Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Something smaller than an observatory?

  • Please log in to reply
46 replies to this topic

#1 PolyWogg

PolyWogg

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 197
  • Joined: 26 Jul 2017

Posted 04 November 2019 - 09:52 AM

Hi all, 

​I posted a Q in the Celestron scope forum as it wasn't really about an observatory, more about outside storage of an 8SE, but all the comments were about ways to transport gear more efficiently. Not quite what I was after, so I'll try a slightly different formulation here, if I may. I went through most of the links in the sticky, didn't find what I'm looking for.

​Short version is that I'm in Ottawa Canada so winters get cold, summers get warm to hot. I'm in a suburb and occasionally set up in the backyard, but some nights I would love to set up for an hour or so, but I have to open my garage, cart everything to my backyard -- the tripod+mount, OTA, power, EPs, filters, dew shield, other accessories, and some basic EAA gear if I'm doing imaging too. Setup takes 10 minutes, but add in hauling, and it's closer to 20-25, plus another 20-25 at take down. You all know the pain I'm talking about.

​The problem is I have limited space that my wife will let me use permanently in the backyard. I have two spaces that are about 6' by 6', but she wouldn't be thrilled about the first one and the second isn't in a great spot for observing anything except to the South. Soooo, that leaves me a potential slab, BUT I could build myself a little storage shed right next to it and then easily move my scope to the spot five feet away. Someone had shared a setup where they put their collapsed tripod on a custom wooden dolly, and I *could* do something like that perhaps a few feet, but seems like I'd be tripping over the cross beams under a smaller tripod space to get close enough to view. In an ideal setup, the little "shed" would also be perpendicular to the slab, not from an end i.e. pull it out to the south, and then slide it to the east to the observing spot.

So my Qs are probably:

Have people done smaller "storage sheds" before they go full observatory? 

If you do store-and-move rather than open a roof, would/do you leave your mount, tripod and OTA set up i.e. the storage has to be big enough to hold the tripod in full setup mode (or at least half-height tripod extension)? Seems a bit heavy to move all three together. I don't have an option for a pier.
 

​Equally, what are thoughts on leaving your OTA in an unheated outdoor storage shed before observing? Will dew be a factor or is dew only a factor once you take off the front cover and light streams in? My current setup is an unheated but indirect warmed garage, but are there concerns with it being in a full outdoor shed over a winter?
 

​For EPs, do people bring them into the house for warmth? Or just for safety/theft security? Or just get a really good lock setup?
 

​Need some thoughts from people who have streamlined their home setup without going full observatory...

Paul
aka PolyWogg


  • zakry3323 likes this

#2 zakry3323

zakry3323

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1138
  • Joined: 11 Apr 2016
  • Loc: Pittsburgh

Posted 04 November 2019 - 10:29 AM

Great question! I'm going to follow this thread and hope to get some good ideas. I'd like to keep my setup pretty much all put together outside as well, it's a really huge incentive not to miss any clear nights. I just ordered a 365 cover from Astronomics and hope that it's at least a good start for keeping the setup out in the weather safely. My postage stamp is too small for an observatory, probably even too small for a little pre-fab storage shed. 


  • PolyWogg and Astroman007 like this

#3 Astroman007

Astroman007

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 8677
  • Joined: 27 Oct 2017
  • Loc: Northern Ontario, Canada

Posted 04 November 2019 - 10:42 AM

I'm going to be watching this thread too.

 

I've been considering 365 covers for my refractor and 28x110s. After my next guitar is paid off (early next year), I will be able to get back into acquiring asto accessories.


  • ken30809, zakry3323 and PolyWogg like this

#4 sg6

sg6

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6333
  • Joined: 14 Feb 2010
  • Loc: Norfolk, UK.

Posted 04 November 2019 - 10:52 AM

Owing to our TV and I half assume available in Canada and the age that many of use are - one person about 15 miles East of where I was built themselves a Tardis.

 

Drew up the plan, put a base down and constructed a Tardis. then painted and marked it all as close as they could to the standard Police box/Tardis exterior.

 

Suppose a copy of an old GPO red telephone box is a close alternative. Can it seems buy them but shipping to Canada is likely prohibitive, and they always smelt odd and all the same.

 

That is a novelty idea, maybe something similar general height maybe circular and a little wider in diameter. And will depend on wifes sense of humour - especially if you build a Tardis.


  • PolyWogg likes this

#5 OleCuss

OleCuss

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2582
  • Joined: 22 Nov 2010

Posted 04 November 2019 - 10:53 AM

Some people set things up so that their scope is permanently mounted.  They build a shed/observatory which rolls away from the scope.  Some have set things up so that a very small shed is hinged at the back and is then simply rotated off the scope.


  • PolyWogg likes this

#6 jnmyersnj

jnmyersnj

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 3
  • Joined: 13 Aug 2017

Posted 04 November 2019 - 11:11 AM

I built a roll-away shed a bit like the one in Ruben Kiers' "100 Best Astrophotography Targets for Small Telescopes" (highly recommended).  Picture attached - sorry it's in the background.  This works well for a Schmidt Cassegrain, but when I got the bigger optics (shown) I had to build a bigger one (in progress).
Note - i used pressure-treated lumber, which is heavier than regular lumber, and had the polycarbonate panels left over from a different project.
 
IMG 0269

  • astro_1, PolyWogg and Astroman007 like this

#7 wotalota

wotalota

    Lift Off

  • *****
  • Posts: 23
  • Joined: 15 Aug 2016
  • Loc: SW New Hampshire

Posted 04 November 2019 - 12:17 PM

There seems to be quite a few on the site for construction examples. Try google: "site:cloudynights.com roll-away"

 

This is a super compact quality build of a remote observatory for imaging: 

https://www.indilib....p.html?start=60


Edited by wotalota, 04 November 2019 - 12:28 PM.

  • PolyWogg likes this

#8 macdonjh

macdonjh

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4688
  • Joined: 06 Mar 2006

Posted 04 November 2019 - 12:18 PM

PolyWogg,

 

Have people done smaller "storage sheds" before they go full observatory?

Try doing an internet search for "outhouse observatory".  That's basically what you're asking about.  You could also search for "motel-o-scope", but that is really best suited for a permanent pier which you said your wife doesn't want.

 

If you do store-and-move rather than open a roof, would/do you leave your mount, tripod and OTA set up i.e. the storage has to be big enough to hold the tripod in full setup mode (or at least half-height tripod extension)? Seems a bit heavy to move all three together. I don't have an option for a pier.

That's what I'd do.  If you can't leave things set up, there isn't much point in building any kind of shed.  As a minimum, build whatever you're going to build big enough to protect your tripod and mount, so all you have to do is mount your scope.

 

​Equally, what are thoughts on leaving your OTA in an unheated outdoor storage shed before observing? Will dew be a factor or is dew only a factor once you take off the front cover and light streams in? My current setup is an unheated but indirect warmed garage, but are there concerns with it being in a full outdoor shed over a winter?

All my glass is stored either in my unheated observatory or my detached unheated garage.  I have had no troubles.  Dew won't be a problem, it will settle on the roof of your shelter, not on your gear.  I've heard some observers owrring about condensation, but I've not had any problem with that.  My observatory and garage are well ventillated and stay close to ambient temperature, so no condensation.  I'm careful not to put anything wet away, though.  Dry it first.  There are several threads on Cloudy Nights about storing your gear outside.  Remember, the Keck telescopes are stored outside in an unheated building.

 

​For EPs, do people bring them into the house for warmth? Or just for safety/theft security? Or just get a really good lock setup? 

I leave my eye pieces in a case (dust, insect and rodent protection) and locked in a cabinet (garage) or locked in my observatory.  No problems.

 

One last thing to consider is a simple cover, like the TeleGizmos 365.  Leave your scope set up when the weather is good and you have time to use it.  Take it down and bring it in during other times.

 

Good luck with your project.


  • jcj380, PolyWogg and Astroman007 like this

#9 Tom K

Tom K

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 667
  • Joined: 19 Jan 2010
  • Loc: Escondido, CA

Posted 04 November 2019 - 01:24 PM

Here is my version of a tilt off observatory - works great.

 

https://www.cloudyni...r/102511-tom-k/


  • ken30809, PolyWogg and OldManSky like this

#10 macdonjh

macdonjh

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4688
  • Joined: 06 Mar 2006

Posted 04 November 2019 - 01:54 PM

Here is my version of a tilt off observatory - works great.

 

https://www.cloudyni...r/102511-tom-k/

Tom K's post is what I meant by "motel-o-scope".  At least I've seen similar projects called that here on Cloudy Nights.

 

jnmyersnj's post is what I meant by "outhouse observatory".  I've seen them built light enough to lift off, with tracks to roll away, and with hinges, as OleCuss describes.  If I were doing something at my house, that's what I would do.  My observatory is remote, so I needed on-site storage.  Sometimes, though, I still think I should have built an outhouse observatory.  


  • PolyWogg likes this

#11 PolyWogg

PolyWogg

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 197
  • Joined: 26 Jul 2017

Posted 04 November 2019 - 03:47 PM

Thanks SkyLab. I think I misled a few of the other people in the thread as my challenge is that I have to move the scope from resting place to the observing platform, I can't have it in it's observing platform. So I have three options:

layout.jpg

Location 1. Setup observing location + some sort of roll-away roof on the deck (maybe like the outhouse design). It gets me a little bit too close to the gazebo and is shifted a bit too far west (in the photo, South is at the top), and my wife would need some convincing that's the best options since it would also block some of the view from the gazebo. Possible, not popular if I want to stay married.

 

Location 2. This is about three feet lower to the ground, same issues with being a bit too far west (there are houses on that side so it would mainly push me to only viewing south and a bit north). Could do full roll-off although roll-off would go in the same direction likely that I am viewing i.e. I would prefer to roll off north and view south, but it is what it is.

​Location 3. This is the best viewing site in the backyard (good to South, get some West, and can see some North) but also directly in the way of the steps coming down from the deck. Which means I can set up there but I can't leave a pier there or mounting plates or an observatory or anything else. I can put an observing slab, but that's about the limit. Over to the side, by 2, I've got open options but not great viewing. What I was hoping to do is find a way to perhaps store in location 2 (or 1 if necessary), then easily move my install to location 3, do my viewing and move it back. I had not thought about it potentially going away wet...normally I bring stuff inside to dry but part of that is just it is an easy way to move everything inside, and then put it all away the next day properly so take down is temporarily faster). 

​Thanks to all...

 

Paul

 

 



#12 macdonjh

macdonjh

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4688
  • Joined: 06 Mar 2006

Posted 04 November 2019 - 04:04 PM

PolyWogg said, "I can put an observing slab, but that's about the limit."

 

I have a similar situation my house.  I can leave my mount assembled in the garage, though.  So one night I set up and did a drift alignment to get polar aligned.  I marked my driveway with a Sharpie to locate where my tripod feet were.  The next morning I used a masonry bit to drill three "dents" in my driveway to set the tips of my tripod legs in.  I also marked my mount, using a straight edge and a utility knife, so I could repeat both altitude and azimuth locations if I ever had to disassemble my mount.  From then on I could just carry my mount out and set it down and I'd be polar aligned well enough for visual.

 

I don't know if that method would be accurate enough for photography.  Perhaps for short exposures?


  • PolyWogg likes this

#13 kyle528

kyle528

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 521
  • Joined: 02 Feb 2019
  • Loc: SE Ohio

Posted 05 November 2019 - 12:51 PM

https://www.cloudyni...ed-observatory/


  • B 26354 likes this

#14 SteveInNZ

SteveInNZ

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 729
  • Joined: 07 Oct 2007
  • Loc: Auckland, New Zealand

Posted 05 November 2019 - 01:47 PM

I roll away my scope (C11 on EQ8) in the same manner as macdonjh. My trolley is a crude wooden thing that I made and it works really well. I roll it out, plug in one power cable and one USB lead to my laptop and I'm in business. I have it fully setup with dew heater, usb hub, gps, etc. Usually I take the camera off as I use it on my portable rig as well but a USB cable and power lead stay on the scope so I can just plug it in.

Originally I glued washers on to the concrete to speed up polar alignment but now I prefer to wheel it pretty much into place and just lock the casters, rather than trying to line it up perfectly. I then polar align with a Polemaster as that does the double function of testing the system at startup. Overall, that gets me imaging faster.

We get a lot of dew and I always make sure that the optical surfaces are dry (hair drier also permanently there)  before it goes away and I cover it with a lightweight tarp so that the dew on the outside can evaporate. But I do get a lot of dust sticking to the dew while it's wet.

Maybe I'll finish the observatory this year.

 

Steve.


  • PolyWogg likes this

#15 Stevegeo

Stevegeo

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 375
  • Joined: 29 Jan 2019
  • Loc: Otisco ny.

Posted 05 November 2019 - 03:19 PM

Neighbors might think it's an outhouse ...lol 

Complete it with a crescent moon on the door and you're all set! 

If you are limited on space ... this is the way to go... its effective , and affordable . 

Stevegeo. 



#16 Glenilacqua

Glenilacqua

    Sputnik

  • *****
  • Posts: 42
  • Joined: 11 Oct 2014
  • Loc: Halifax, Massachusetts

Posted 05 November 2019 - 04:29 PM

I had a similar problem with my large scope in the past. My classified ad read: 12" Meade LX-200 on giant field tripod. Wife can't tolerate space it takes up. Will trade her for TeleVue, Pentax, or Takahashi wide angle eyepieces....

 

;-)

 

Sorry, I couldn't help myself. 


  • Starsareus, Dan Williams and t-ara-fan like this

#17 tsbikes

tsbikes

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 84
  • Joined: 26 Apr 2015
  • Loc: Custer, South Dakota

Posted 05 November 2019 - 06:29 PM

I had intended a large roll off but found that an aluminum plate under the wedge/mount served as a table and a base for the 2" foam box as heat and weather protection. It has worked well for the past two years here in S. Dakota. 

Let me know if you want more detail.

 

Jim

tsbikes at gwtc dot net

Attached Thumbnails

  • resize44.gif

  • Hugh Peck, rowdy388, PolyWogg and 1 other like this

#18 Glenilacqua

Glenilacqua

    Sputnik

  • *****
  • Posts: 42
  • Joined: 11 Oct 2014
  • Loc: Halifax, Massachusetts

Posted 05 November 2019 - 08:20 PM

I had intended a large roll off but found that an aluminum plate under the wedge/mount served as a table and a base for the 2" foam box as heat and weather protection. It has worked well for the past two years here in S. Dakota. 

Let me know if you want more detail.

 

Jim

tsbikes at gwtc dot net

That is really ingenious! About as minimalist as it gets. But I imagine, very functional.


  • PolyWogg and Astroman007 like this

#19 brownrb1

brownrb1

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 204
  • Joined: 17 Oct 2016

Posted 05 November 2019 - 10:26 PM

Hi,

Francois Cochard with Shelyak is developing a small telescope shelter which is fully motorized and remotely controllable. I'm not sure if it s commercially available yet but check it out on Shelyak under "Spectroscopy' > 'News' > 'A Compact Telescope Shelter'.

Dick


  • jcj380 and hongming like this

#20 OleCuss

OleCuss

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2582
  • Joined: 22 Nov 2010

Posted 06 November 2019 - 07:32 AM

If this is the item of interest:  https://www.shelyak....helter/?lang=en I don't think it is available as of yet.

 

It reminds me of the shelter for the STEALTH telescope.  I like this type of design but it does look pretty small.

 

But when you get bigger you probably need to set up a counterweight system for the roof components.



#21 *skyguy*

*skyguy*

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3598
  • Joined: 31 Dec 2008
  • Loc: Western New York

Posted 06 November 2019 - 09:25 AM

"Something smaller than an observatory?"

 

Why not just build a small observatory. It easy to get the impression that a observatory needs to be at least 10' x 12' to be a real, usable observatory.

 

I built a small, real ROR observatory on my garage roof, 18 years ago, with inside dimension of 5'7" x 7'2". It houses a wedge mounted 12" LX200 SCT. There's plenty of room to comfortably fit 2 people (3 is difficult) along with all my computer and imaging equipment, permanently set up and ready to go with a minutes notice. It also has flip-up windscreens for those windy, clear nights. I've never regretted building a "small" observatory. 

 

If it was my decision, I'd build a small ROR observatory at position 3 and move the steps to position 2. If you ever move, knock it down and take it with you. Or, just remove the roof roller system and convert it into a garden shed. It will add value to your home and it's a good selling point for the wife.

 

Good Luck getting your "observatory" built, no matter what form it takes. There's certainly many designs from which to choose.

 

https://www.flickr.c...57644177074161/

 

Ob6 (2).jpg


  • ken30809, Glenilacqua, PolyWogg and 2 others like this

#22 akulapanam

akulapanam

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2594
  • Joined: 26 Aug 2012

Posted 10 November 2019 - 11:09 AM

If this is the item of interest: https://www.shelyak....helter/?lang=en I don't think it is available as of yet.

It reminds me of the shelter for the STEALTH telescope. I like this type of design but it does look pretty small.

But when you get bigger you probably need to set up a counterweight system for the roof components.


I’m surprised someone hasn’t offered one of these before. Would need it a bit bigger but would be a more optimal use of space.
  • jcj380 likes this

#23 Cfreerksen

Cfreerksen

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 675
  • Joined: 18 Aug 2018
  • Loc: Tooele, Ut

Posted 11 November 2019 - 08:53 PM

I have something smaller than an observatory. Actually no observing at all. Just an AP rig.

 

Chris

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • post-299007-0-22078500-1573260631_thumb.jpg

  • gundark, PolyWogg, Astroman007 and 1 other like this

#24 *skyguy*

*skyguy*

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3598
  • Joined: 31 Dec 2008
  • Loc: Western New York

Posted 11 November 2019 - 09:56 PM

If this is the item of interest:  https://www.shelyak....helter/?lang=en I don't think it is available as of yet.

 

It reminds me of the shelter for the STEALTH telescope.  I like this type of design but it does look pretty small.

 

But when you get bigger you probably need to set up a counterweight system for the roof components.

 

I’m surprised someone hasn’t offered one of these before. Would need it a bit bigger but would be a more optimal use of space.

Technical Innovations has offered a fully automated mini-observatory (scope only) called the RoboDome for many years:

 

https://www.homedome...ct_robodome.htm



#25 akulapanam

akulapanam

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2594
  • Joined: 26 Aug 2012

Posted 12 November 2019 - 03:15 PM

Technical Innovations has offered a fully automated mini-observatory (scope only) called the RoboDome for many years:

https://www.homedome...ct_robodome.htm


Honestly I’m not sure I trust their automation. I feel like a roll off observatory is a more reliable remote design.


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics