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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Blueski Observatory begins
      #5533719 - 11/22/12 10:47 AM

Well, the building permit came through. We have a specified location in our back yard and a specified construction plan using Technical Innovations 15 foot dome with dome automation. This dome will be mounted on a wooden platform with 3 foot walls from TI. The pier will be 24 inch diameter poured concrete with an ATS 10 inch diameter pier that is 26 inches high. This will result in an eye piece height looking at zenith of 46 inches and an eye piece height viewing the horizon of 54 inches with an Astro-physics 1600GTO mount. We plan to have at least one PC for control of the mount with ethernet going to the house to my office PC for observatory control.

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Raginar
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5533882 - 11/22/12 12:33 PM

Awesome, can't wait to see it!

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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5534644 - 11/22/12 11:48 PM

Congratulations Steve! We look forward to following your observatory, from start to finish!

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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5535120 - 11/23/12 09:38 AM

Thanks Carol. Pier order from Advanced Telescope Systems goes out today. My stuff has 3-4 month lead times but the plan is for spring 2013 so that is not a problem.

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stmguy
sage


Reged: 10/11/12

Loc: Western NH
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5535210 - 11/23/12 10:33 AM

The fun begins....look forward to seeing the progress. I'm enjoying working on my own observatory, some challenges but still rewarding to just push the hatch open and start observing
Norm


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rockethead26
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 10/21/09

Loc: Arizona, USA
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: stmguy]
      #5538330 - 11/25/12 07:18 AM

This is really exciting!

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Greyhaven
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 05/11/04

Loc: Greater downtown Maine
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5539382 - 11/25/12 08:33 PM


Drooling like crazy!
Be Well
Grey


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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Greyhaven]
      #5540550 - 11/26/12 03:46 PM

Today I sent in the order for the Technical Innovations 15 foot observatory. Both the ATS pier and observatory are scheduled for March.

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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5546058 - 11/29/12 07:12 PM

The ATS pier has the option of getting the bolts and templates preshipped in order to do the concrete pier. I am lucky enough to have a Garmin GPS to find true north.

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Starman27
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/29/06

Loc: Illinois, Iowa
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5546972 - 11/30/12 10:59 AM

Good for you! Can't wait to se the build and results. May even come over in person if you need help.

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CounterWeight
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Palo alto, CA.
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Starman27]
      #5547051 - 11/30/12 11:56 AM

Congratulations on your decision - that is some very nice obs / gear you are spec'ing - should be a fantastic addition for you. Look forward to your updates

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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5547513 - 11/30/12 04:49 PM

Yes, I will keep everyone posted. Amazing lead times on stuff these days. 3 months for the Pier from ATS, March 6 shipping for the observatory itself.

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thesungazer
Sungazer
*****

Reged: 05/06/03

Loc: Maryland
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5547947 - 11/30/12 10:01 PM

That is going to be an amazing home observatory, Steve! With a $30k+ observatory in place, what kind of scope will you put in it?

Greg


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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: thesungazer]
      #5548345 - 12/01/12 06:59 AM

Quote:

That is going to be an amazing home observatory, Steve! With a $30k+ observatory in place, what kind of scope will you put in it?

Greg




The plan is an Astro-physics 1600GTO mount with a Planewave CDK17 scope. Also planned is a small piggyback refractor (maybe Televue?) which hopefully can also be used if properly equipped, for some solar viewing. Fortunately my wife is "into" astronomy as well so this is not as tough a sell as it might otherwise be. We are older and realize there is no way to "take it with us". I am sure this seems extravagant to many, for which we apologize.


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Binary Star
super member
*****

Reged: 09/04/08

Loc: N.E. Ohio
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5549442 - 12/01/12 09:48 PM

That sounds amazing. I wouldn't be apologizing either - I think it's wonderful that you're doing what you want with what you have. That's the ultimate expression of freedom!

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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Binary Star]
      #5559576 - 12/07/12 04:33 PM

Slight change of hardware plan. Still going with the Astro-physics 1600GTO but changed scopes to the Takahashi TOA 150. Reason is that I plan to get a Daystar filter and also do observing of the sun during clear days. I was lucky enough to find one TOA 150 coming into the country.

Edited by Aquarist (12/07/12 04:35 PM)


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mikey cee
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/18/07

Loc: bellevue ne.
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5559689 - 12/07/12 05:57 PM

Steve I don't say it enough around here but you "new builds" are living the life. I know just how you feel. I get a charge everytime I open up my observatory too! Mike

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Mel M
super member
*****

Reged: 05/04/08

Loc: southern Oregon
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5566016 - 12/11/12 02:06 PM

Quote:

Slight change of hardware plan. Still going with the Astro-physics 1600GTO but changed scopes to the Takahashi TOA 150. Reason is that I plan to get a Daystar filter and also do observing of the sun during clear days. I was lucky enough to find one TOA 150 coming into the country.




If you wanted a smaller mount the AP900 would handle the 150 fine.


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CharlesW
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/02/12

Loc: Chula Vista & Indio, CA
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5566695 - 12/11/12 10:37 PM

Considering how much time, money, and effort you are putting into this amazing project, you might be underwhelmed by the compass accuracy of your Garmin. You might consider renting a surveyor's compass to be sure.

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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: CharlesW]
      #5567060 - 12/12/12 07:10 AM

Quote:

Considering how much time, money, and effort you are putting into this amazing project, you might be underwhelmed by the compass accuracy of your Garmin. You might consider renting a surveyor's compass to be sure.




Great idea. I did not know such existed.


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mikey cee
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/18/07

Loc: bellevue ne.
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: mikey cee]
      #5567274 - 12/12/12 10:21 AM

Oh yeah before I forget. You'd better change the name to something else. Everytime I see it I think of only a cold beer! Mike

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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: mikey cee]
      #5576257 - 12/17/12 07:16 PM

Well, it is actually memorializing my dog Blue, who sadly died November 18.

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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5634437 - 01/21/13 07:45 AM

Ok, an update. Building permit approved; nontrivial amount of negotiation about location. Exact location approved by the building inspector. Telescopes will be Takahashi TOA 150 (change from CDK 17) and Lunt DS 100. Mount will be Astrophysics 1600GTO. Permanent pier will be from ATS. All of which is ordered with lead times varying up until about March. Technical Innovations Dome with ship date promised March 6. So, things are moving along but my impatience is growing.

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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5659879 - 02/03/13 12:17 PM

Notification from ATS yesterday that my 10" metal pier will be delayed until the middle of February because they sold far too many 10 inch piers. Wow! Observatory from Technical Innovations ships March 6. Astrophysics mount ships in March. Takahahshi TOA150 waiting in Houston. Lunt DS100 being completed for about April. So, it all is going to get exciting rather quickly. Today I am reading the observatory forum for "finishing ideas".

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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5659903 - 02/03/13 12:32 PM

Steve, you will be busy; and we want photos to follow all this excitement!

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rlandsboro
super member


Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5660939 - 02/03/13 11:53 PM

I'm just curious - what made you decide to
change from the CDK to the Takahashi?


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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #5661329 - 02/04/13 09:15 AM

Quote:

I'm just curious - what made you decide to
change from the CDK to the Takahashi?




Several things: first of all, my wife will be only a visual observer, and while a CDK is optimized for imaging, that capability is also good on a Tak. I too like visual but hope to do imaging eventually. But more importantly, I was not able to get good response to questions posed to Planewave. I figured that response in pre-sale mode is as good as it is ever going to be and if they are non-responsive now, help later would be most likely worse. While the costs of both scopes are generally similar (CDK is more), I felt that information was more readily available for Takahashi.


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rlandsboro
super member


Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5661629 - 02/04/13 12:07 PM

Sounds like a good decision. It's much easier to give hard-earned dollars to vendors who are accessible and forthcoming with information. And especially to vendors who are willing to say "no - it doesn't do that" so a buyer can really understand their purchase.

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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #5815682 - 04/22/13 04:48 PM Attachment (28 downloads)

Well, it has been a long time and the lead times to acquire stuff such as mounts, observatories, telescopes, etc. were very long, but things are finally coming together.

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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5815685 - 04/22/13 04:51 PM Attachment (30 downloads)

But, I had no concept of how big the Technical Innovations shipping carton really was, at least until it arrived in my driveway. Needless to say I am not moving it in its present form as it weighs in at 2000 lbs and is 102 inches long, 80 inches wide and 100 inches tall. Next step is to drill a hole for the pier, but that will require some dryer weather than we have been having.

Edited by Aquarist (04/22/13 04:51 PM)


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starbob1
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/11/07

Loc: IN
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5815823 - 04/22/13 05:41 PM

Wow what a box. Your equipment is first class your putting togeather.I am coming over'hehe. I live just over in IN. I love my observatory' even though I do not use it all the time. But just knowing it is their makes me happy. Please post many pics. Bob

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Project Galileo
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: Jefferson County, Colorado
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: starbob1]
      #5815961 - 04/22/13 06:10 PM

Great start!

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stmguy
sage


Reged: 10/11/12

Loc: Western NH
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Project Galileo]
      #5816876 - 04/23/13 06:36 AM

You look like a happy camper ! The fun begins.

Norm


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5817082 - 04/23/13 09:52 AM

Quote:

Well, it is actually memorializing my dog Blue, who sadly died November 18.




Very sorry about your loss; naming your observatory in memory of Blue is very special!


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5817083 - 04/23/13 09:54 AM

Quote:

But, I had no concept of how big the Technical Innovations shipping carton really was, at least until it arrived in my driveway. Needless to say I am not moving it in its present form as it weighs in at 2000 lbs and is 102 inches long, 80 inches wide and 100 inches tall. Next step is to drill a hole for the pier, but that will require some dryer weather than we have been having.





Wow! I don't think you have to worry about it being stolen!


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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5833156 - 04/30/13 08:27 PM Attachment (16 downloads)

Well, the next step in building the observatory happened today. Here you see a rather substantial piece of equipment which is going to drill the hole for the pier. It will be 2 feet across and 48 inches deep.

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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5833157 - 04/30/13 08:28 PM Attachment (13 downloads)

And now the drilling begins . . .

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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5833161 - 04/30/13 08:29 PM Attachment (17 downloads)

It is hard to realize how deep 48 inches is until you see the drill working away . . .

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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5833162 - 04/30/13 08:30 PM Attachment (16 downloads)

Here we are at about the 42 inch level . . .

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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5833165 - 04/30/13 08:31 PM Attachment (21 downloads)

And that ends up being a really substantial hole:

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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5833171 - 04/30/13 08:33 PM

And the next step is tomorrow when the inspector insures we are below the frost line. Of course he does not really understand the function of the pier or its hole. But he will also inspect the 8 smaller support holes for the platform on which the observatory will sit. And the following day concrete will pour: six bag mix, reinforced concrete.

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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
*****

Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5833371 - 04/30/13 10:43 PM

Sure beats a shovel!!

David


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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5834063 - 05/01/13 10:45 AM

Quote:

Sure beats a shovel!!

David




Also, less expensive than hospital bills. Total time was 15 minutes, versus an estimated manual time of 4 hours.


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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5834801 - 05/01/13 05:02 PM

Inspector came today, glanced at the hold (perfect circle) and signed off without measuring. This afternoon concrete will be poured. About 1 yard six bag mix, three rebar. The trick, of course will be getting true north measured and aligned with the ATS pier template.

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Midnight Dan
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortl...
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5834920 - 05/01/13 06:03 PM

My guess is that the pier is not part of the structure, so he probably didn't even need to inspect it. I'll be putting in something similar in the great, over-regulated, state of NY and they said they didn't need to inspect the pier at all.

-Dan


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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5834942 - 05/01/13 06:17 PM Attachment (28 downloads)

Well, after the inspector did a cursory look at the hole, we ordered up concrete: 1 cubic yard of six bag mix. And 3 pieces of rebar.

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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5834948 - 05/01/13 06:18 PM Attachment (16 downloads)

But clearly the truck could not go to the hole, so the concrete had to be wheeled in.

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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5834954 - 05/01/13 06:20 PM Attachment (29 downloads)

But only some of the concrete was going to be below ground, but the remainder was above ground and had to have a form. Here is the portion above ground as well.

Edited by Aquarist (05/01/13 06:21 PM)


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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5834959 - 05/01/13 06:22 PM Attachment (27 downloads)

We used three different methodologies for finding true north. Fortunately ATS provides a wooden template to assist in leveling and aligning.

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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5834962 - 05/01/13 06:24 PM Attachment (32 downloads)

Here is the ATS pier in Astrophysics White. ATS is highly recommended and is very easy to deal with.

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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5834967 - 05/01/13 06:27 PM Attachment (29 downloads)

They affix their "label" on the side with the bolt hole that should be aligned with true north.

Edited by Aquarist (05/01/13 08:52 PM)


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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5834969 - 05/01/13 06:28 PM

As with all things astronomy, the next three days is scheduled to rain. Next on the schedule would be drilling the 8 support posts for the observatory deck. But if it is wet, we have to wait until it is dry.

Edited by Aquarist (05/01/13 08:53 PM)


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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5834975 - 05/01/13 06:30 PM

Quote:

My guess is that the pier is not part of the structure, so he probably didn't even need to inspect it. I'll be putting in something similar in the great, over-regulated, state of NY and they said they didn't need to inspect the pier at all.

-Dan




Probably right. We are governed by 3 regulating agencies: city, county, and township. All had to sign off on the plan, but only the city "inspects".


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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #6057402 - 09/01/13 10:55 AM

Work has resumed. Base structure pictures to follow soon.

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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #6077692 - 09/12/13 08:43 PM

Well, things have progressed despite my failure to keep this thread up to date. To refresh memories, I ordered and have a technical innovations 15 foot dome observatory. We decided to install this on a base rather than a slap so it is about 3 feet off the ground with open area beneath. We paid for a preassembly option and I strongly recommend doing this if you go in this vendors direction. So far, no problems at all.

The outside structure is nearly completed with only the shutter remaining to be installed. However no motorization or automation has yet to be completed.

The question I am pondering now is flooring. I hear advocates for rubberized tiling (and that sounds appealing) but does anyone have specific suggestions? Type? color?

My wife has been taking pictures and even movies so those will be forthcoming.


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1965healy
The Snarkster
*****

Reged: 06/23/07

Loc: San Antonio, TX
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: Aquarist]
      #6077796 - 09/12/13 09:39 PM

I picked up interlocking rubber tiles in dark grey from Harbor Freight. They're about 3/4 of an inch thick. I've never dropped any Astro gear on them but I did purposely drop bottles, glasses and nothing broke. I like them, they're reasonably priced and they look good and feel great to stand on.

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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Blueski Observatory begins new [Re: 1965healy]
      #6077848 - 09/12/13 10:12 PM

Thanks Karen, I will check that out.

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