My new observatory

Circumstances were such that I have been seriously considering getting my own personal observatory for a while now. With the telescope pier being put into place  nearly a year ago, I suppose that this step was inevitable. Now the overwhelming convenience of not needing to lug a huge heavy telescope back and forth from the house, coupled with the added bonus of having my astronomy equipment all setup and ready to use to save time, made the decision to build an obsy a no brainer. Well, I can now say that it is finally completed (with perhaps some extra tweaking).

Initial groundwork:

The process started in end March 2015 with the telescope pier being concreted into place. This pier is solidly anchored to the ground by a huge amount of concrete – it is clearly going nowhere. With a solid foundation for my telescope, at first I wasn’t sure whether I really needed an obsy. But at least the option would be there, if I wanted one later.

Pier concrete footing completed
Pier concrete footing completed
8mm threaded rods cut and mounted onto threads on the pier and into the concrete
8mm threaded rods cut and mounted onto threads on the pier and into the concrete

The telescope mount was put into place and the surrounding area was levelled for easier access to this area. Things were starting to take shape.

Celestron CGEM mounted onto the adapter plate and the steel adapter
Celestron CGEM mounted onto the adapter plate and the steel adapter

I even used playground rubber mats to cover the ground which served as a level surface for working on.

Playground mats laid on the raised bed to complete the observing area
Playground mats laid on the raised bed to complete the observing area

The moment of truth:

Then came the huge telescope which was too heavy to be moved in and out of the house, that over 15kg Orion Optics 12″ Newtonian. I knew that it would be a two-person job to do this, or risk causing significant back pain over time. It is also a giant of a telescope with a huge surface area exposed to the effects of the wind. Clearly when the wind blows hard enough, it will have a negative effect on my astroimaging efforts, however good the guiding may be. ┬áIt then became clear that the only way forward would be to build an observatory.

Orion Optics VX12 Newtonian telescope mounted on the Celestron CGEM
Orion Optics VX12 Newtonian telescope mounted on the Celestron CGEM

The planning for the observatory started in October to November 2015. I knew I did not want a domed observatory or one with a roll-off roof. Hence the only other option I could think of, was an observatory where the roof folds outwards. So fast forward to 2016, and you will see my observatory taking shape. It did take about 2 months for everything to be completed and I can start getting equipment into it.

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