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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site
      #6238660 - 12/07/13 09:23 AM Attachment (165 downloads)

I've been wanting this for a long time and, getting ready to retire to an area without severe light pollution, my wife relented. Here is the current progress. Weather has slowed down the construction.

Regards,

Charlie B


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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6238664 - 12/07/13 09:25 AM Attachment (129 downloads)

The view from the other side.

Charlie B


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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
*****

Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6238684 - 12/07/13 09:43 AM

Ummmmm....observatory or B&B? Very nice! I'm looking forward to the finished product and the indoor pictures.

David


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Midnight Dan
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortl...
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #6238689 - 12/07/13 09:48 AM

Very nice! What are your plans for a pier?

-Dan


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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #6238691 - 12/07/13 09:51 AM

The pier is a Pier-tech and The base will be with chimney blocks.

Regards,

Charlie B


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tim57064
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 08/23/12

Loc: Southeast South Dakota,USA
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #6238695 - 12/07/13 09:53 AM

Charlie,First of all I want to say,Great Job.
Are you planing a pier for this or just setting up on the floor?


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tim57064
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 08/23/12

Loc: Southeast South Dakota,USA
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6238698 - 12/07/13 09:55 AM

Whoops ,Dan got in before I did.Excellent choice though for the pier.

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mikey cee
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/18/07

Loc: bellevue ne.
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: tim57064]
      #6238739 - 12/07/13 10:26 AM

Charlie quite a novel idea executed there! I like it. Mike

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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: mikey cee]
      #6238811 - 12/07/13 11:07 AM

I got the idea from Patrick Moore's Practical Astronomy Series "Building a Roll-Off Roof Observatory" by John Hicks. Figure 1.33 shows a tall brick pier and, since the Pier-tech baseplate is 12 x 12 inches, brick or block seemed appropriate.

Regards,

Charlie B


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Starman27
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/29/06

Loc: Illinois, Iowa
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6238842 - 12/07/13 11:22 AM

Charlie,

Great design and construction job. Are the supports 4X4?


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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Starman27]
      #6238953 - 12/07/13 12:23 PM

The supports are 6x6.

Charlie B


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JJK
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 04/28/08

Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6238976 - 12/07/13 12:34 PM

If you need a hand, let me know. I'm not too far from you.

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Footbag
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: JJK]
      #6239004 - 12/07/13 12:44 PM

Awesome observatory! I thought I had the highest roof supports I have seen at 12'. You have me beat by a lot. How long are those 6x6' roof supports?

My wife and I stood them up ourselves. She is still cursing me over it.


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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: JJK]
      #6239089 - 12/07/13 01:27 PM

Thanks, but the observatory is at Lake Anna, not Sterling.

Charlie B


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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Footbag]
      #6239099 - 12/07/13 01:33 PM

The deck is 12' high and the supports are 18'.

Charlie B


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Footbag
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6239166 - 12/07/13 02:02 PM

So about 300 LBS...

I don't know why, maybe because of how intimidating they were, but raising them was the proudest moment of my build. My wife helped, and we did the work of four larger guys.


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Aquarist
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Footbag]
      #6239197 - 12/07/13 02:16 PM

Impressive!!

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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6239265 - 12/07/13 02:52 PM

Charlie, that is going to be a fantastic observatory! I love the walkway right into it; you certainly will have a bird's eye view of the night skies!

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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Footbag]
      #6239333 - 12/07/13 03:38 PM

Quote:

I don't know why, maybe because of how intimidating they were, but raising them was the proudest moment of my build. My wife helped, and we did the work of four larger guys.




I'm not the person who raised them. I had two younger guys do it as, I mentioned before, this is my retirement house and I'm getting a little too old to be doing this type of work (67). It really takes much too long to heal when you tear muscles, which over the last 10 years I've done numerous times.

Charlie B


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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: csa/montana]
      #6239336 - 12/07/13 03:41 PM

Quote:

I love the walkway right into it




I do to, but it was my wife's idea. I was willing to go with a ladder, but she said she did not want me climbing up and down at night. After 42 years of marriage, she still looks after me.

Charlie B


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Midnight Dan
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortl...
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6239391 - 12/07/13 04:18 PM

That long walkway with the rails, and the observatory on stilts, gives it sort of a Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse kind of appeal. Very cool!

-Dan


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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #6239423 - 12/07/13 04:33 PM

Quote:

That long walkway with the rails, and the observatory on stilts, gives it sort of a Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse kind of appeal.




Funny that you should mention that. My wife calls it Charlie's treehouse.

Charlie B


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stmguy
sage


Reged: 10/11/12

Loc: Western NH
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6239437 - 12/07/13 04:37 PM

Very impressive! Great job there

Norm


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Footbag
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6239476 - 12/07/13 05:01 PM

Quote:

Quote:

That long walkway with the rails, and the observatory on stilts, gives it sort of a Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse kind of appeal.




Funny that you should mention that. My wife calls it Charlie's treehouse.

Charlie B




Sound like the start of a good observatory name.


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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Footbag]
      #6239509 - 12/07/13 05:17 PM

Quote:

Sound like the start of a good observatory name.





You are right. In the future, that's the name.

Charlie B


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Midnight Dan
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortl...
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6239625 - 12/07/13 06:24 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Sound like the start of a good observatory name.





You are right. In the future, that's the name.

Charlie B




+1

-Dan


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astrodog73
super member


Reged: 02/22/13

Loc: Australia
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #6239962 - 12/07/13 10:17 PM

It's a work of art so far, I take my hat off to you....
Is the height of the supports to clear local obstructions, or flood protection??


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seafury
super member


Reged: 01/18/12

Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: astrodog73]
      #6240193 - 12/08/13 02:46 AM

Having taken a tumble a few times on my wet decking be careful walking on that wet wood unless it doesn't get slippery

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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: astrodog73]
      #6240400 - 12/08/13 09:01 AM

Quote:

Is the height of the supports to clear local obstructions, or flood protection??




The height is for 2 reasons: 1 keep the walkway close to the level of the house deck and 2 enable seeing over the house to the west. The view is to the horizon NE, E, SE; to about 35 degrees N and NW; to 30 degrees W; and about 40 degrees S and SW.

Regards,

Charlie B


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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: seafury]
      #6240402 - 12/08/13 09:04 AM

It is relatively level and should not be too bad, but with ice, snow or just wet, it can get slippery.

Regards,

Charlie


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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6242233 - 12/09/13 09:19 AM Attachment (51 downloads)

At least the roof was on before yesterday's snow and ice storm.

Regards,

Charlie B


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TCW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/05/13

Loc: The North 40
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6248180 - 12/12/13 12:26 AM

Very nice. As a builder I would suggest more braces and to go as deep and big as possible for your pier foundation. At least 2 cubic yards of concrete with the bottom below frost line if applicable. Stub up plenty of rebar for your pier.

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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: TCW]
      #6249072 - 12/12/13 01:26 PM

That's the plan. Thanks!

Charlie B


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ManicSponge
sage


Reged: 11/29/13

Loc: Wenatchee, Wa.
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6249645 - 12/12/13 06:23 PM

That is very cool, Charlie. Enormous undertaking, but that will be an amazing setup! Are you planning to heat and cool it, when you are not out using it? Dehumidifier?
Just curious. If this hobby sucks me in as I believe it will, there may be a small scale observatory in my future, and I have always wondered about the effects of being outside, on equipment.
Congrats, looks very well done!
Kyle


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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: ManicSponge]
      #6249890 - 12/12/13 08:59 PM

I'm not planning to either heat or cool it. However, the only time the equipment will be exposed to the elements is when observing. With the roof closed, heat and humidity in the summer may be an issue and I may need to do something, but I don't think that cold will be a big problem. It's been very cold this week (in the teens), but this is unusual for this area. I will have power and may want to keep a light bulb or some small heat source, but now I don't know.

Regards,

Charlie B


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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6264435 - 12/20/13 08:37 PM Attachment (34 downloads)

Almost finished! The pier base was set in concrete this afternoon.

Regards,

Charlie B


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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6264441 - 12/20/13 08:40 PM Attachment (39 downloads)

The pier!

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Dr Morbius
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 02/06/07

Loc: ManorvilleNY-but not for long
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6264651 - 12/20/13 11:34 PM

Beautiful! Keep those pictures coming!!!

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Starman27
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/29/06

Loc: Illinois, Iowa
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Dr Morbius]
      #6264959 - 12/21/13 09:17 AM

This is a real class act!

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mikey cee
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/18/07

Loc: bellevue ne.
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Starman27]
      #6265053 - 12/21/13 10:11 AM

Charlie that is one heck of a setup there. As a former pro carpenter with finish a framing expertise I must commend you.....very well laid out and executed. Looks like the next expense will be a replacement weed trimmer! Mike

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*skyguy*
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 12/31/08

Loc: Western New York
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6265065 - 12/21/13 10:22 AM

Beautiful observatory and a very impressive design! It will give you many very enjoyable years of imaging and observing.

BTW, I've had a 14' chimney block pier (16"x16"x8" block) in my second floor ROR garage observatory for the past 12 years. I have a Meade 12" LX200 mounted on top. I'm sure you will be pleasantly surprised with the exceptional performance of this type of pier. It's extremely strong and absolutely vibration free. My scope is used almost 100% for imaging and I have never had any problems with vibrations.

Chimney Block Pier

Good Luck with your observatory build ....

Jim


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Toml08
member
*****

Reged: 01/08/11

Loc: Evergeen, CO
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: mikey cee]
      #6265165 - 12/21/13 11:48 AM

Charlie beautiful setup, can't wait to see the completion and first light.

CS,
Tom.


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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: mikey cee]
      #6265330 - 12/21/13 01:47 PM

Quote:

Looks like the next expense will be a replacement weed trimmer!



I'm shopping around. Any recommendations? A 2-handed bush hog may be needed.

Charlie B


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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: *skyguy*]
      #6265335 - 12/21/13 01:49 PM

Quote:

BTW, I've had a 14' chimney block pier (16"x16"x8" block) in my second floor ROR garage observatory for the past 12 years.




Actually, your picture of the chimney block pier gave me the idea. Thanks!

Charlie B


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n1wvet
super member
*****

Reged: 04/22/11

Loc: Northern Virginia, USA, Earth
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6267830 - 12/23/13 01:37 AM

Do use any re-bar or fill inside the chimney block? Or is it hollow?

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TCW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/05/13

Loc: The North 40
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6267842 - 12/23/13 01:58 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Looks like the next expense will be a replacement weed trimmer!



I'm shopping around. Any recommendations? A 2-handed bush hog may be needed.

Charlie B




Stihl pro models are the best.


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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: n1wvet]
      #6268071 - 12/23/13 07:54 AM

The chimney blocks are rebared and filled with concrete.

Regards,

Charlie B


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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6279087 - 12/29/13 12:35 PM Attachment (35 downloads)

It's all finished except I need to let the concrete cure. However, I could not wait and had a semi-first light with a tripod.

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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6279094 - 12/29/13 12:35 PM Attachment (34 downloads)

Another view!

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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6279096 - 12/29/13 12:36 PM Attachment (44 downloads)

With the roof closed!

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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6279234 - 12/29/13 01:53 PM



Congratulations Charlie! That is one very impressive observatory, and was made to look like an extended part of your house! I really love it!


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Raginar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: csa/montana]
      #6279330 - 12/29/13 02:51 PM

That's legit. You better take some pictures of it when the river floods

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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Raginar]
      #6279414 - 12/29/13 03:36 PM

Quote:

You better take some pictures of it when the river floods




That's not a river. It's a canal on a lake. It does not flood.

Regards,

Charlie B


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RobertED
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 07/11/03

Loc: Smithfield, RI
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6281541 - 12/30/13 04:21 PM

It is an awesome idea and design!! Very cool!!!

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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6319290 - 01/17/14 07:19 PM Attachment (21 downloads)

The observatory is essentially finished and I have the pier and mount installed.

However, I will likely be doing improvements for some time.

Regards,

Charlie B

Charlie B


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tim57064
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 08/23/12

Loc: Southeast South Dakota,USA
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6320153 - 01/18/14 10:37 AM

Way to go Charlie! Love that pier and Mount.Very jealous right now.

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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: tim57064]
      #6320242 - 01/18/14 11:14 AM

Very cool- I love the walkway out there. Are you going to put recessed lighting under one of the hand rails?

-Rich


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Starhawk]
      #6321293 - 01/18/14 09:36 PM

Quote:

Very cool- I love the walkway out there. Are you going to put recessed lighting under one of the hand rails?

-Rich




Only if the lights are red.


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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Finally, an observatory at a reasonably dark site new [Re: Starhawk]
      #6321363 - 01/18/14 10:26 PM

No recessed lighting and it's not needed. I do have a red compact florescent light in the observatory.

Regards,

Charlie B


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