Return to the Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews home pageAstronomics discounts for Cloudy Nights members
· Get a Cloudy Nights T-Shirt · Submit a Review / Article

Click here if you are having trouble logging into the forums

Privacy Policy | Please read our Terms of Service | Signup and Troubleshooting FAQ | Problems? PM a Red or a Green Gu… uh, User

Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | (show all)
Midnight Dan
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortl...
Re: Dark Arts Observatory new [Re: T1R2]
      #6087426 - 09/18/13 07:46 AM

Quote:

that is neat, so the little bump outs on the side, are those for storage, will foldup chairs fit in those fully opened and then can be pulled out to sit or pushed back in to walk around the scope and such?




The POD can be ordered as a plain circular building consisting of 6 curved panels, one of which is the door panel. When you order it, you can order 1 to 5 POD bays, those bump outs, in place of the 5 non-door panels. I ordered all 5.

The circular part of the building is about 7 feet in diameter inside. That's plenty of room for the scope and a couple of people to move around in. But anything else tends to get in the way unless you have the extra storage space that the bays provide.

Each bay interior is about 40" tall, 30" wide, and 28" deep. So, if a chair fits in those dimensions, then yes you could certainly use a bay to store a chair. I'll be using a rolling stool so it should easily fit into a bay if I wanted to put it there.

I plan to use one bay as a laptop/power station. It will have a slide-out shelf with the laptop on on it, and batteries underneath. I'll use one for eyepieces and storing accessories and odds-and-ends, and one will be for storing the various OTAs I plan to use for astrophotography. That leaves me a couple of bays for the inevitable "other stuff" that will accumulate.

-Dan


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Midnight Dan
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortl...
Re: Dark Arts Observatory new [Re: Agatha]
      #6087429 - 09/18/13 07:49 AM

Quote:

Looks beautiful Dan. You have a beautiful site.

Just curious...are those dents in the larger dome half and if so, do you know what caused them. Or maybe it's just the way the light is hitting.
Regardless, I love your POD and hope to have one someday.

Best,




Hi Agatha:

The POD is made from a roto-molding process that does end up with imperfections. However, the light is hitting it at just the right angle here to make it look MUCH worse than it looks normally. Kind of like how the craters on the moon stand out at the terminator. Those aren't dents though, they are places where the dome is not perfectly round, and I think those are actually slight protrusions outward.

-Dan


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
scopefreak
scholastic sledgehammer
****

Reged: 04/14/04

Loc: Mayslick KY
Re: Dark Arts Observatory new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #6087437 - 09/18/13 07:57 AM

Well done Dan. You are really going to enjoy that. I almost went the same way but decided that a ROR best fit my needs. I don't have a lot of sky due to trees and my house so the whole roof off was a better fit. With those open skies of yours.......

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Starman27
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/29/06

Loc: Illinois, Iowa
Re: Dark Arts Observatory new [Re: scopefreak]
      #6087450 - 09/18/13 08:08 AM

Nice installation Dan. I like your raised deck. Looks like you have a great horizon, Enjoy.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Midnight Dan
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortl...
Re: Dark Arts Observatory new [Re: Starman27]
      #6087568 - 09/18/13 09:25 AM

Since I didn't post pictures of the assembly, I just wanted to mention how easy it was. It took me a lot longer than expected but that was because of my back problems which caused me to work VERY slowly, take lots of breaks, and stop when it started hurting too much.

In general, it's very simple and straightforward to assemble. The dome comes in 4 quadrants which are bolted together into the two halves you see in the photo above. The larger one, the primary dome, has a metal plate along the bottom so that it rolls smoothly on top of the wall wheels. That plate (actually 4 plate segments) has lots of little screws that take a while to install. Then there's a rubber gasket called the L-gasket that's attached to the edge of the larger dome with metal plates, and creates the seal between the two dome halves. That also takes a little while to put all the screws in. And you need to add sealant to the joint between the two quadrants in each half-dome to keep rain from infiltrating.

So the dome is assembly takes the most time to complete, but it's simple stuff. Putting the walls up is very fast and easy. The 6 segments have interlocking pins and holes along the bottom edge that lets you just snap them together like legos. Then you add a couple of bolts at each wall joint, put the wheels along the top, and you're done. There are holes along the inside bottom of the walls that let you lag screw it to a deck, or stake it to the ground if you want to.

Once the walls are up, you just set the two dome halves on the walls, put the pivot bolts in, add a few wheel-brackets to hold the dome on, and you've got an observatory! Couldn't be much easier! Everything is pre-drilled with threaded inserts where needed. Building the deck and pier took way, way longer than building the observatory. You do need a helper because the pieces are large and unwieldy, but anyone with basic tool skills (and a functional spine! ) should be able to do the whole thing in an afternoon.

-Dan


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Agatha
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 06/04/12

Loc: Coulee Region, Wisconsin
Re: Dark Arts Observatory new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #6087577 - 09/18/13 09:28 AM

Hi Dan,

Yes, slight protrusions is a better word. I'm glad that it's not damage.

I didn't realize that you have the 5 bay. It's always hard to tell unless one is taking a picture from above. How do/did you decide which direction to face the door? Does it matter at all and where is yours pointing?

Congratulations on a wonderful new POD.

I will have to join the Yahoo POD group too for many more questions.

It will be fun to watch the inside take shape. Have fun.

Best,


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Dark Arts Observatory new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #6087601 - 09/18/13 09:44 AM

Dan, Congratulations! You have a beautiful observatory, on a great looking deck! Oh, did I mention awesome skies!

Can't wait to hear about your first light report!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Midnight Dan
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortl...
Re: Dark Arts Observatory new [Re: Agatha]
      #6087767 - 09/18/13 11:13 AM

Quote:

I didn't realize that you have the 5 bay. It's always hard to tell unless one is taking a picture from above. How do/did you decide which direction to face the door? Does it matter at all and where is yours pointing?

... I will have to join the Yahoo POD group too for many more questions.




The prevailing winds in our area are from the west, so I positioned the door to the east. I just thought it would help in the winter time to keep driving snow from working it's way into POD around the door seal. Not sure if that's an issue, but that was my reasoning. The downside of facing east is that snow drifts build up on the downwind side of objects - right where the door is! So I may have more snow shoveling to deal with to get into the POD in the winter.

The Yahoo Skyshed POD group has lots of great information so if you're considering a POD, it's an excellent resource. But I'm also happy to answer any questions I can here, so fire away!

-Dan


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Midnight Dan
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortl...
Re: Dark Arts Observatory new [Re: csa/montana]
      #6087792 - 09/18/13 11:22 AM

Quote:

Dan, Congratulations! You have a beautiful observatory, on a great looking deck! Oh, did I mention awesome skies!




Hi Carol:

Thanks for the good words! But I should mention that the "awesome skies" are an illusion It seems like most of the times when I've been taking photos of this, the skies have looked pretty good. While I do have an awesome view of the horizon in all directions, that horizon is normally filled with clouds. The number of clear nights in these parts is embarrassingly low .

The problem I've faced in the past is that life is busy, and clouds are frequent, and when a good night does come along, I don't have time to take advantage of it - especially if I want to do any AP. I'm hoping the observatory will help with that problem because setup and teardown times will be pretty much eliminated! But I'll still have the clouds to deal with.

-Dan


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Peter9
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/30/08

Loc: Yorkshire - Born & Bred
Re: Dark Arts Observatory new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #6087870 - 09/18/13 12:06 PM

Hi Dan,
Your POD looks great. Well done. If you enjoy using it half as much as I enjoy using mine, then your on a winner.
I have prevailing westerlies most of the year ( Some North to North East in winter). For this reason I park my POD with the non opening dome facing West so that it takes the brunt of the bad weather. Seems to work as I have not had a single drop of water leak into the dome in over two years of owning it.

Good luck and enjoy.

Regards. Peter.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
munchmeister
sage
*****

Reged: 04/04/12

Loc: Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
Re: Dark Arts Observatory new [Re: Peter9]
      #6088338 - 09/18/13 04:01 PM

Way cool !! Looks great and looks like you'll be having lotsa fun.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
ben2112
Cloud Magnet
*****

Reged: 07/12/12

Loc: North Charleston SC
Re: Dark Arts Observatory new [Re: munchmeister]
      #6088729 - 09/18/13 07:40 PM

That looks so cool. I am so jealous. Can't wait for you to give us a first lights report.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
tim57064
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 08/23/12

Loc: Southeast South Dakota,USA
Re: Dark Arts Observatory new [Re: ben2112]
      #6119803 - 10/05/13 11:17 PM

Dan, Hello, I've been wondering how you have been coming along with your new OBS? Have you placed your scope in it permanently yet? Has the weather co-operated enough to use it? Are you completely finished the installation? Just curious as I see you haven't had any additional posts for a while. Tim

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Midnight Dan
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortl...
Re: Dark Arts Observatory new [Re: tim57064]
      #6120931 - 10/06/13 04:40 PM

Hi Tim:

Life got complicated! My division at my company got sold to another company. That means I officially retired from the old place (whether I wanted to or not), and got hired to the new company. My wife also lost her job which means she's "retired" and looking for another job. Seems like it's been a whirlwind of filling out forms, going to meetings, investigating options, doing financial planning, dealing with health care - just a TON going on!

I did get a scope set up in the observatory (my C8), but for the moment all I've had time to do is a few nights of visual. I have to say, it's REALLY nice to just go out there when the mood strikes (and when time allows), and just fire it up and go. And at the end of the night, I don't have to dread tearing everything down and dragging it all back in the house. IT ... IS ... WONDERFUL!

I thought I'd have a lot more done on it by now but as I said, things got busy. I bought a deep cycle battery and I installed the solar cells (a Harbor Freight special), but I haven't had time to wire things up. I've just been using a little NiMH battery pack to power the mount. I also got the floor installed.





Still LOTS to do. Need to get the solar panels wired, install some LED lighting, put some shelves in the bays ... it will take time.

Right now, I'm dealing with a leak at one of the pivot points. This is a common occurrence with new PODs and it usually just takes a little fiddling with the seals. So far, I haven't been successful so I have a post in to the POD Yahoo group to see if I can get some help.

I'll keep posting when I have time.

-Dan


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
tim57064
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 08/23/12

Loc: Southeast South Dakota,USA
Re: Dark Arts Observatory new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #6121352 - 10/06/13 09:30 PM

Dan ,Sorry to hear everything that is going on with the loss of jobs by both you and your wife.It is a good thing that you were able to continue working with your new employer though. Wishing the best of luck to you both especially your wife in her job search.

The Pod floor looks great and the solar panels also are a nice addition. I believe those total 45 watts do they not,15 watts each right?
I am sure you will figure out the leaking problem.

Again,best of luck to you both. Tim


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Midnight Dan
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortl...
Re: Dark Arts Observatory new [Re: tim57064]
      #6131986 - 10/11/13 09:09 PM

Went out to the observatory tonight for a short visual session. Sky was cloud free and Clear Sky Chart looked good. Turned out to be pretty weak though. The moon was ok, but the seeing was pretty bad and everything was swimming. Plus there was a ground level mist that the moon was illuminating which pretty much washed everything else out.

I parked the mount and turned it off, closed the dome, and then ... something went horribly wrong. I looked around and realized ... there was nothing more to do! I kept thinking - there has to be more to it. But no. I could just walk up to the house and be done! Can it really be this easy? So this is what everyone means when they say that an observatory was the best accessory they ever bought. Unbelievable! Even a lousy night of observing is soooo easy, it's still fun - not frustrating!

OK, now I get it!

-Dan


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
audioaficionado
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 05/24/12

Loc: Medford, Orygun, USA
Re: Dark Arts Observatory new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #6132008 - 10/11/13 09:26 PM

Sweet!

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
ben2112
Cloud Magnet
*****

Reged: 07/12/12

Loc: North Charleston SC
Re: Dark Arts Observatory new [Re: audioaficionado]
      #6132139 - 10/11/13 10:28 PM

Very nice, Dan. Did you ever get the wiring done for the solar panels?

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
tim57064
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 08/23/12

Loc: Southeast South Dakota,USA
Re: Dark Arts Observatory new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #6132151 - 10/11/13 10:35 PM

Quote:

Went out to the observatory tonight for a short visual session. Sky was cloud free and Clear Sky Chart looked good. Turned out to be pretty weak though. The moon was ok, but the seeing was pretty bad and everything was swimming. Plus there was a ground level mist that the moon was illuminating which pretty much washed everything else out.

I parked the mount and turned it off, closed the dome, and then ... something went horribly wrong. I looked around and realized ... there was nothing more to do! I kept thinking - there has to be more to it. But no. I could just walk up to the house and be done! Can it really be this easy? So this is what everyone means when they say that an observatory was the best accessory they ever bought. Unbelievable! Even a lousy night of observing is soooo easy, it's still fun - not frustrating!

OK, now I get it!

-Dan



Dan, I cannot wait for my first encounter with the same feeling. Sooo excited and not too long from now.Maybe by the next new moon.
Congrats.

Edited by tim57064 (10/11/13 10:50 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Midnight Dan
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortl...
Re: Dark Arts Observatory new [Re: ben2112]
      #6132220 - 10/11/13 11:23 PM

Quote:

Very nice, Dan. Did you ever get the wiring done for the solar panels?




Not yet. That'll be tomorrow morning.

-Dan


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | (show all)


Extra information
6 registered and 9 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  Christopher Erickson 

Print Thread

Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is disabled
      UBBCode is enabled


Thread views: 11996

Jump to

CN Forums Home


Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics