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Concrete thoughts on my Observatory

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#1 Tel

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 02:40 AM

Hi Folks,

Apparently (but not necessarily by popular demand), some of you good folks have expressed an interest in the progress of my, (I suppose), long awaited home observatory.

I say supposidly long awaited because up until fairly recently I wasn't particularly conscience of being in need of one. However, with march of time, lessening physical strength and stamina, the British weather and all the disappontments and frustration that brings, I began to wonder if there was not some sort of conspiracy aimed at reducing my enthusiasm to carry my 'scope and equipment into the backyard.

It is certainly true to say that the times I had been frustrated by the stealthy onset of cloud cover and the threat of rain, not half an hour into an observing or imaging session, are legion. So, after last year's disasterous long term forecast by our esteemed Met. Office of a "Barbeque Summer", I began to look around at several designs while consulting our mentor and experienced observatory owner Bob G. on the subject.

The result was, that having considered both shutter, (more expensive), or clamshell designs, I finally opted last month to go with the former despite the extra cost, and chose the latest Pulsar 2.2 metre diameter unit: not large, but fitted with a central pier and given my 5'4" frame, (although the weight's increasing as the years pass!) I think it and I will go together well !

This then is a link to the design:

http://www.pulsarobservatories.com/

Please take a look, perhaps and in particular at the video.

At the moment, with the majority of the hard work being done by a couple of my larger and stronger pals, we have just completed the base on which the "dome" will stand. I originally had the idea of balancing it all on decking, which was freely available to me, but with consideration I didn't think it wind and weather stable enough despite the fact that the pier would be centrally "concrete island" mounted and thus no vibrations from the decking would be transmitted.

So concrete it was to be but with the central "island" idea retained. 16 square feet of patio slabs were thus removed, excavated to a depth of 6" and then concreted over leaving a 2' square in its centre. When the base had dried, the central, isolated square was further excavated down to 2' and this filled with concrete. This is therefore the stage at which I have reached at present apart from redressing the remaining patio area flower beds etc. ! I have added a few shots to illustrate the the above.

Finally, as you probably noticed as a result of reading Chris' thread on alignment, (which I unintentionally {honestly} :shrug: somewhat usurped,-- hence this new thread), I was trying to find a suitable name to call my new observatory, coming up with the name "Uraniborg" after that first built in the sixteenth century by Tycho Brahe. However, our good friend Artic Eddie has suggested a possible contest to come up with an altenative name.

I would therefore certainly welcome any "appropriate" suggestions you guys are willing to offer although as I've mentioned, given the cost of this project, I regret there'll be no "incentives" ! :rofl2:

Best regards,
Tel :gramps:

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#2 Tel

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 02:44 AM

Area concreted apart from the pier "island".

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#3 Tel

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 02:45 AM

Completed job !

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#4 Tel

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 02:46 AM

Long shot !

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#5 Arctic_Eddie

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 04:40 AM

As Tel headed for the door, Hilde asked, "Where ya going Tel". Tel replies, "I'm headed for the TUB". Hilde thinks to herself, "Maybe a nice bath will make things look up". So right, and yet so wrong. Little did she know that he was headed for "Tel's Upward Bonanza".

That ought to get things started.

Ed

#6 Peter9

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 07:31 AM

Nice pictures Tel. Thanks for posting. Looking forward to more as the project progresses.

Regards. Peter.

#7 Bob Griffiths

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 07:33 AM

Tel:

The 2x2 concrete Island in the center ! Its isolated which is required, BUT I did not see any Bolts sticking up to bolt down the pier. How are you planning to bolt the pier down?

I took a quick look ate the Video...BUT since my wife is still under the covers, eyes closed, fast asleep I did not turn the sound on the computer so I could not listen to it.. Will do that when sleeping beauty wakes up.

Nothing caught my eye that concerned me in any way watching the video... I do like the way the Dome overlaps the walls ..which nobody thinks about UNTIL they wake up and see a few feet of snow/ice locking the dome stationary... No way for that to happen with the Pulsar of course you will need a snow shovel to get the door open LOL ...

I also like the black matte painted interior ...not because it blocks the light, which it does BUT it also blocks IR radiation from heating up the inside during the heat of a warm summer day..

Keep us posted...and I'm looking forward to welcoming you to the "Brotherhood of the Domed"

Bob G.

#8 Arthur Dent

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 07:59 AM

That's a good point Bob.

Tel - are you planning to drill the concrete pad & then put in something like Rawlanchors??

The dome looks nice - are you going motorised??

Finally, how many Stormtrooper costumes do you get with the 2.2m dome (and do you get the blasters included?)

Art

#9 Tel

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 08:05 AM

Thanks for the responses so far guys ! :bow:

In answer to your question, Bob, about the pier bolts, or rather open threaded studs; apparently they, (Pulsar) fit them by placing the pier in position, drilling down into the " island block" and then implanting threaded studs/rods ultimately secured with an epoxy resin. When set, four large nuts then hold the pier to the block.

My own idea would have been to position the pier, drill down into the block and then secure with expanding bolts but I have to bow to Pulsar seemingly knowing what they are doing. I'm paying them to erect the whole assembly including the pier and laying the flooring, so if it isn't right at least I've got some recourse under the warranty although I'm certain that as they're fitting these regularly, there will be no problem. It's just that their method is somewhat alien to my way of thinking (?). :idea:

Best regards,
Tel

#10 Tel

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 08:19 AM

Hi Art,

Sorry, our posts crossed there, but in answer to your question no I shan't be "motorising". At its installation cost about a third of that paid for the whole "dome" I would rather bribe Hilde to push ! :waytogo:

(And, with Hildegard's, (full name), national background -- we don't mention Storm Troopers around here) ! :rofl2::

Best regards,
Tel

#11 Midnight Dan

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 09:00 AM

Hi Tel:

Looks like a great start! I watched the video and that observatory looks very well made. I've seen ones available locally in the US, and that one looks better than most!

As for a name, how about naming after the first communications satellite to relay a television signal, launched July 10, 1962. They must have named it after you because it's called Telstar! :smirk:

So how about the "Telstar Observatory"?

-Dan

#12 Peter9

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 09:17 AM

Hi Tel:

Looks like a great start! I watched the video and that observatory looks very well made. I've seen ones available locally in the US, and that one looks better than most!

As for a name, how about naming after the first communications satellite to relay a television signal, launched July 10, 1962. They must have named it after you because it's called Telstar! :smirk:

So how about the "Telstar Observatory"?

-Dan


With "Per Aspera ad Astra" underneath.

Peter.

#13 Bob Griffiths

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 09:29 AM

My Dome is NOT motorized either...and I have no plans to...

BUT I am a visual only observer and even if I did image I would not be doing any extremely long exposures which would require me to rotate the dome to keep the scope and the open shutter in sync...

In the summer I can actually rotate my dome quite easily with one finger and If I use my entire hand and give it a "good" push I can sent it completely around a full 360 degrees... In the winter I need 2 fingers and can only rotate it about 200 degrees with a shove because in the winter everything contracts a hair and it tightens up. Your Cat should have enough strength to rotate the dome...

I finally listened to the video... and the 3 designs cut into the walls that were for strength PLUS to mount a kick out for storage & the computer etc... got my attention... BIG TIME...

I did not see that Pulsar offered a pre made kick out.. Do They?

I know you are limited in the space you have to work with.. BUT IF you could use 1 or 2 of those spaces for a Kick-outs it sure will pay huge dividends... unfortunately "stuff" takes up room and "stuff" has a way of accumulating ..

After using my Observatory for close to 4 years now I know the value of storage space..

Bob G.

#14 haytor

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 12:20 PM

Hi Tel:

Looks like a great start! I watched the video and that observatory looks very well made. I've seen ones available locally in the US, and that one looks better than most!

As for a name, how about naming after the first communications satellite to relay a television signal, launched July 10, 1962. They must have named it after you because it's called Telstar! :smirk:

So how about the "Telstar Observatory"?

-Dan


Hi Tel,

I second Dans choice of observatory name, how perfect is that :bow:

Great work on the obs and pier base!

Tom.

#15 rodb

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 03:11 PM

Hi Tel:

Looks like a great start! I watched the video and that observatory looks very well made. I've seen ones available locally in the US, and that one looks better than most!

As for a name, how about naming after the first communications satellite to relay a television signal, launched July 10, 1962. They must have named it after you because it's called Telstar! :smirk:

So how about the "Telstar Observatory"?

-Dan


Hi Tel,

I second Dans choice of observatory name, how perfect is that :bow:

Great work on the obs and pier base!

Tom.


Me three. Perfect name.

Regards, Rod - and I'm jealous.

#16 Arthur Dent

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 03:31 PM

Ultimately Tel, it's your choice but, for what it's worth, Telstar gets vote #4 from me!

Art

PS I can't see ANY chalk marks in the photos Tel, so Hilde DID hide the chalk then (she obviously reads the forum ;))

A

#17 Larry Hansen

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 04:09 PM

Another vote for Telstar from me.

#18 earthbot1

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 08:36 PM

Tel,
Congratulations on your new dome! One day I hope to construct one in my yard. Clear skies to you!
Telstar Observatory is catchy!

#19 Tel

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 03:51 AM

Many thanks, Dan and all you guys for support for his suggestion. I think that's a great idea to name it Telstar Observatory after the early communications satellite, (which I incidetally remember well from watching those first transatlantic TV transmissions and of course, listening to the later instrumental by the Tornados) !

Bob, --- I have no plans to add an equipment bay to the obs. at this time, but I know where you're coming from. Maybe though, I could accomodate one at a later date at the back towards the house. It's definitely worth thinking about and obviously needs to be considered in positioning the obs on the base before bolting it down ! I shall make some inquiries with Pulsar as to the dimensions of these bays. Thanks for the thought.

Best Regards,
Tel

#20 Midnight Dan

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 07:57 AM

Being that close to the house, you could just run a tube to that window. Hilde could slide you a cold beer without even going outside! And what other equipment do you really need? :drinkspit:

-Dan

#21 Arctic_Eddie

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 08:20 AM

Good choice on the observatory name. Since there's no financial reward involved, you could give the winner an autographed photo of you and Hilde at the observatory when it's finished. That would mean more to a member of this forum than some sketch by Rembrandt, or one of those other dead guys.

#22 TonyDralle

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 08:45 AM

Tel,

You seem to be off to a great start!

Could you share your thoughts about positioning the observatory such that, close to the house, half of the sky is blocked? Would it be something like: it's the only feasible place to put it, and an observatory anywhere is better than none at all?

Have you considered throwing a Nexstar forum-wide first light party? :yay: :yay: :yay: :yay: :yay: :yay: Trans-Atlantic air fare isn't too bad these days (if you don't carry any baggage!), and I'm sure you'd have many takers.

- Tony

#23 Midnight Dan

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 09:15 AM

Have you considered throwing a Nexstar forum-wide first light party? Trans-Atlantic air fare isn't too bad these days (if you don't carry any baggage!), and I'm sure you'd have many takers.


Whoa! I hope you're kidding? If Tel were within a couple hundred miles of here, I'd be at that party in a flash. But a quick look at flights from here to Heathrow and back is over $1000! While I'd love to meet Tel and Hilde, that's an expensive party!

Now, if Tel were to hold a "virtual" party via webcam ... :thinking:

-Dan

#24 Tel

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 12:30 PM

Hi Dan,
Now there's a thought ! :idea: I could put one of the "kick-out" panels to good use as a serving hatch ! :waytogo:


Hi Eddie,

I can just hear it ! : "So what's second prize" ? :shrug:


Hi Tony,

There is no gain or loss of vista in placing the obs. this close to the house. The spot on which I have always pitched my 'scopes and will continue to do so within the "dome" has not changed and represents a not too restricted viewing range between NW and SW. The advantages of the "dome" however, speak, I think, for themselves; much reduced LP from my immediate neighbours upper house lights, freedom from wind gusts and the ability to shut down almost instantaneously under threat of cloud and/or rain and, above all, virtually no equipment to transfer or set up.

As to a "First Light Party" to launch this splendidly named "Telstar Observatory", my good friend and "co-concreter", Frank Rodens, has already thoughtfully proposed a celebratory buffet.

A delicious fare of Mars and Milky Way Bars will therefore be served along with Galaxy Chocolate ! Drinks will naturally include Montana "Black Star" Beers with "Five Star Brandy" chasers ! :rofl2:

Thanks once again to you all ! :bow: :bow: :bow:

Best regards,
Tel

#25 TonyDralle

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 01:19 PM

There is no gain or loss of vista in placing the obs. this close to the house. The spot on which I have always pitched my 'scopes and will continue to do so within the "dome" has not changed and represents a not too restricted viewing range between NW and SW. The advantages of the "dome" however, speak, I think, for themselves;


When thinking briefly about the possibility of a dome in my tree-surrounded back yard, I thought it wouldn't be practical since there is no spot with access to the entire sky. But it does make sense, if viewing always from the same spot anyway, to put the dome there. Then the advantages you list transcend the issue of sky access.

- Tony


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