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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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PaulEK
sage
*****

Reged: 05/25/08

Loc: Wisconsin
Figuring Out Distance Between Two Piers in ROR.
      #5770013 - 04/01/13 01:15 AM

I'm working on getting approval to build a roll-off roof observatory on school district property, for outreach and education. I've used Building a Roll-Off Roof Observatory by John Hicks as a guide. His detailed plans are for a building with one pier, 12 x 14 feet in size. I'd like to have two piers, one to hold my G-ll with a Newt, and the other to hold my Atlas with a refractor. Both scopes are a bit over five feet long. The peak of the roof (also the long axis) will point north-south. The floor will be on concrete posts, not a slab. Any suggestions as to how far apart to place the piers? I want room to move around, but I also want to keep the roof as light as possible.

I'm making a presentation to the school board soon, so if anyone has photos of a similar structure, and wouldn't mind posting (or including a link) and letting me make copies, I'd be grateful.

Thanks!


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JJK
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 04/28/08

Re: Figuring Out Distance Between Two Piers in ROR. new [Re: PaulEK]
      #5770325 - 04/01/13 09:29 AM

Paul,

The inter-pier distance will minimally depend on where the scopes need to balance on the mounts, and whether both instruments will be used visually at the same time (or will one be used with cameras).

Best,
John


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Starman27
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/29/06

Loc: Illinois, Iowa
Re: Figuring Out Distance Between Two Piers in ROR. new [Re: JJK]
      #5770419 - 04/01/13 10:09 AM

I have a similar layout with a split ROR design. I based my pier placement on two factors. The first was the type of scope. One pier is dedicated to fork mounted SCTs. It has carried a C11, Meade LX200 12 inch and now a Meade 14 inch LX200 GPS. The second pier is dedicated to refractors. I has been used to carry a Meade 7 inch F9 and now carries a TAK FSNSV 128. The second factor was walk around space. The observing space is 10' by 8' for each instrument. The overlap is the center space. I have not had any serious issues using both for visual work.

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Starman27
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/29/06

Loc: Illinois, Iowa
Re: Figuring Out Distance Between Two Piers in ROR. new [Re: Starman27]
      #5770429 - 04/01/13 10:14 AM Attachment (19 downloads)

A picture.

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Starman27
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/29/06

Loc: Illinois, Iowa
Re: Figuring Out Distance Between Two Piers in ROR. new [Re: Starman27]
      #5770434 - 04/01/13 10:15 AM Attachment (17 downloads)

Refractor side.

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PaulEK
sage
*****

Reged: 05/25/08

Loc: Wisconsin
Re: Figuring Out Distance Between Two Piers in ROR. new [Re: Starman27]
      #5770495 - 04/01/13 10:59 AM

Thanks for the replies! The ideal would be to have the choice of using both for visual at the same time.

Starman27, that's a great-looking set-up!


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DeanS
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 07/12/05

Loc: Central Kentucky
Re: Figuring Out Distance Between Two Piers in ROR. new [Re: PaulEK]
      #5770621 - 04/01/13 11:51 AM

My room is 11.5 x 11.5' and way too small for using both at the same time for visual. I would think you would want at least the 14' wide if possible, 16' would be better.

Dean


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PaulEK
sage
*****

Reged: 05/25/08

Loc: Wisconsin
Re: Figuring Out Distance Between Two Piers in ROR. new [Re: DeanS]
      #5770809 - 04/01/13 01:20 PM

The plan in the book, for one pier, is for a structure 12 x 14 feet. I'm wondering if 12 x 20 feet would be a workable size. That way, I could locate the piers, say, 6.5 feet from the walls on either end, which would leave 7 feet between them. I don't think I'd be able to have both scopes working at the same time with their viewing ends facing toward each other, but it seems like anywhere else would be workable. Or am I squeezing things too tightly?

And would a roof that big be light enough to move by hand, without a motor or other assistance? I would probably have a metal roof, or possibly another lightweight material. If a fairly large roof can still be moved by hand, then I'd rather plan for as much space as really makes sense. There's plenty of room at the site, and the extra materials won't add too much to the cost.


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iandodd
member


Reged: 03/11/09

Re: Figuring Out Distance Between Two Piers in ROR. new [Re: PaulEK]
      #5770822 - 04/01/13 01:27 PM

Using the Hicks book as a guide, I've been toying with a design similar to yours. In Google Sketch Up, I laid out a 12'X18' design with each pier centered 6' from the walls on either side and 6' from each other. So, I would guess your 12'X20' should work just fine.

As far as the roof, if you don't want to motorize it, a hand-cranked winch should offer enough mechanical advantage to make it easy to move.


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PaulEK
sage
*****

Reged: 05/25/08

Loc: Wisconsin
Re: Figuring Out Distance Between Two Piers in ROR. new [Re: iandodd]
      #5770931 - 04/01/13 02:25 PM

I've considered a winch. It's another learning curve to climb.

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Alex McConahay
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/11/08

Loc: Moreno Valley, CA
Re: Figuring Out Distance Between Two Piers in ROR. new [Re: PaulEK]
      #5771083 - 04/01/13 04:17 PM

If this is for a public institution, be prepared for ADA compliance, whcih radically changes what you otherwise might have planned.

Alex


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PaulEK
sage
*****

Reged: 05/25/08

Loc: Wisconsin
Re: Figuring Out Distance Between Two Piers in ROR. new [Re: Alex McConahay]
      #5771199 - 04/01/13 04:52 PM

Alex,

That's a good point. Do you have any specifics? I'll bring it up at the school board meeting.


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Alex McConahay
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/11/08

Loc: Moreno Valley, CA
Re: Figuring Out Distance Between Two Piers in ROR. new [Re: PaulEK]
      #5771614 - 04/01/13 08:09 PM

ADA is a big ball of wax. I support it, don't get me wrong. And, with proper planning, it is not as hard as we could imagine. YOur best source of information may be the school district's business manager or facilities manager.

I have to say, I am not familiar with the organization of every school district. However, generally, get the district office on board before going to the Board.

I cannot get you specifics. But there are general rules. Everything must be accessible to wheelchair students. This may mean lower eyepieces than you thought. It may mean also, no steps, but ramps. All of these things are easy to engineer when incorporated from the start. Just give it a thought.

Alex


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Lord Beowulf
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 10/13/08

Loc: Cedar Park, TX
Re: Figuring Out Distance Between Two Piers in ROR. new [Re: Alex McConahay]
      #5771650 - 04/01/13 08:31 PM

I set my piers 10' apart, center to center, which gives 9' of space for visual, etc. I'd originally planned on 7' space to the exterior walls, which would have given 14'x24' or 6' of internal clearance. I went ahead and boosted that to 16'x26' to give me room for a desk/bench if needed.


Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.

Granted this is going to be overkill for most, but...

Beo


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PaulEK
sage
*****

Reged: 05/25/08

Loc: Wisconsin
Re: Figuring Out Distance Between Two Piers in ROR. new [Re: Lord Beowulf]
      #5771707 - 04/01/13 09:11 PM

I've actually already met with the District Facilities manager, and I'm a member of the school board (a recent addition). But for this, I'll present to the board, and won't act as a member.

I'm meeting first with the buildings and grounds committee of the board, tomorrow night.

Lord Beowulf, that's some observatory!


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Alex McConahay
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/11/08

Loc: Moreno Valley, CA
Re: Figuring Out Distance Between Two Piers in ROR. new [Re: PaulEK]
      #5771843 - 04/01/13 10:18 PM

Then you know what I mean about where and how to present. Some people don't.
(I was a high school principal for nine years before moving into district administration.)
Alex


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Alex McConahay
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/11/08

Loc: Moreno Valley, CA
Re: Figuring Out Distance Between Two Piers in ROR. new [Re: PaulEK]
      #5771844 - 04/01/13 10:18 PM

Then you know what I mean about where and how to present. Some people don't.
(I was a high school principal for nine years before moving into district administration.)
Alex


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Alex McConahay
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/11/08

Loc: Moreno Valley, CA
Re: Figuring Out Distance Between Two Piers in ROR. new [Re: PaulEK]
      #5771845 - 04/01/13 10:18 PM

Then you know what I mean about where and how to present. Some people don't.
(I was a high school principal for nine years before moving into district administration.)
Alex


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JJK
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 04/28/08

Re: Figuring Out Distance Between Two Piers in ROR. new [Re: PaulEK]
      #5772572 - 04/02/13 10:49 AM

You might address ADA compliance by planning to have a smaller scope on one of the rigs with a CCD camera on it. That will allow disabled folks to see the objects of interest in real time on a monitor and allow you to build a system that doesn't have elevator lifts to get folks up to the eyepiece.

You might have to make sure that the walkways and doors are ADA compliant, which should be relatively easy to do.


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PaulEK
sage
*****

Reged: 05/25/08

Loc: Wisconsin
Re: Figuring Out Distance Between Two Piers in ROR. new [Re: JJK]
      #5772684 - 04/02/13 11:33 AM

One of the issues will have to do with the location. The property is the school forest, a large rural area with ungroomed trails, used for nature study. There is already a 'classroom' there: a pretty rustic building, though not very old. It will be possible to drive up fairly close to the observatory site, but wheelchair accessability could be an issue.

I had thought about the doorway, which I would want wide anyway, for equipment to get through. There will be plenty of opportunity for using a variety of equipment at many levels, not just for disabled folks, but for little kids (like four years old and younger).

These are all good things to have in mind!

I'd still be interested in any other opinions on the distance between the piers.


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