My current focus is astrophotography, so I’m thinking about building a pier in my yard to minimize the time it takes to set up equipment and polar align. Aspects of pier construction are well-covered and I will cross that bridge when I come to it, but a more fundamental need at this stage is to figure out the best physical location for the pier.
I’ve got a fairly large yard, but there are also many tall trees in and around it. I’d like to maximize the number of targets I can see within the constraints of the obstacles present. It’s kind of like being inside an open box - if I move to the center I can maximize how much sky I can see in all directions, but everything lower than 50 deg. (as an example) elevation is not visible. If I back into a corner I can see a much lower elevation but only in one or two directions.
My initial idea was to use a planetarium app to cycle through a full year and track targets of interest, then optimizing pier position by maximizing their visibility. An easier option would be to just build it close to the house for ease of access and just “get what I get”, knowing I could switch to a tripod if the need arose.
I know I’m not the only one who’s dealt with this problem, so I’m curious to hear thought processes/strategies from folks who’ve already made this decision. I’m not looking for specific answers at this point, I just want to make sure I’m thinking through the problem in a reasonable way.