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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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DGB
member
*****

Reged: 05/12/08

Loc: Reva, Virginia USA
Re: Morning Calm Observatory new [Re: DGB]
      #5595162 - 12/29/12 09:20 PM Attachment (87 downloads)

As I am gathering together all the household pictures from the Observatory build, I just came across this from my wife's phone camera as I'm not usually one to snap pictures of myself. If you look at the bottom left of this image you can see the clear tubing I used to measure the reference points.

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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Morning Calm Observatory new [Re: DGB]
      #5595460 - 12/30/12 01:42 AM

Why Morning Calm? Have you spent time in Korea?

-Rich


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michael hester
professor emeritus


Reged: 11/28/08

Re: Morning Calm Observatory new [Re: DGB]
      #5595762 - 12/30/12 09:50 AM

That is a nice observatory. It even matches your house. Beautiful.

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DGB
member
*****

Reged: 05/12/08

Loc: Reva, Virginia USA
Re: Morning Calm Observatory new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5596413 - 12/30/12 03:47 PM Attachment (61 downloads)

Quote:

Why Morning Calm? Have you spent time in Korea?

-Rich




Hi Rich,
Touchè! Very perceptive. In addition to 20% of my life in the Pacific rim countries (including 6+ years in Korea) I find that my most peaceful and contemplative hours of observing also match the translated Korean Language meaning for the country of South Korea. 'Chosun' means Land of the Morning Calm: South Korea.
When looking to name my mobile (now permanent) observatory years ago, I searched the Internet high and low and was quite surprised to find this name not already taken. Here is a shot of my mobile observatory I used for the prior 6 years.


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DGB
member
*****

Reged: 05/12/08

Loc: Reva, Virginia USA
Re: Morning Calm Observatory new [Re: michael hester]
      #5596438 - 12/30/12 04:02 PM

Quote:

That is a nice observatory. It even matches your house. Beautiful.




Thanks Michael,
Well... As an after thought, my Wife and I had a laugh over this point! If you look at the picture again, you will note that the lines of the house and the lines of the Observatory are 90 degrees off!!! Should I strip it down and start over??? Maybe in the next life!


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Keith Howlett
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 03/06/07

Loc: Northumberland, UK
Re: Morning Calm Observatory new [Re: DGB]
      #5596442 - 12/30/12 04:03 PM

Hi Donovan,

That's a beautiful observatory, it looks right at home in your equally beautiful grounds. I really liked the idea of the rods to capture the castors at rail ends too. Congratulations.

Keith


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DGB
member
*****

Reged: 05/12/08

Loc: Reva, Virginia USA
Re: Morning Calm Observatory new [Re: Keith Howlett]
      #5596494 - 12/30/12 04:27 PM

Quote:

Hi Donovan,

That's a beautiful observatory, it looks right at home in your equally beautiful grounds. I really liked the idea of the rods to capture the castors at rail ends too. Congratulations.

Keith




Thank you Keith,
Speaking of grounds, I thank your fellow countryman Sir Patrick Moore (RIP) for his creative ideas from his book! In the picture showing the house and observatory, look to the immediate left of the observatory and you will see alternating shrubs and evergreens which I hope will grow into a hedgerow of sorts. That will enclose a courtyard area where I will have a permanent fire pit and an additional area to set up other scopes I have available. We had a nice fire going there with chairs facing out during the Geminids. The fire certainly kept us toasty and comfortable that cold night!


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DGB
member
*****

Reged: 05/12/08

Loc: Reva, Virginia USA
Re: Morning Calm Observatory new [Re: DGB]
      #5598428 - 12/31/12 05:28 PM Attachment (68 downloads)

For the observatory structure, I chose to use 2"x6"s for the exterior load bearing 8' tall walls. Possibly overkill, but not in my opinion with a one ton roof rolling around over your head! Building codes are a minimum, not a maximum.
For the roof movement function I decided on v-groove castors on angle iron rails. (I did read with interest about only using one "v" groove rail on one side and a flat plate/wheel on the other, but decided on two similar rails.) Working out the specifics called for some research and decisions. Considering code and roof load requirements, I opted for 20 ea 1,000 lb capacity "v" groove castors and for the rails I decided on 2" angle iron welded to 5/16"x4" wide steel plate (with mounting holes drilled every foot alternating on either side of each rail) to spread the roof load over double 2"x6" wall header plates. With the plate added, the roof weight will not 'compress' the header boards with the imprint of the inverted "v" angle iron, causing some alignment issues.
For my 20'x24' observatory, that's 42'x2ea for a total of 84 linear feet (with 4 each of my special welded end plates I designed). Each 42' section came in two equal length pieces (with staggered plate/"v" angle iron butt joints to spread the weld section which was welded on site after I mounted them on the structure). The entire metal rail effort; including materiel, welding, fabrication, priming, hole drilling, delivery and a one time on-site welding was contracted out to a local metal fabricator shop for $500.
All said and done, I can roll the roof off with just my body weight pulling a rope on the underside of the trusses (yes, they are reinforced)! Took my time and did it right, measure 5x, cut once. At some point though, I will probably research and install some form of motorized system.
In this picture, if you look down the rail, you will see an unpainted 2x4 section (placeholder) for one of the top plates of the interior non-load bearing wall. YES, those inspectors were THAT precise in critiquing my plans before I started! This was MY first observatory build and more importantly, THEIR first observatory also! There is an error in this picture that I came across as I continued the installation... Anyone see it?

Edited by DGB (12/31/12 06:02 PM)


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HunterofPhotons
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 04/26/08

Loc: Rhode Island, USA
Re: Morning Calm Observatory new [Re: DGB]
      #5599608 - 01/01/13 01:21 PM

Quote:

For the observatory structure, I chose to use 2"x6"s for the exterior load bearing 8' tall walls. Possibly overkill, but not in my opinion with a one ton roof rolling around over your head! Building codes are a minimum, not a maximum.....




The compressive strength of a typical 2 x 4 is about 40,000 pounds. It takes some doing to build a roof that will stress a 2 x 4 wall. <g>
I went the other direction and built my observatory without studs, with just a top plate. That works, too.

dan k.


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Mary B
Vendor - Echo Astronomy and Electronics
*****

Reged: 05/21/10

Loc: Minnesota
Re: Morning Calm Observatory new [Re: HunterofPhotons]
      #5600092 - 01/01/13 06:26 PM

One rafter bracket is reversed, or it is right and the rest are wrong...

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DGB
member
*****

Reged: 05/12/08

Loc: Reva, Virginia USA
Re: Morning Calm Observatory new [Re: HunterofPhotons]
      #5600203 - 01/01/13 07:38 PM

Quote:

Quote:

For the observatory structure, I chose to use 2"x6"s for the exterior load bearing 8' tall walls. Possibly overkill, but not in my opinion with a one ton roof rolling around over your head! Building codes are a minimum, not a maximum.....




The compressive strength of a typical 2 x 4 is about 40,000 pounds. It takes some doing to build a roof that will stress a 2 x 4 wall. <g>
I went the other direction and built my observatory without studs, with just a top plate. That works, too.

dan k.




Interesting fact about vertical weight, but I just like the nice, solid feel of a rigid structure with a floor 2' to 8' in the air that doesn't move laterally in the wind! I also used 4 each 5' long 2"x10" braces diagonally connecting (as a triangle in each corner) the intersecting observatory wall corners on the underside of each top plate for added wall rigidity. Again, overkill? Probably so, but I do plan on passing the scope and observatory on to a few more generations!


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DGB
member
*****

Reged: 05/12/08

Loc: Reva, Virginia USA
Re: Morning Calm Observatory new [Re: Mary B]
      #5600241 - 01/01/13 07:59 PM

Quote:

One rafter bracket is reversed, or it is right and the rest are wrong...



Hi Mary,
Correct! Fortunately for me, only had to correct the one.


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DGB
member
*****

Reged: 05/12/08

Loc: Reva, Virginia USA
Re: Morning Calm Observatory new [Re: DGB]
      #5600427 - 01/01/13 10:08 PM Attachment (61 downloads)

Here is another picture from my wife's phone camera and also the five week water mark for my observatory. I used ground contact pressure treated 6"x6" posts notched precisely for height to attach double 2"x12" boards nailed, glued, butted on posts and bolted together for beams. 2"x10" joists were hung with hangars between the 4"x12" beams. 3/4" T&G plywood was glued and screwed to the joists. In the picture, note the 4 each 6x6 posts towards the center of the floor structure. As mentioned, they are independent of the observatory structure and would later get framed as a platform for the Obsession 30". The metal rails were just recently delivered at this point also. They are to the right of the structure. The floor was within 1/4" of level over the 20'x24' floor and the diagonals were also within 1/4" from 'square'. Oh, and don't forget to invest in a good pair of knee pads, you WON'T regret the investment!
Measured 5x, cut once. Beginning to sound like a broken record but it certainly is a process for me to follow!


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RobVG
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 01/09/06

Loc: Seattle Washington
Re: Morning Calm Observatory new [Re: DGB]
      #5603729 - 01/03/13 09:36 PM

Excellent Job.

Nothing more accurate than the water level.


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droid
rocketman
*****

Reged: 08/29/04

Loc: Conneaut, Ohio
Re: Morning Calm Observatory new [Re: RobVG]
      #5620216 - 01/13/13 06:16 AM

beautiful observatory ,well done

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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Morning Calm Observatory [Re: DGB]
      #5620514 - 01/13/13 10:55 AM

An amazing job! We really enjoy seeing photos of the builds!

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DGB
member
*****

Reged: 05/12/08

Loc: Reva, Virginia USA
Re: Morning Calm Observatory new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5625207 - 01/15/13 09:12 PM Attachment (31 downloads)

This picture was from March 24th, a rainy day. As you can see, I painted the floor and 2"x6" wall studs black as I built them. The open roof/deck posts were carefully measured, cut in height, aligned with the load bearing walls and then set in place on their footings with more concrete. My design called for the deck to be one step down from the observatory floor level, giving that much more headroom between the finished deck level and the underside of the upper 6"x6" beam/rail for the rolling roof. The finished deck level was also to be about 1/2 step down to the ground level at the highest point of the sloping ground (closest point to the camera.)

Edited by DGB (01/15/13 09:15 PM)


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DGB
member
*****

Reged: 05/12/08

Loc: Reva, Virginia USA
Re: Morning Calm Observatory new [Re: DGB]
      #5655204 - 01/31/13 10:26 PM Attachment (20 downloads)

Here is three days later. The 6"x6" roof rail support beams were carefully lifted, aligned and attached.
I found that priming and painting the T-111 siding out in the open with a long handled roller saved me time and less aching for my back.


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Morning Calm Observatory new [Re: DGB]
      #5655293 - 01/31/13 11:17 PM

Great idea painting everything as you go!

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Irene
journeyman


Reged: 03/09/05

Loc: AZ Arizona
Re: Morning Calm Observatory new [Re: DGB]
      #6449639 - 04/05/14 07:46 PM Attachment (5 downloads)

Hello, I am very interested in building an observatory similar to your's. Do you by any chance happen to have any drawings/plans for the building, the kind you have to submit for a building permit? Thanks so much!

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