up with anything definitive. What I find are discussions about elevating an obs to overcome the "ground effect" of warm earth surrounding an obs. I have elevated this obs above the asphalt driveway and above the stone cladding near the ground and hope this will be helpful. So I worry that I might now "elevate the ground" up to the obs by installing the stone cladding at the obs level.

And I remind myself that I'm not just building an obs where I can give priority to astronomy in every decision. The project is a family vacation home that needs to make everybody happy. I just don't want to do something (else?) crazy dumb at the final stage of the project. This is literally the last exterior decision.


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JJK
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #6241052 - 12/08/13 03:49 PM

Quote:

I like the green also .

My concern is that stone cladding so close to the end of the OTA will cause worse issues (convection currents) than the other stone/brick/asphalt shingle and driveway that is part of the project - but farther away from the equipment.

I have researched this but can't come up with anything definitive. What I find are discussions about elevating an obs to overcome the "ground effect" of warm earth surrounding an obs. I have elevated this obs above the asphalt driveway and above the stone cladding near the ground and hope this will be helpful. So I worry that I might now "elevate the ground" up to the obs by installing the stone cladding at the obs level.

And I remind myself that I'm not just building an obs where I can give priority to astronomy in every decision. The project is a family vacation home that needs to make everybody happy. I just don't want to do something (else?) crazy dumb at the final stage of the project. This is literally the last exterior decision.




You can look up the specific heats of all the materials near the observatory, and roughly calculate how long it'd take for the daytime heat to be shed from the roof and nearby stone facing. My guess is that the small additional thermal mass of the small amount of stone would be a drop in the bucket compared to the massive roof.


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rlandsboro
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: JJK]
      #6241107 - 12/08/13 04:29 PM

Thanks for the tip on Specific Heat. Its helping me wrap my head around this, and hopefully its helpful for others. Asphalt and stone have pretty similar values - and asphalt has the higher value. (O.22 btu's per pound for asphalt and 0.20 btu's per pound for stone.) And there are a great deal more pounds of asphalt on the roof than there will be from a little more stone cladding. I think I get the idea that the materials will radiate their stored heat at a rate based on their mass, and not on their thickness.

My concern has been for the air space immediately in front of the OTA. But I'm starting to understand that the issue is not so locally contained.


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TCW
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #6248194 - 12/12/13 12:37 AM

As a builder I was wondering what size foundation your engineer specified. A concrete pier that tall would need a massive foundation to be stable enough for a telescope.

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stmguy
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: TCW]
      #6248360 - 12/12/13 05:52 AM

I'd be concerned that the stone roof would act like a massive heat sink, they make high end wood stoves out of soapstone for a reason.
An aluminum shingle type roof might be a good compromise, it looks a bit like a slate roof and although the metal will heat up it will radiate that heat off very rapidly as the night cools down .
Norm


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rlandsboro
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: TCW]
      #6248394 - 12/12/13 07:05 AM

Quote:

As a builder I was wondering what size foundation your engineer specified. A concrete pier that tall would need a massive foundation to be stable enough for a telescope.




The pier foundation directly under the pier is a thickened part of the basement wall. So it its unusual in its shape ( not a traditional cylinder or cube) - but also really big, and serves a dual purpose. The rebar was huge, too. And it did take some extra work during framing to prevent sway at the top of the pier. The pier would not move on its own, but could be made to deflect by pushing horizontally at the top. Happily it appears to be rock-solid now. (Non-scientifically tested by having two 250+ lb workers jump up and down on the floor next to the pier - with no detectable vibration on the pier).

It's hard to answer your question with a specific number since in essence the entire basement wall concrete is the foundation for the pier. I thought the structural engineer did a great job with my unusual site and needs - and she is now reviewing the proposed plan for the final framed transition and anchoring of the dome to the structure.


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rlandsboro
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: stmguy]
      #6248408 - 12/12/13 07:22 AM

Quote:

I'd be concerned that the stone roof would act like a massive heat sink, they make high end wood stoves out of soapstone for a reason.
An aluminum shingle type roof might be a good compromise, it looks a bit like a slate roof and although the metal will heat up it will radiate that heat off very rapidly as the night cools down .
Norm




I had the same concern. But this project is in a resort community with tight parameters for exterior design and materials - so I could not always pick optimal materials to promote my hobby. I got over it .

The roof and stone cladding will be a heat sink. So I may need to develop some roof temperature profiles over time to help determine optimal times for imaging. Part of the fun .


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rlandsboro
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Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #6248409 - 12/12/13 07:25 AM

Quote:

Just my 2 cents , but it seems like between the roof, the stone cladding on the rest of the house, the stone patio, and the driveway (not sure what material?) you'll have heat radiating out all around you. A little extra stone around the observatory itself won't make much difference. On the other hand, keeping the wife happy will make a BIG difference!

-Dan




Dan, you are a very smart man!


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TCW
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Reged: 11/05/13

Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #6251660 - 12/13/13 08:20 PM

You will likely needs several hours if not until after midnight until things calm down. My best option is a roof top observatory but I have not done anything due to the heat sink issue.

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rlandsboro
super member


Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: TCW]
      #6252029 - 12/14/13 01:06 AM

Quote:

You will likely needs several hours if not until after midnight until things calm down. My best option is a roof top observatory but I have not done anything due to the heat sink issue.




I think you are right about the timing - and I'm OK with whatever it turns out to be. A lot of people do some pretty nice astronomy and imaging from some pretty challenging sites. I started this project with the belief that if you match your expectations, equipment, and targets to the conditions you have - then you can still get good results within the various windows of opportunity and time those conditions give you. But that's another thread

If you can determine the windows of time you have when your own conditions stabilize, and what you have when they do - you can make good decisions about committing your time, energy, and funds to a rooftop obs. There are jewels of wisdom in these forums for ingenious and no-cost ways to do this.


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Mary B
Vendor - Echo Astronomy and Electronics
*****

Reged: 05/21/10

Loc: Minnesota
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #6252709 - 12/14/13 01:47 PM

run a zigzag line of tubing under the stone roof, couple hours before dusk start running cold water through the line to cool the roof.

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rlandsboro
super member


Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: Mary B]
      #6253234 - 12/14/13 07:13 PM

Quote:

run a zigzag line of tubing under the stone roof, couple hours before dusk start running cold water through the line to cool the roof.




That's an interesting thought, thanks.


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HunterofPhotons
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 04/26/08

Loc: Rhode Island, USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: Mary B]
      #6254385 - 12/15/13 12:17 PM

Quote:

run a zigzag line of tubing under the stone roof, couple hours before dusk start running cold water through the line to cool the roof.




Really?
Besides being a waste of a resource, what happens if (when) the water freezes in the line?
Are people in Minnesota not familiar with burst pipes? <g>

dan k.


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Mary B
Vendor - Echo Astronomy and Electronics
*****

Reged: 05/21/10

Loc: Minnesota
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: HunterofPhotons]
      #6254759 - 12/15/13 04:22 PM

Antifreeze closed system

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rlandsboro
super member


Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: Mary B]
      #6292641 - 01/04/14 08:12 PM Attachment (11 downloads)

Finally getting the dome's base ring installed now. Here is a pic from the ground showing a bit of the rollers and guides

Edited by rlandsboro (01/04/14 08:27 PM)


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rlandsboro
super member


Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #6292645 - 01/04/14 08:14 PM Attachment (13 downloads)

Here is another pic showing the framed transition and observatory interior.

Edited by rlandsboro (01/04/14 08:17 PM)


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rlandsboro
super member


Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #6292648 - 01/04/14 08:16 PM Attachment (20 downloads)

Here is a pic showing a close up of the rollers and guides. The silver metal is part of the snow melt system. The colored wire will heat the silver metal and prevent snow build up.

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MHamburg
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 06/21/06

Loc: Brooklyn, NY/Berkshires, MA
Re: TamarackSkies Observatory build pics new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #6294497 - 01/05/14 06:00 PM

That is a very impressive system. Let us know how it does with the snow which we have too much of already here in the Northeast.
Michael


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