A very timely post!
I’m just starting the process of designing a similar ‘Observatory in a Box’ on my front porch just outside Boston. I’ve given up on my telegizmo cover which allowed heat under the cover to build to 107F in mid May at 42 north latitude. I’ve been looking at both 1) a roll-away enclosure design and 2) a hinged box-top approach similar to the one in the photo below. The hinged approach would help minimize the bulk of the box on the front porch and make domestic life less stressful.
You’ve obviously solved all the problems I still face so, could you perhaps comment on this list below of features I’m planning to incorporate in the design? I’m sure I have forgotten something.
- A basic box, as pictured below but one side will be curved to work with the shape of the porch and railing. Likely the box will be made from 1/2 - 5/8” plywood. It will be painted gloss white to help reflect heat.
- The top will be operated by hydraulic lifters to make opening it easy and smooth.
- The bottom will be enclosed so warm moist air from below the porch, doesn’t rise inside and raise the risk of dew. There will be a clear space of 1” around the pier which will be an iOptron pier to mate with the CEM70 G mount. The pier will site on a filled concrete block base below the porch.
- An exhaust fan will eject hot air at the top of the box on the ‘sun side’ with intake vents on the bottom of the shade side. Vents will have insect screens.
- Heating rods will help maintain winter temperature above 32 inside the box. Temperature and humidity sensors will control the on/off status of the ventilation fan and heating rods. I hope we can keep winter temperature above 32F and summer temperature below 90F. The specifications for scope, mount cameras want temperatures kept in a range of 23-114F.
- We’ll bring a power line from the house to support the heating and venting components as well as to power the mount and run the Intel Nuc computer that runs all my observing gear.
That’s a summary of where I am so far. I still need to finalize the size, exact shape and all the materials and components … so your thoughts on the list would be helpful. My scope is a 203 mm F4 Newtonian so I have to establish a ‘park position’ that has the scope horizontal to minimize the height of the box.
Thanks very much for posting your observatory. If there are any additional photos that show more of the details or explain what the ‘rat cage’ is, it would be great to see them.
Congratulations and Clear Skies…