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Fairhavens Observatory: The Story

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#1 Gork

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 05:11 AM

This is the story of how “Fairhavens” (the name of my observatory) came to be. My life style was never one that required planning: It was a reactionary type of life. As an enlisted soldier I only followed somebody else’s plans and ideas. But now I was in the situation that I had to actually plan.

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#2 mayhem13

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 06:33 AM

Great story! Thanks for sharing!


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#3 Upstate New Yorker

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 08:33 AM

A story that was very well told, but I am sorry that in the end you had to give up the hard won observatory.  I hope that all is well with you and your family.

 

I did have one question.  I assume that there were no gaps between the two piers and the floor because of carpeting, but did any desert creatures ever move into the building? And were there any creatures between the floor and the ground?  I think the observatory would be a refuge of sorts. 


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#4 Csbwsb

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 12:11 PM

I am so impressed by your beautiful observatory! I am so sad by the outcome. I can really relate to the transplant, my father was on the list and sadly didn't last long enough to get a transplant. A whole level of stress in itself. Maybe your next goal is to have a star named after your sweet observatory. I hope you might be afforded the opportunity to make another one. Peace and bright stars. 


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#5 Raginar

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 03:08 PM

Wonderful story.  I'm sorry you had to give it up.  


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#6 Simply Peter

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Posted 02 October 2021 - 07:50 AM

I'm 70 and am hoping it's not to late to build an observatory.  How many cement blocks did you use to support your floor?


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#7 Gork

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Posted 02 October 2021 - 07:22 PM

Thank you all for the comments.  My wife is doing fine, though now in a wheelchair.  I recently started gathering my new smaller rig which is comprised of an 8" RC on an AVX mount.  I'm 75 now with years to come.  It's been a rough few years, but my wonderful wife of 55 years is healthy and we are doing well.  All in all, it's been a real character builder with no complaints.


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#8 Gork

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Posted 02 October 2021 - 10:18 PM

A story that was very well told, but I am sorry that in the end you had to give up the hard won observatory.  I hope that all is well with you and your family.

 

I did have one question.  I assume that there were no gaps between the two piers and the floor because of carpeting, but did any desert creatures ever move into the building? And were there any creatures between the floor and the ground?  I think the observatory would be a refuge of sorts. 

I also used heavy construction felt to close the gap.  Surprisingly, I never had a problem with unwanted visitors.  I did find that I had to keep the door closed because I found that javelina (wild pigs) were curious enough to come through the door.  They are a bit like a stray dog and can be rather mean.


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#9 Gork

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Posted 02 October 2021 - 10:23 PM

I'm 70 and am hoping it's not to late to build an observatory.  How many cement blocks did you use to support your floor?

They were actually cinder blocks and I placed them three for each cross truss and more around the holes where there were joints.


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#10 Bob Campbell

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Posted 02 October 2021 - 10:38 PM

Thank you all for the comments.  My wife is doing fine, though now in a wheelchair.  I recently started gathering my new smaller rig which is comprised of an 8" RC on an AVX mount.  I'm 75 now with years to come.  It's been a rough few years, but my wonderful wife of 55 years is healthy and we are doing well.  All in all, it's been a real character builder with no complaints.

So glad she is doing fine, considering what you both have been through. Excellent story, told very well. An 8" RC is a pretty respectable scope in its own right. Why not have a star named after your wife, or better yet to the love and care you both have for each other for these 55 years.


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#11 Gork

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Posted 03 October 2021 - 03:08 AM

Thanks, Bob.  You are very kind.


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#12 Gork

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Posted 03 October 2021 - 09:54 AM

 

Thanks, Bob.  You are very kind.

 

Her star is a bright one in Ursa Major, "The Love of my Life".  I always thought these things were kind of schmaltzy, but this time I know she will love it.  Thanks for the thought.

Clear Skies,

Pat


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#13 Upstate New Yorker

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Posted 03 October 2021 - 10:59 AM

I'm 70 and am hoping it's not to late to build an observatory.  How many cement blocks did you use to support your floor?

I'm a little older than you and, not wanting to invest in an observatory, I instead opted for two JMI wheeley bars.  These work very well and all that I have to do is mount the telescopes.  Those I keep in protective cases made by Orion and Stellarvue.  It sounds like a lot of money, but it means I use my equipment more often, and I don't have to invest in a building, which is far more expensive.


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#14 Upstate New Yorker

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Posted 03 October 2021 - 11:04 AM

I also used heavy construction felt to close the gap.  Surprisingly, I never had a problem with unwanted visitors.  I did find that I had to keep the door closed because I found that javelina (wild pigs) were curious enough to come through the door.  They are a bit like a stray dog and can be rather mean.

It's very clever construction and I admire you.  I asked about the critters because the other day we had a five foot Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, about 4-5 inches in diameter, right in front of my car.  Very rare to see.  The neighborhood banded together to escort the snake off property.  Commendably, we did not harm it.

 

I'm glad that your wife is better.  Please give her the best from all of us at Cloudy Nights.


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#15 Gork

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Posted 03 October 2021 - 01:21 PM

I'm a little older than you and, not wanting to invest in an observatory, I instead opted for two JMI wheeley bars.  These work very well and all that I have to do is mount the telescopes.  Those I keep in protective cases made by Orion and Stellarvue.  It sounds like a lot of money, but it means I use my equipment more often, and I don't have to invest in a building, which is far more expensive.

That's a really good solution that I have used in the past.  Unfortunately, I am a 100% disabled Vet with some really yucky shoulders (Airborne).  In fact, I'm getting a shoulder replacement in a few weeks.  So having a permanent spot is kind of a necessity.  I've got some plans underway that utilize an "Observatory Tent".  I will probably do an article on that if it works out okay.  Where there's a will, there's a way.


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#16 Bob Campbell

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Posted 03 October 2021 - 02:58 PM

Her star is a bright one in Ursa Major, "The Love of my Life".  I always thought these things were kind of schmaltzy, but this time I know she will love it.  Thanks for the thought.

Clear Skies,

Pat

When my wife and I were first married, she got me a 'name a star kit' and I turned around and dedicated it to the  love we have for each other. Ours is in Hercules. Not schmaltzy at all.

 

CS Bob


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#17 Gork

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Posted 03 October 2021 - 04:21 PM

I think she's going to love it.  Being a career Infantry guy you gotta be tough all the time and not show any soft feelings.  I think I'm finely over that part.

Clear Skies,

Pat

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#18 GeoNole94

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Posted 03 October 2021 - 06:07 PM

Very nice, Pat, very nice indeed.  I am glad to hear that things have turned out well for you and yours. Clearest of skies!

 

Steve


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#19 Gork

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Posted 03 October 2021 - 07:52 PM

Very nice, Pat, very nice indeed.  I am glad to hear that things have turned out well for you and yours. Clearest of skies!

 

Steve

Thanks Steve.


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#20 Gork

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 10:22 AM

Hi All,

I have been both surprised  and pleased at the response over this article about a backyard observatory.   I am glad that so many people have expressed pleasure at seeing it grow to it's finished stage.  Frankly, I sort of expected that.  What I did not expect, and pleases me and humbles me is the response over the last paragraph.  I had intended to end the article with a bit of humor, "a sense of humor", but instead I found a bunch of guys that either have experienced something similar in their own lives or have incredible insight.  It may sound kind of hokey for an old scarred warhorse to say, but I have been near tears when I see the number of responses that demonstrate compassion, caring, and good wishes.  I've showed this to my wife, who cares little about astronomy but loves people.  She says I have been right all along, that astronomy folks are more than tekkies and single-minded "toy first" groupies.  The racing clubs, both car and motorcycle were that way.  She just didn't think this bunch was any different.  Between her medical limitations and the pandemic she has had little contact with anyone.  She never touches the computer and so has no "friends" that way.  I took my laptop into her room and encouraged her to ignore the subject and just focus on the feedback.  She was led to tears.  "These really ARE good people", she said.  She has been encouraged and motivated to the extent that she walked for the first time since her surgery over five years ago.  When I asked her why she chose this particular time to start walking she said, "I need to walk for when we go to star parties"!  At our age she is motivated to find so many wonderful people that really seem to care, and she wants to be part of that.  I can't thank all of you enough for making something so good enter our lives just by being who "I" am and showing your true souls.  What a wonderful legacy to build such a truly compassionate and caring ethos as a foundation.  I owe you and I will never forget the tenderness and caring you all have shown here.  Thank you, my true friends.  You will always occupy a place in my heart set aside for special friends that, up until now, had plenty of room to spare.

To My Special Friends,

Pat 


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#21 Bob Campbell

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 01:31 PM

I think she's going to love it.  Being a career Infantry guy you gotta be tough all the time and not show any soft feelings.  I think I'm finely over that part.

Clear Skies,

Pat

Strong, lovely couple!



#22 Gork

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 01:57 PM

Strong, lovely couple!

Thanks, Bob.  Credit goes to the wife.  She put up with thirty years in the military, a professional motorcycle racing career, racing sprint cars until 65, countless toys.  She always knew she was my girl; THAT was never an issue!


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#23 Bob Campbell

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 02:41 PM

Hi All,

I have been both surprised  and pleased at the response over this article about a backyard observatory.   I am glad that so many people have expressed pleasure at seeing it grow to it's finished stage.  Frankly, I sort of expected that.  What I did not expect, and pleases me and humbles me is the response over the last paragraph.  I had intended to end the article with a bit of humor, "a sense of humor", but instead I found a bunch of guys that either have experienced something similar in their own lives or have incredible insight.  It may sound kind of hokey for an old scarred warhorse to say, but I have been near tears when I see the number of responses that demonstrate compassion, caring, and good wishes.  I've showed this to my wife, who cares little about astronomy but loves people.  She says I have been right all along, that astronomy folks are more than tekkies and single-minded "toy first" groupies.  The racing clubs, both car and motorcycle were that way.  She just didn't think this bunch was any different.  Between her medical limitations and the pandemic she has had little contact with anyone.  She never touches the computer and so has no "friends" that way.  I took my laptop into her room and encouraged her to ignore the subject and just focus on the feedback.  She was led to tears.  "These really ARE good people", she said.  She has been encouraged and motivated to the extent that she walked for the first time since her surgery over five years ago.  When I asked her why she chose this particular time to start walking she said, "I need to walk for when we go to star parties"!  At our age she is motivated to find so many wonderful people that really seem to care, and she wants to be part of that.  I can't thank all of you enough for making something so good enter our lives just by being who "I" am and showing your true souls.  What a wonderful legacy to build such a truly compassionate and caring ethos as a foundation.  I owe you and I will never forget the tenderness and caring you all have shown here.  Thank you, my true friends.  You will always occupy a place in my heart set aside for special friends that, up until now, had plenty of room to spare.

To My Special Friends,

Pat 

Thank YOU Pat and your lovely wife. I think the difference might be about astronomy folks is that this hobby is more solitary and thoughtful, and in a way when we observe, we are gazing into the face of God. Really makes you think.

 

Prayers to All,

 

Bob



#24 Gork

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 09:59 PM

Thanks, Bob.



#25 Raginar

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 09:37 AM

That's a really good solution that I have used in the past.  Unfortunately, I am a 100% disabled Vet with some really yucky shoulders (Airborne).  In fact, I'm getting a shoulder replacement in a few weeks.  So having a permanent spot is kind of a necessity.  I've got some plans underway that utilize an "Observatory Tent".  I will probably do an article on that if it works out okay.  Where there's a will, there's a way.

They do make a motorized version of the wheeley bars.  If you have the option for an observatory with good site lines, I'd go that route 100%.  Pay a carpenter to follow the sky shed plans... Hardest part will be installing a garage door opener.  

 

Chris




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