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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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tim53
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Hatch Observatory Progress
      #3593858 - 01/30/10 04:42 PM Attachment (491 downloads)

Remember my roof-mounted "observatory?" Hatch Observatory

I named it Hatch Observatory, not because it has a hatch covering it, but because our house was built in 1887 by Judge David Patterson Hatch.

Anyway, I've been making progress recently. We're making the large attic space into a theater room, so my desk and computers that I use to operate my 9.25" need to be out of sight behind a door. Well, my daughter got this idea that we should have a secret doorway, so here it is, in progress.

Closed:

-Tim


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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #3593859 - 01/30/10 04:43 PM Attachment (330 downloads)

And here it is opened:

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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #3593874 - 01/30/10 04:52 PM

Today, I'm continuing work on the wall-unit, combination bookshelf and entertainment center that goes across this wall (about 20 feet square space inside the theater room). ON the opposite wall, we have a pull-down 100" screen, with a 780p projector mounted on the ceiling above the wall unit near the center of the wall.

The cables you see hanging down above the open bookcase-secret doorway are the worms that go to the telescope, out of sight above.

I'm using the ladder again while I work on it, but have some rolling/folding scaffold that's behind the wall on the right for the time being, that I'll use for general access to work on the telescope. It's got a camera in it and one piggyback on it for a finder, so I never actually LOOK through it!

After I finish the wall unit, (today, I'm putting up crown and baseboard moldings to further hide the door and finish off the cabinet), we need to move some lighting around and put in some outlets, then we'll work on the ceiling. The door under the scope will slide from the corner into the center above the wall unit. We're planning on designing the door and other three corners of the ceiling to look the same, and the tracks for the door to mimic the "beams" dividing the ceiling into a sort of tic-tac-toe pattern. Hopefully, then, when the door is close under the scope and I'm shut in behind the bookcase, nobody will know I'm imaging!

...except everyone who we've showed it to in person and all who read about it here!

-Tim.


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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #3593889 - 01/30/10 04:58 PM Attachment (233 downloads)

Here's a somewhat wider shot with the door closed, also showing the cables and the opening under the scope better.

-Tim.


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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #3593914 - 01/30/10 05:09 PM

Tim, what a cool idea! Wow! That is such a wise use of the space; plus a fun "find the door" topic for visitors!

Very, very impressive!


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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: csa/montana]
      #3593949 - 01/30/10 05:23 PM

Carol:

I even plan to make a latch that's operated by pulling on a book! Natch, it's going to have to be an ATM book!

-Tim.


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akman1955
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #3593977 - 01/30/10 05:35 PM

That is NEAT Tim!! thanks for sharing..john

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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #3593978 - 01/30/10 05:36 PM

And if anybody else is considering a project like this, here's where I got my idea, though of course I made it about as difficult as I could have, because I wanted the bookshelf to be part of a larger unit. Gary Katz' hidden doorway

-Tim.


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Starman27
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #3594008 - 01/30/10 05:46 PM

Graet idea! It seems to fit an 1870s house.

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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #3594032 - 01/30/10 05:56 PM

Quote:

Carol:

I even plan to make a latch that's operated by pulling on a book! Natch, it's going to have to be an ATM book!

-Tim.




Ohhhh, that will be great!



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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: csa/montana]
      #3595959 - 01/31/10 04:50 PM Attachment (144 downloads)

I had to put a threshold in, because doors always rub high spots in floors if you don't have clearance under them. The floor the contractor put in to replace the one that burned when we had a fire in 2001 is rather... subspiffy, to use a polite term.

So, the threshold is 3/4" high and part of the baseboard will be attached to it and part to the door.

Here it is open:

-Tim.


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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #3595962 - 01/31/10 04:51 PM Attachment (112 downloads)

Here it is closed, with the first piece of baseboard attached to the non-moving part of the wall unit:

-Tim


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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #3595966 - 01/31/10 04:52 PM Attachment (117 downloads)

And here it is partway open, so you can get an inklling of the complexity involved in an undertaking like this:

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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #3595968 - 01/31/10 04:53 PM

Back to work!

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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #3596176 - 01/31/10 06:39 PM Attachment (106 downloads)

Now I've got the baseboard and base shoe "done"...

Still, I'll have to fill all the screw holes with epoxy (I use Abatron, great stuff!), prime and paint, but you can get an idea here:

Open:


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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #3596181 - 01/31/10 06:40 PM Attachment (102 downloads)

Partway open:

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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #3596182 - 01/31/10 06:40 PM Attachment (116 downloads)

And closed!

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StarWrangler
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Reged: 09/03/04

Loc: Three Rivers, MI U.S.A>
Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #3596199 - 01/31/10 06:48 PM

Shades of old mystery's Tim,

Your daughter was thinking along the same lines as I.

I was talking to my wife a while back about the next

observatory I had would be attached
to the house with a secrete door to it.

I love secret doors and rooms so I will be keeping on
eye on your progress.

Alan


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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: StarWrangler]
      #3596353 - 01/31/10 08:24 PM

Alan:

It's been a lot of fun, but adding moldings makes the fitting a little complicated!

I'm running out of light, but I almost got the crown put together. It's going to consist of a piece of base shoe, like at the very bottom in the pic above (hard to see in these iphone pics), turned upside down and attached to the top of the door and bookcase to the left and right.

The crown molding will be mounted to the support structure and the unmoving bookcases above that, so when the door opens the "base shoe" on top moves with the door, and the crown above doesn't move. kind of like the way Gary Katz did the crown on his bookcase.

I'm amazed at how well the door hides when it's closed. Right now, you can see the seams and screw holes, but when it's painted a dark color and the holes are filled, it should be harder to see them.

-Tim.


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Digital Don
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #3596594 - 01/31/10 10:35 PM

Didn't Sherlock Holmes find Professor Moriarity hiding in there?

Actually, that's pretty neat and very nicely made!

Don


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DaemonGPF
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: Digital Don]
      #3597936 - 02/01/10 02:54 PM

And here I clicked the link expecting to see an Observatory in Hatch, New Mexico LOL. Very cool though.

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astrotrf
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: DaemonGPF]
      #3598119 - 02/01/10 04:13 PM

Quote:

And here I clicked the link expecting to see an Observatory in Hatch, New Mexico LOL. Very cool though.




Ha! Me, too! I was getting all warmed up for a field trip to the Hatch Chile Festival!


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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: astrotrf]
      #3598577 - 02/01/10 07:06 PM

Well, you coulda found something like The EARL

When you should have found this:

The BETTER EARL

Which is a more better and believable story.

-Tim.


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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #3609078 - 02/06/10 05:55 PM Attachment (113 downloads)

More progress.

Since it's a rainy day, I decided to work indoors and trade my "toys" weekend for one where I work on the house.

Today, I'm putting up the crown over the door. Here it is closed. The bullnose on top isn't attached yet. Need to rout some more of that first.

-Tim.


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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #3609084 - 02/06/10 05:57 PM Attachment (114 downloads)

And here it is open. Only the "base shoe" that's upside down for use at the crown, moves with the door. The rest stays put (thankfully! getting it to clear the moving mechanism would have been an nightmare!).

-Tim.


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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #3609086 - 02/06/10 05:58 PM

Sorry for the noisy pix. When it's raining, I need to keep the hatch cover closed, so the iphone is struggling with room lighting in these pix.

-Tim.


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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #3609190 - 02/06/10 06:54 PM Attachment (110 downloads)

It stopped raining so I could open the hatch:

-Tim.


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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #3609193 - 02/06/10 06:55 PM Attachment (134 downloads)

open

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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #3610190 - 02/07/10 10:12 AM

That is absolutely amazing! Bet it's the first time a hidden door has been installed in an observatory! That is exceptional!

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TurbineTester
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: csa/montana]
      #4147663 - 10/28/10 10:00 AM

This is so..."Goonies" i love it!

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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: TurbineTester]
      #4151236 - 10/29/10 07:33 PM

I haven't worked on Hatch Observatory in a long time, because it's been warm outside and I've got better scopes for planetary for outside observing...

...but now that it's cooling off, I'll likely be using the 9.25" a lot more than the other scopes. It's really nice being able to set up and turn the camera on in about 5 minutes, and put things away quickly if the clouds roll in or my eyelids won't stay up.

So, for my weekend house tasks, I'll probably start working on finishing the cabinetry and walls up there off. We have heat and AC again up there for the theater room, so I won't be uncomfy working on it.

I'll keep y'all posted!

-Tim.


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Stewww
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: Digital Don]
      #4156287 - 11/01/10 12:56 PM

Added bonus of providing security for your astro equipment in the even you house ever gets broken into.

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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: Stewww]
      #5342118 - 07/29/12 06:04 PM Attachment (56 downloads)

It's been a LONG time!

I've been working on shelving for the bookcase unit and hidden door. Got the shelves "done" this weekend, and am going to try to get the rest of the nail and screw holes filled today so they're good and cured when I get my next opportunity to work on it.

Here's a "photosynth" panorama of the bookshelf unit, with the secret door closed:


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Starhawk
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #5350075 - 08/03/12 11:46 AM

Wait, the door is a bookcase from INSIDE the observatory? What's on the other side?

-Rich


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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #5350718 - 08/03/12 07:15 PM

Now, that is absolutely awesome!

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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5369628 - 08/15/12 07:39 AM

Quote:

Wait, the door is a bookcase from INSIDE the observatory? What's on the other side?

-Rich




Actually, the telescope lives in the opening in the roof you see in the upper right corner of the pan. It's not there now, as I had to take it down to deal with the windstorm damage we got last fall. Behind that right bookshelf is my computer desk, under the angled outer edge of our Victorian roof. There's actually quite a bit of room under there for storage and stuff.

I have all my cabling running through the roof joists from the scope to the computer, including 2 firewire cables, one for a flea camera with 11mm lens that I use as a finder, the other for a flea2 camera with 2x shorty barlow that I use for planetary imaging through the main scope.

Here are a couple of ancient photos of the setup before I built the wall unit:

Scope set up for viewing:

Doors closed under scope (when they were hinged, now they slide off to one side):



Scope stowed horizontal so roof hatch can be closed:



Desk:



-Tim.


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StarWrangler
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Reged: 09/03/04

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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #5369976 - 08/15/12 11:49 AM

Shades of "Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase"

One of my Favorites Tim,


Alan O.


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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: StarWrangler]
      #5436340 - 09/23/12 03:13 PM Attachment (15 downloads)

Slow progress report.

Using abatron epoxy to fill screw and nail holes, plus gaps at edges and stuff.

Among these things, I figured out how to fill the gaps near the hinge pivots on the hidden doorway. They were pretty small gaps, but they'd be visible (to me at least) even after being painted the dark red-brown we're painting the trim in the tower and bookcase and wainscotting in the attic room.

The problem?


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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #5436343 - 09/23/12 03:13 PM Attachment (12 downloads)

The solution?

Cut a piece of sandpaper to fit:


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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #5436346 - 09/23/12 03:15 PM Attachment (11 downloads)

And glue it in place:

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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #5436349 - 09/23/12 03:16 PM Attachment (50 downloads)

Door closed:

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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #5436358 - 09/23/12 03:18 PM Attachment (48 downloads)

I figure I'll put some abatron epoxy around the exposed edges and prim and paint the paper to finish after the glue dries.

Bottom, similar solution. Here, I didn't discover that the pivot hardware hit the top of the immovable baseboard molding until I'd put it all together, so I had to shave some of the top off to get it not to hit. The paper closes the gap that left behind.


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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #5468849 - 10/13/12 08:11 PM Attachment (38 downloads)

More EXTREMELY SLOW progress! But this is significant, because just about all the filling and sanding of the wall unit is DONE. In this pic, the door is not quite all the way closed, because my son's got his ethernet cable running out the bottom corner from the DSL modem and down the stairwell to his room. Yeah, the man needs a wireless card! But i think it's cool that you'd be hard pressed to find the seams on the right side of the doorway/shelf unit. With that cable out of there and a fresh coat of paint, it's going to disappear!

So, I'm just about ready to clean up my construction mess and hand the job over to my wife and the kids for painting.

After the first coat of paint gets applied, I've got some issues to fix with a couple of the movable shelves, then I've got to make speaker covers for the woofer and a fake one for the return ducting for the HVAC from the floor below to the blower behind the walls up here. After that, there's the ceiling to design and finish so the door under the scope just looks like a panel matching others in the other three corners. Then the drywall above the wainscotting needs to be buttered and painted. Then 2 more doors (real doors) need to be installed for access to other parts of the periphery of the attic space (where the blowers are, where my wife's storage area is, and where the wet bar - no kidding - next to the projection screen will be).

So it's still going to be a while before I'm actually DONE. But I'll try to get there before I shove daisies!


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rwiederrich
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #5470162 - 10/14/12 04:57 PM

It has become clear that the hidden door is only access to the storage behind the book shelf. The telescope opening is not moved but the new wall to the right and the book shelf to the back have given the appearance things have moved. Slick

I like your auto mount flip and control...and as you mentioned all the cabling is hidden unlike before...and your library is both an observatory for a gentleman and a study for the family.

Slick and quite impressive. I like your work with keeping with the houses character.

Rob


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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: rwiederrich]
      #5471479 - 10/15/12 12:39 PM

Thanks, Rob!

It's a fun project. And it's nice that I get to accomplish rennovation on the house in the process of "building an observatory". Plus, I have other scopes, so I'm not without my photons while this is "down".

When I'm done, it'll be possible for me to be at my desk running the telescope, with the secret door closed and the door under the scope closed, so someone walking into the attic wouldn't know I was there (and observing!).

Like a Panic Room/Observatory combination!

-Tim.


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rwiederrich
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #5471721 - 10/15/12 02:48 PM

Quote:

Thanks, Rob!

It's a fun project. And it's nice that I get to accomplish rennovation on the house in the process of "building an observatory". Plus, I have other scopes, so I'm not without my photons while this is "down".

When I'm done, it'll be possible for me to be at my desk running the telescope, with the secret door closed and the door under the scope closed, so someone walking into the attic wouldn't know I was there (and observing!).

Like a Panic Room/Observatory combination!

-Tim.




My hats off to ya Tim..really. You incorporated 2 of my favorite things..reading with a cool library and a nifty automated flip mounted scope..viewable from your library desks laptop. Past and future stiched seamlessly together...oh so sweet.

Great job all round....

Rob


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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: rwiederrich]
      #5534226 - 11/22/12 05:10 PM Attachment (28 downloads)

This morning, after putting the bird in the oven, my wife finished the first coat of paint on the wall unit/secret doorway to Hatch Observatory. She also got me to clean up a lot of my mess for the house tour we're hosting on Sunday. So my hidden office is nice to use again now!

We chose a dark red brown for the trim in the room and the tower next to it, with a sky blue-gray for the walls. The walls aren't done in the room yet, just bare drywall. I have to put the skim coat of mud on it to make it look plastery instead of drywally, in keeping with the 125 year old house. The color for the trim and cabinet came out beautiful. It really looks like a dark stain rather than a paint.

-Tim.


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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #5534227 - 11/22/12 05:11 PM

This photo is from yesterday, so the door shelves aren't painted yet.

-Tim.


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tim53
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Re: Hatch Observatory Progress new [Re: tim53]
      #5549121 - 12/01/12 05:24 PM Attachment (13 downloads)

Here's the one with paint:

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