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Roll Off Observatory Construction

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#1 fxmodels

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Posted 25 October 2020 - 06:57 PM

In case anyone is making a roll off roof observatory, here is a compendium of images of our SkyTour LiveStream observatory West build just completed in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona... Two false starts, but it finally happened. Now at the end of November we install the equipment which we are shipping from CT where we have one STLS observatory already so we will have two Remote observatories with the second operating in AZ. Identical telescopes in both. 10" LX600 workhorses that continue our remote observatory public outreach programs. The AZ observatory is on 5 acres of cleared and flattened (and I DO mean flattened) land belonging to a friend that has ceded me permanent access rights.

 

The observatory pad is 12x12  with 8" thick concrete for pier mounting strength and anti vibration with other telescopes in the building as well.Oh and that's Maddie...

Pad%20n%20Maddie.jpg

 

By the evening after a morning pour, the concrete was cured enough in the desert air to stand on. I set up the SkyTracker Pro and took the first images from the site.

 

Example of a 30 second 300mm telephoto shot on a SkyTracker Pro on this pad that night...

flameAndHorsehead-STACKED-ps01.jpg

Now the building had to be built. After FIVE cancelled trips on consecutive months due to COVID dangers later, I finally decided to build this remotely. Dealing with people remotely felt a little like Max Headroom where I showed up on camera for  a few minutes every hour. We designed the observatory, since no one could either deliver any kits to the desert or get a dome to us that could withstand the elements or be practical. We used advice from Wayne Parker at SkyShed and a few other folks. The end result was a beautiful building and everyone worked together like clockwork!

We were toying with using linear actuators to raise the lid (roof) like a box opening but decided against it in case one or both of the two actuators became torqued from winds... It could spell disaster. Plus one garage door opener with a long extended warranty and someone who can be called at a moments notice to go out and fix any possible issues looked much better to us

The build team arrived on 10-16 and by the end of the day had it was nearly finished.Some pics follow with video links ...

 

 

Framing%20Out%20The%20Building%20on%20th

 

 

 

 

Below you can see the roof assembled and on the ground. There is a roof vent at the highest point and is solar powered to keep the hottest air from pooling at the ceiling.

RoofOnGroundPriorToHoist.jpg

 

 

Below, one f the workers(far left in red) and at right in black  along with and Randy and Marianne, a couple of devoted SkyTour LiveStream members survey the roof now in place thanks to all of their combined efforts. Its amazing to see how many people who are part of SkyTour lent their time, expertise and kindness to the project.Note that the gaps between roof and walls will be covered and sealed by skirts that will prevent blowing dust from entering the observatory.There are dust storms known as Haboobs which can bring lots of dust and high winds. The observatory needs to be buttoned up tightly to prevent dust from getting in. The skirts will protect the observatory from these errant, tiny, malicious, and evil particles.

Adjusting%20Roof%20Once%20Hoisted%20into

 

 

 

Moonset in the Sonoran taken from the observatory location

SonoranMoonset%20-resized.jpg

 

 

Here is something below that you dont see every day.. The full bright Milky Way with the setting sun STILL providing a red glow. This is a 30 second image

 

DSC_3771-GAM-1024x1500.jpg

 

 

VIDEO

 

Roof Rolling on and off from inside:http://www.fxmodels....OnInsideLow.mp4

Roof sequence from directly North of the Observatory. Roof rolls off to east. (left):http://www.fxmodels.... Roll OnOff.mp4

Video sequence showing opener hookup more directly:http://www.fxmodels....penerUpHigh.mp4


Edited by fxmodels, 25 October 2020 - 08:41 PM.

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#2 TOMDEY

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Posted 25 October 2020 - 07:59 PM

Cool! Looks totally reliable... lot of little wheels there... actually a fine, conservative way to handle the (pretty light) load.    Tom



#3 fxmodels

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Posted 25 October 2020 - 08:32 PM

Cool! Looks totally reliable... lot of little wheels there... actually a fine, conservative way to handle the (pretty light) load.    Tom

Yes I wanted to see the load distributed across the entire roof because we have such tolerances that would cause issues if it went out of shape a little. When you watch the video, there is one that shows this tight tolerance...



#4 Jim R

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Posted 25 October 2020 - 08:38 PM

The Weimaraner looks very helpful!

#5 fxmodels

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Posted 25 October 2020 - 09:18 PM

The Weimaraner looks very helpful!

Yes she got in the way ... But she does serve a purpose.. She has been trained to hunt rattlesnakes. If she is calm it means all is clear.. You can walk around freely. But if she is alerted she will destroy that snake like a mongoose... hah!



#6 TOMDEY

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Posted 25 October 2020 - 09:29 PM

Yes I wanted to see the load distributed across the entire roof because we have such tolerances that would cause issues if it went out of shape a little. When you watch the video, there is one that shows this tight tolerance...

Oh yeah... I sure noticed that! And what I thought when I saw that? ... "They definitely know what they're doing!"

 

I designed and built my redoubtable 24-foot dome... and it rotates reliably going on --- about twenty years!    Tom

 

~click on~ >>>

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#7 fxmodels

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 03:32 PM

Oh yeah... I sure noticed that! And what I thought when I saw that? ... "They definitely know what they're doing!"

 

I designed and built my redoubtable 24-foot dome... and it rotates reliably going on --- about twenty years!    Tom

 

~click on~ >>>

wow Tom that is amazing! I have a Nexdome here in CT and the roll off in AZ... I am converting this one her ein CT to a roll off.. I can automate that reliably...




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