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Do I Need an Observatory?

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#26 macdonjh

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Posted 01 May 2021 - 08:20 AM

I'm not sure how the environment is on Mauna Lea at 13,600 ft.  But at 56 ft elevation here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, there is enough heat and humidity in my garage to form mildew on the 10 inch's Dob mount.  

 

Mike

Your experience at your house trumps my thoughts about my gear at your house certainly.  Good luck with your project.


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#27 Sarkikos

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Posted 01 May 2021 - 09:03 PM

Your experience at your house trumps my thoughts about my gear at your house certainly.  Good luck with your project.

Where is your general area?  Maybe there is not as much heat plus humidity there as at mine. 

 

Mike



#28 macdonjh

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Posted 01 May 2021 - 10:12 PM

Gulf Coast, near Houston.  Pretty hot and humid.  



#29 Sarkikos

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 05:46 AM

Well, what can I say?  Mildew does form on the Dob mount in the garage. I don't see why it wouldn't form on a mirror or other optics if I leave them in there.

 

Mike



#30 555aaa

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Posted 12 May 2021 - 02:39 PM

I find it much more comfortable and peaceful to observe from an observatory even a ROR. It’s more protected and you can lie down and look up at the sky.
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#31 Raginar

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Posted 17 May 2021 - 07:20 PM

I recently moved to a property in a Bortle 4 zone.   I'm retiring in three months.  The house is on an acre of cleared land with 12 acres of woods behind, and with a creek behind the woods.  The house is toward the woods side of the cleared lot. 

 

The back yard is about 1/10th acre with a moderately good horizon to the south, Polaris is above the trees to the north, east over the house is not bad, but there's limited visibility to the west and north-west.   The advantage to the back yard is that the house and woods block direct light from neighbors.  The disadvantage is that the house and woods - especially the woods to the west and northwest - block my view of the sky.  At this time I have a picnic table situated at the best position to block neighbor lights.  For now, I intend to set up little table-top scopes on the picnic table for my family and me.

 

The front yard is about 1/3 acre and has lower horizons all around.  But the neighbors on either side - especially on the northeast side - can have their lights on at night sometimes which produce direct glare when I observe in the front yard.  I have good relations with the neighbor with the worst outside light problem - the one to the northeast - so I can text him when I want him to shut the lights off, and he'll do it.  However, I don't really like having to ask every time I want a glare-free front yard for observing.  And there are times when the sky doesn't clear until late at night.  I really can't text him then.  

 

I have an attached 24x24 garage which I use for storage and for yard equipment.  No cars in the garage.  But the garage is unfinished, with no insulation or temperature control.  It is hot and humid in the summer and cold in the winter.  I don't keep any optical equipment in there, just stuff like mounts, equipment bags and supplies.  I store my telescopes and eyepieces on shelves around the living room and in the closet of my back office/den.  

 

I am 100% visual.  No imaging, and I don't plan on ever doing any imaging.  I'm into deep sky, with some planet and double star work.  I'll probably be getting more and more into double stars, mostly because I haven't put much effort into it in the past, and it might be interesting for me in my retirement.

 

My largest telescopes are a 10" f/4.8 Dob and an SW120ED.   But I'll probably acquire a larger telescope in the near future.  I'm not sure what it will be.  If I have to take it in and out of the house, it probably won't be larger than an f/4ish 14" Dob.  Chances are I'll eventually acquire a light enhancement gizmo.  I'm not sure about a larger refractor, but if I get one, it would definitely be an ED/APO.

 

So do I need an observatory?  What would be the advantages of an observatory in my situation?  Where should I place it?  What type would be best?  I'm not much of a DIYer.  Something prefab would be best for me.  I'm not going to build one myself.

 

This is not something I'm going to do right away.  I'm just putting the info together and getting ideas.  Any help would be appreciated, as I know virtually nothing about observatories.

 

Thanks,

Mike

I'd get an observatory.  It's hard to describe how awesome it is to just come out and roll the roof open for the night.  I'd keep it near the house for easy use or where ever is darkest on your property.  ROR is best given your Dob and other interests.  With a semi-large one (12x12 or so) you can keep both setups operational.  Buy the plans (sky shed) online and pay someone to do it for you; the directions are really simple and it comes with a material list.  I'd automate the roof while you're at it; at least a push button setup with a gate opener to roll it off so as you age it's simple.  

 

A ror was a life changer for me.  The drudgery of setting my gear up really gets to me.  Just leaving it setup and walking out to it when it's clear? Super nice.


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#32 Raginar

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Posted 18 May 2021 - 07:48 PM

Any kind of a non-temperature controlled, non-dehumidified, non-insulated building would have the same problems as my garage:  too hot and humid in summer, too cold in winter.  Maybe the "too cold in winter" would not be a problem, as long as frost doesn't form on the optics. (However, frost has a good chance of forming here.)  But "too hot and humid" in summer is a deal breaker.  Mildew could form on both the mount and the optics.  (I've already seen mildew on my Dob mount that I store in the garage.)  If the scope has any cemented optics, they could potentially be affected by the heat.  At any rate, humidity and extreme changes in temperature - such as we get here in Eastern Maryland - cannot be good.   So a garden shed would be no better than my garage.  

 

In fact, come to think of it, wouldn't these conditions seriously limit the practicality of an observatory in areas where there are hot and humid summers?  Shouldn't I also insulate, dehumidify and temp-control an observatory in my area if I want to store a telescope in it?  thinking1.gif

 

Mike

I've never had any problems besides some non-stainless steel screws rusting.  If you're really concerned you can run an air conditioner or a dehumidifier (I ran a dehumidifier in Florida).  The heat won't bother your scope... Just open the roof up around sunset and it'll cool off.



#33 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 18 May 2021 - 08:16 PM

Mike,

Putting up my 8 foot ExploraDome was the single best thing I ever did for my astronomy hobby.  You can do this!


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