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Thoughts on putting a rooftop obs on top of my garage?

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#1 ryanha


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Posted 04 September 2021 - 10:19 AM

Hi friends!


I have a semi-permanent setup (tripier + scope under a telegizmo in my patio area) so I can keep my gear set up for weeks at a time.


Though I have a bit of yard, most of it has citrus trees so the open patio has been pretty much my only option.


BUT, it limits me to scopes and mounts that I can move when needed (< 40lbs or so per piece) since sometimes we use the patio area as an actual patio (go figure).


I was thinking about putting on some sort of dome or platform on my garage roof.  Probably would not be great for resale but I think I may be here for long enough that I'd be ok to eat the cost. 


I don't think I would need great access to it (e.g. honestly a ladder would be fine) so I don't think I would need to do much inside the garage.


Anyone do this sort of thing?  What did you do?  How did it go?  Pictures?  




#2 Jim R

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Posted 04 September 2021 - 11:14 AM

Seems like it might be less than stable?

#3 Taosmath



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Posted 04 September 2021 - 11:16 AM

When we built our new house, I designed it with the intention of having a rooftop observatory.


In the end I never used it for 3 reasons:


  1. I put a small telescope on a neighbor's roof patio and image oscillations I got from the vibrations when people walked at the other end of the roof, told me that vibrational isolation would be a serious undertaking.  (I understand a frequent solution to this problem is to use a concrete pillar going through the observatory floor to the building foundations and that pillar is completely separated from the rest of the observatory floor by a small gap.  That wasn't a plausible solution for me)
  2. The scope I wanted to put up there was my 18" Dob, and getting it up there would have been a significant challenge with the access I had.
  3. The biggest single issue was that I realized that if I put my scope on the roof, now I would see the neighboring street lights and Security lights from houses that were (mostly) blocked by my house.


None of these may be a problem for you in which case you may be fine, but you should at least consider the issues I raised.


In the end I placed a small Roll of Roof observatory in my yard in a carefully chosen position and I'm glad I arrived at that solution.  It was cheaper and more convenient for me and works fine. (used it last night to get some of the best views I've ever had of Jupiter &  Saturn)


Good luck with your project.



Edited by Taosmath, 04 September 2021 - 11:18 AM.

#4 bobzeq25



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Posted 04 September 2021 - 11:40 AM

People do this.  If they want to image, they often run a strong pier down to the ground, the foundation, or maybe a concrete garage floor.  Stability is a major concern.

Edited by bobzeq25, 04 September 2021 - 11:40 AM.

#5 *skyguy*



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Posted 09 September 2021 - 05:56 PM

I built a garage top ROR observatory almost 20 years ago. I call it my "stealth observatory" since it's not very noticeable from the street. It houses my 12" LX200 scope on top of a 14' pier. The pier is centered inside of my garage, which is somewhat of an annoyance when getting my cars in and out. However, it's worth it since I don't have any problems with vibrations at the scope. The pier was constructed using 16"x16"x8" chimney blocks and laid directly on the concrete floor (no isolated foundation). It was cheap and easy to build ($75 USD) and very strong. The observatory is accessed through a folding attic ladder.


When I sell my house, the pier can be knocked down very quickly. The steel ROR track and supporting framework can be easily removed or just left in place.


Additional images at "OrbitJet Observatory":







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#6 VinceV


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Posted 09 September 2021 - 08:51 PM


I have a dome on my garage. In 2016 we added a 2nd story (with the Control Room) to an attached garage, and a 3rd story observatory.

I've placed images and site drawings in my CN file for reference. There's also a YouTube channel ReddLightObservatory (or just search Garage Observatory). The information describes the reason for the design and after 5 years there isn't a single regret.

Imaging from the Control Room eliminates any vibration to the 3rd level.

Please don't hesitate to discuss further detail.

Clear skies,


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#7 ryanha


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Posted 10 September 2021 - 10:15 AM

Thanks @VinceV and @SkyGuy.  I'll look through these and let you know if I have any questions.

#8 silverking


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Posted 10 September 2021 - 09:01 PM

Even for visual, wood frame construction (without a proper pier) simply isn't stable enough ... and you'll get tons of movement regardless of how hard you try to stand still ... even at low magnification.


Ask me how I know :)

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