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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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mustgobigger
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My Modest Observatory
      #6259390 - 12/18/13 03:03 AM Attachment (384 downloads)

Setting Up for A Astro Gazer Portable Observatory That Should Arrive Tomorrow.
I Used a Old Telescope Aluminum Tube As The Pier Form
And Its 12" Round And 42" Deep Buried In A 22" Dia. Hole
And It sticks Out of The Ground 33" and Rerod Cage Made
For Strength.
I Custom Made Adapters That Both swivel But My
Cge Pro should Have Enough Adjustment to Get Proper
Polar Alignment.
Ill Post more Pictures As It goes Together.
Mounting a Meade 14" Lx200 ACF On The Celestron CGE PRO
Mount.
Have Had Pier Covered 2 Weeks With a Hunting Blind And
Keeping It 70 Deg Inside for Curing The over 900 LBS.
Of Cement.
Inside Of OBS will Have 2 Layers Of Tarp Cut to Fit
Then Indoor Outdoor Carpeting On top Of Tarp.
Pier Has custom Aluminum Trim Ring On top And Is painted
With Black Plastic-Cote Paint.
Excited to Be able to view With a Semi Permanent
Setup.
just Ordered a 80mm Levinhuk Triplet Apo And a Small
50mm Guider Scope.
Going To Try my hand At Imaging With Both the Meade 14"
And 80mm.


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mustgobigger
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6259392 - 12/18/13 03:05 AM Attachment (171 downloads)

Closeup...i used 4 Threaded Rods On this.

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mustgobigger
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6259393 - 12/18/13 03:09 AM Attachment (98 downloads)

telescope Tube I started with...Was 90" Long But I cut it down.

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mustgobigger
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6259399 - 12/18/13 03:16 AM Attachment (136 downloads)

waiting for first light...i had a 10" ACF and it had Really good Optics...hope This Has Same.

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Agatha
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6259407 - 12/18/13 03:29 AM

The pier looks great. I look forward to pictures of your AstroGazer.
Sounds really fun.


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CharlesW
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: Agatha]
      #6259694 - 12/18/13 09:30 AM

Very clever solution, though I'd hate to see your electric bill for the heater. Nicely done.

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Starman27
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: CharlesW]
      #6259726 - 12/18/13 09:46 AM

Nice job on the pier. I repurposed an aluminum tube from a 6" F12 reflector for my first pier.

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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6259913 - 12/18/13 11:37 AM

You've really got a nice setup with the equipment! We'll love seeing the Astro Gazer set up!

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mustgobigger
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: csa/montana]
      #6267043 - 12/22/13 02:53 PM Attachment (109 downloads)

thanks everyone,
been raining for 3 days but i am making
some progress today.
my better half policing the area.


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mustgobigger
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6267044 - 12/22/13 02:54 PM Attachment (95 downloads)

the meat...

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mustgobigger
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6267047 - 12/22/13 02:55 PM Attachment (68 downloads)

the base all leveled.

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mustgobigger
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6267050 - 12/22/13 02:56 PM Attachment (114 downloads)

dome supports all ready for some skins.

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Mary B
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6267140 - 12/22/13 03:44 PM

Looks like the 4 legged helper looking to leave a deposit

Interesting idea, if light enough could be what I need for my dob.


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David PavlichAdministrator
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6267163 - 12/22/13 03:55 PM

That's nice work!!

David


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mustgobigger
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: Mary B]
      #6267305 - 12/22/13 05:36 PM Attachment (87 downloads)

Quote:

Looks like the 4 legged helper looking to leave a deposit




yea....was putting roof on amd bailey was bringing chunks
of mortar back in and putting them around the pier.


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mustgobigger
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6267306 - 12/22/13 05:38 PM Attachment (80 downloads)

enough for tonight....in the morning i will put
anchor system on and lower skirts.
then cut tarps and carpeting for flooring.


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mustgobigger
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6267312 - 12/22/13 05:42 PM Attachment (73 downloads)

a shot next to my refractor pier i put in a couple years ago.

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MHamburg
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6267328 - 12/22/13 05:51 PM

Enjoy the new set-up!
Michael


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mustgobigger
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: MHamburg]
      #6275886 - 12/27/13 06:38 PM Attachment (89 downloads)

getting close to being completed.
laid 2 layers of tarp and then carpet.
also picked up a ventless gas heater.
i strung 2 sets of led rope lights...one white set for
when i am finished and putting things away for the night.
and a set of red rope lights.
i put carpet down with clamps and velcro and am going to
make some bean bag style weights for perimeter to hold carpet tight.


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mustgobigger
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6275888 - 12/27/13 06:39 PM Attachment (94 downloads)

2

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mustgobigger
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6275892 - 12/27/13 06:39 PM Attachment (62 downloads)

3

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mustgobigger
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6275895 - 12/27/13 06:39 PM Attachment (50 downloads)

4

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mustgobigger
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6275896 - 12/27/13 06:40 PM Attachment (35 downloads)

5

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mustgobigger
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6275899 - 12/27/13 06:41 PM Attachment (65 downloads)

6

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Midnight Dan
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6275916 - 12/27/13 06:47 PM

Looks nice!

Keep an eye on that pooch though. Seems like he's looking for a place to lift his leg!

-Dan


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Raginar
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #6276333 - 12/27/13 11:21 PM

That's really neat. How's it secured to the ground?

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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6276452 - 12/28/13 12:47 AM

Really a nice setup! Nice pier also. I noticed in one of your pictures, you had a radiator type heater, did that not give enough heat to stay comfortable? Just curious.

How do you secure it for high winds?


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mustgobigger
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: csa/montana]
      #6276501 - 12/28/13 01:30 AM Attachment (53 downloads)

thanks,
the electric heater was ok but since i only have one circuit
i wanted to go with non electric for heat and save the amps
for running lights and computer from 110v...dew control with a 12 volt 30 amp power supply.
running the electric heater on high really taxed the one
circuit i had.
for anchoring astrogazer sells a anchoring system made just
for this and its supposed to handle up to 90mph winds.
once anchors are in place....they are driven into the ground
about 2 feet and then you pull on the cable thats attached
and anchor turns 90 deg and is in the ground securely.
it also comes with the standard tent type stakes
for weekend use but i would not count on them for more than
about 30 mph.
after you drive anchors in the ground you use supplied winching straps to cable in the ground and on cable
attached to 4 of the support poles.
then there are 6 more straps you attach from bottom ring
of frame to rotating ring on base of dome after your done
with observing session.
while observing there are pins that attach through roller
brackets that hold dome on and still let you rotate dome.
you can see upper cable attached to support pole in picture.


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Midnight Dan
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6276894 - 12/28/13 10:09 AM

Quote:

the electric heater was ok but since i only have one circuit
i wanted to go with non electric for heat and save the amps




Farther down, it looks like you are now using a catalytic propane heater. I have one of these for my Skyshed POD observatory and it works well - usually.

Problem is - the by products of propane combustion are carbon dioxide and water vapor. In cold, humid weather, that water vapor will condense on the cold surfaces inside your observatory, like the pier, mount, and scope. I found that, on some days, I just couldn't use the heater because everything ends up soaked.

-Dan


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mustgobigger
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #6276930 - 12/28/13 10:33 AM

Quote:

Quote:

the electric heater was ok but since i only have one circuit
i wanted to go with non electric for heat and save the amps




Farther down, it looks like you are now using a catalytic propane heater. I have one of these for my Skyshed POD observatory and it works well - usually.

Problem is - the by products of propane combustion are carbon dioxide and water vapor. In cold, humid weather, that water vapor will condense on the cold surfaces inside your observatory, like the pier, mount, and scope. I found that, on some days, I just couldn't use the heater because everything ends up soaked.

-Dan



you have a point there....i think i will keep the electric
in there also...plenty of room.
as long as i just run the led lights and maybe telescope
i should be alright with heater.
i can use my jumper pack batteries for the dew control.
the electric did keep it nice and dry.


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mustgobigger
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6277577 - 12/28/13 04:54 PM Attachment (55 downloads)

temps were a balmy 50 today so i think i will try doing first light tonight.
mounted the 14" on the cge pro today.


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mustgobigger
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6277582 - 12/28/13 04:58 PM Attachment (34 downloads)

plenty of room once telescope is mounted.
i custom made the dovetail on bottom and made it solid.
also custom made the dew shield with pvc and used 2" velcro
and prostar flocking inside.
left it sitting in garage last month and it handles the cold well.


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mustgobigger
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6277589 - 12/28/13 05:00 PM Attachment (31 downloads)

left a little room under tube to make sliding counterweights.
flocking inside dew shield looks great.


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mustgobigger
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6277591 - 12/28/13 05:02 PM Attachment (43 downloads)

i sent the levenhuk 80mm triplet back.
going to go with the williams optics 81mm triplet with flattener.


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Raginar
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6278016 - 12/28/13 08:51 PM

That is neat. A commercial product I take it?

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jimbo728
sage


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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: Raginar]
      #6278057 - 12/28/13 09:14 PM

I like that very much...There may be one in my future.
Jim


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mustgobigger
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: jimbo728]
      #6278756 - 12/29/13 09:38 AM

you can find them here.

astrogizmos


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tim57064
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6278853 - 12/29/13 10:31 AM

Do you have to rotate the entire structure? I checked out the site and still do not see how it rotates. Do not see any track or casters for rotation? Very curious.

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Midnight Dan
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: tim57064]
      #6278953 - 12/29/13 11:25 AM

Quote:

Do you have to rotate the entire structure? I checked out the site and still do not see how it rotates. Do not see any track or casters for rotation? Very curious.




Here's a video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0sz8Wc0k6o
You can see it rotating near the middle of the video.

-Dan


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tim57064
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #6278996 - 12/29/13 11:49 AM

Dan,Thanks for the link.You could just see the base stationary and the dome movement even if it was for a mere second.Quite expensive though for a temporary shelter,don't you think?Yet if a person does not have the space for a permanent structure,well ,I guess this would work.

Edited by tim57064 (12/29/13 11:51 AM)


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Midnight Dan
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: tim57064]
      #6279070 - 12/29/13 12:21 PM

Does seem pricey to me too. For only $400 more, you can get a SkyShed POD which, being a rigid structure, will hold up much better to winds and general abuse.

On the other hand, this is 10' in diameter compared to the POD's 7' diameter. And, if you want a structure that you can tear down and move to a dark site for a few days' stay at a star party, this might be a better choice.

-Dan


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Raginar
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: tim57064]
      #6279084 - 12/29/13 12:33 PM

It's interesting. I wonder how it holds up in the wind? Still, imagine taking it in a camper and having a pop up observatory for a month somewhere?! Kind of neat.

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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6280254 - 12/29/13 11:49 PM

My concern would be how it handles a snow load. Rather than sliding off, it looks as though the snow would sink between the metal frame pieces, especially the "dome" opening.

Other than that, it looks like it will be a great observatory for you; and especially a lot more comfortable than out in the open. Not having to setup/tear down equipment is a big plus, also!


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nytecam
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6280434 - 12/30/13 03:51 AM

Very nice obsy - well done but what's with the two heaters ? Are you camping out there :-)

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mustgobigger
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: csa/montana]
      #6280640 - 12/30/13 08:39 AM

Quote:

My concern would be how it handles a snow load. Rather than sliding off, it looks as though the snow would sink between the metal frame pieces, especially the "dome" opening.





it does have support bars that go between the opening
after your done viewing to put strength back into
frame.
also some long plexiglass sheets that slide between
supports just for that purpose.
ill post pictures later today.


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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6280851 - 12/30/13 11:00 AM

Quote:

Quote:

My concern would be how it handles a snow load. Rather than sliding off, it looks as though the snow would sink between the metal frame pieces, especially the "dome" opening.





it does have support bars that go between the opening
after your done viewing to put strength back into
frame.
also some long plexiglass sheets that slide between
supports just for that purpose.
ill post pictures later today.




That definitely would be of help with a heavy snow!


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mustgobigger
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: csa/montana]
      #6287983 - 01/02/14 04:06 PM

Well I was away for 2 days and
Returned to find 8" of snow
And most rolled off but not the
Top 20%....I used a window washing
Squeegee on a extending handle
Similar to those used for painting
high ceilings.
Cost was about $8.00 at hardware store.
was about a 1 minute job
Cleaning excess snow off.
I dont think I would worry about
Snow very much unless it snows
more than about 15" at once.
We get those heavy snows like
That maybe once a year.
I guess you would just have
To be around to brush snow
Off if you lived in a area that gets
Continual deep snow...or build
Permanent.
as I will be retiring Soon a permanent
Structure was not a good option
At this time.


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Midnight Dan
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6288170 - 01/02/14 05:49 PM

Quote:

Top 20%....I used a window washing
Squeegee on a extending handle




Exactly what I use to clear off my POD dome.

-Dan


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terraclarke
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #6304084 - 01/10/14 12:19 PM

I love it Brian. Very nice!!

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mustgobigger
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: terraclarke]
      #6305323 - 01/11/14 12:54 AM

Thanks terra....now all I need is
Some clear skies ... and some practice
With celestron hand control.
Been a autostar user for years....
One time out and not clear enough
For a 2 star alignment.
Also working 70 hours a week.
heat wave coming Monday....40 deg.


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akman1955
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6314477 - 01/15/14 01:49 PM

so this is where you have gone tooo..miss you on classic scopes.he he..nice set up to brian

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jjbird
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: akman1955]
      #6402097 - 02/28/14 02:26 PM

Very nice, Brian!

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bseltzer
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #6425251 - 03/23/14 07:36 PM

Quote:

Does seem pricey to me too. For only $400 more, you can get a SkyShed POD which, being a rigid structure, will hold up much better to winds and general abuse.

On the other hand, this is 10' in diameter compared to the POD's 7' diameter. And, if you want a structure that you can tear down and move to a dark site for a few days' stay at a star party, this might be a better choice.

-Dan




If you live in the Northern Midwest/Rockie Mtn. are of the US, you're right about the SkyShed Pod maybe being a better option, but if you live on the West coast like I do, the shipping is around $1400 - $1500. For the AstroGazer, shipping only adds ~$300 to the total cost.


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droid
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: bseltzer]
      #6425925 - 03/24/14 05:14 AM

Brian; nice man, really nice. Two things, first, if , and I'm assuming, if you leave the heater on days or nights when a good snow is coming....that might take care of a lot of snow load??
Secondly, the red led light ropes, you got them on a dimmer of any kind?, in my old rose observatory, I used these also, and man are they bright when your in dark.
Love the mount and scope....good thread.


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hokkaido53
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Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: droid]
      #6426290 - 03/24/14 10:58 AM

Thanks for the thread; it's very informative, especially the photos. I'm thinking of buying one of these. I live in the desert, so my problem isn't moisture, but we do get some high winds (40mph) in the winter.

Roy in Taos


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mustgobigger
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Reged: 06/12/07

Loc: Michigan
Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: hokkaido53]
      #6481814 - 04/22/14 06:36 PM

had 60 MPH winds a week ago and it held up well.
wind blew the velcro flap open and after sticking it back on
it did not come loose again.
as long as you have the anchor kit i think you would have no
worries unless you had 80-90 mph straight line winds....
then i would be worrying more about my house than my telescope.


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mustgobigger
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/12/07

Loc: Michigan
Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6481839 - 04/22/14 06:48 PM

andy,
i left the heater on low all winter and even in heavier
snow most of it just slid off when it built up.
the rope lights are bright so i have a small 6'set under the table for lower light...they are about all you need.
i turn them all on during cleanup.
all said i am pretty happy with this....a solid one at 7'
would not be large enough for my setup and my wife and i.
lots of room for 2 or more and you do not have that cramped
in feeling.
i could see this lasting a long time with a little care.
made it through winter fine....ill report on this later in the summer on how it holds up to sun and warmer temps.


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: droid]
      #6482326 - 04/22/14 11:31 PM

Quote:

Secondly, the red led light ropes, you got them on a dimmer of any kind?,




I have the red rope lights around the walls of my observatory, approximately 12" off the floor. I put a dimmer on them, and went one step further. I installed an outside corner strip of trim over them so that the light is directed to the floor; rather than up in your eyes. Works extremely well!


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Raginar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: csa/montana]
      #6482810 - 04/23/14 09:02 AM

60 mph winds worked huh? That's awesome. Glad it's holding up!

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mustgobigger
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/12/07

Loc: Michigan
Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: Raginar]
      #6483286 - 04/23/14 12:43 PM

Quote:

60 mph winds worked huh? That's awesome. Glad it's holding up!




yea, a lot of trees and power lines down for a few days....
it did a lot of shaking around but held up.
i have confidence in it weather wise now.


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Raginar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6483586 - 04/23/14 02:51 PM

No kidding. What a great test

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mustgobigger
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/12/07

Loc: Michigan
Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: Raginar]
      #6483834 - 04/23/14 04:55 PM



thanks carol..what kind of dimmer did you use.
would be nice to dim them all down some.
i would need something that would plug into a power strip.


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Glen A W
professor emeritus


Reged: 07/04/08

Loc: USA
Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6497109 - 04/29/14 11:10 PM

I'm sorry I did not find your thread sooner. I have had one of these set up as a permanent installation since December 2008. It is actually in its third location now. I moved to dark skies in 2010 and here in the mountains, the wind is a killer. I did finally install 6' fence around it in an octagon shape just to shield it. I also stitched the dome covering to the tubes with stainless wire loops every six inches or so. I also made a simple truss for inside the dome which eliminated snow load worries. I don't think you'll have any wind trouble unless you have a tornado like I did in 2011, which apparently destroyed it. Very little was actually broken, though - I fixed it with $30 in parts. I think it is a great design but best for sheltered locations. Glen

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Glen A W
professor emeritus


Reged: 07/04/08

Loc: USA
Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: Glen A W]
      #6497113 - 04/29/14 11:13 PM

Here you go, this is in its old location in town.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0sz8Wc0k6o


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mustgobigger
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/12/07

Loc: Michigan
Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: Glen A W]
      #6538376 - 05/21/14 01:55 PM

saw that video glen...one of my deciding factors in purchase.
always research.....


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Glen A W
professor emeritus


Reged: 07/04/08

Loc: USA
Re: My Modest Observatory new [Re: mustgobigger]
      #6538601 - 05/21/14 03:51 PM

Glad to hear it. Mine is still holding up well. I will get back into using it more after an attempted break-in here at my house this morning. I don't want to be out in the open. Glen

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