The next step was to make a raised bed to ensure the ground around the telescope pier was level. I used good quality fence posts to make the walls for this. Also, as I had some garage floor paint in my garage, I decided to use this to paint the concrete pier footing – to protect it from wear and tear.
Then it was a case of mounting the steel adapter onto the telescope pier. The adapter plate does not fit the CGEM, and hence I had to get my neighbour to work out a solution to get it to fit. That took the most time and effort, but it finally came back ready to mount onto the CGEM.
The adapter plate was fixed onto the CGEM via an M10 bolt. This has to be done before mounting it onto the steel adapter on top of the pier. As you can see the 10.5″ diameter of the pier is massive compared to the mount – this gives me a great place to put eyepieces and other pieces of small equipment.
As the weather was very sunny, I had to put back the insulation around the CGEM and then the Telegizmo 365 scope cover. Bearing in mind it has been through at least 5 winters, the Telegizmo cover is still in relatively good condition and fully functional – just a bit dirty and in need of a good clean.
Now I placed some weed barrier membrane over the entire raised bed. I then covered it with sharp sand and levelled it. This would form the base for the rubber playground mats I had ordered to fix into this area. It should be very hardy, and also ensure that it softens the fall of any astronomy accessories, in case of any accidents in the dark. I also stained the wood of the raised bed brown – to help protect it from the weather.
I could not resist setting up my Astrotech 8″ Ritchey Chretien telescope, so I could adjust the polar alignment for the mount. With the All Star Polar Alignment of the Celestron Starsense autodialling, it does make things very simple. The next step would be to do drift alignment and get it as close to perfect as possible, since it is a permanent setup.
The green playground mats I’ve ordered on eBay (each costing about £4.50) are yet to arrive. Once this is laid onto the raised bed, then my observing area should be complete. I do have a windbreak from few years ago to block the effects of the wind, and also to block any stray light coming from the house or the surrounding, in case I would like to do some visual observation of the sky.
(Updated 9/4/15 13:55Hrs – the Playground mats have arrived. So after 1 1/2 to 2 hours work, I finally finished laying the mats in my observing area.
Now a telescope pier itself when bought new would typically cost £460-560 including the adapter to mount the CGEM; then there is the cost of fixing it to a concrete footing etc. I am pleased to say that for less than the cost of a new telescope pier, I have been able to complete my telescope pier project, which includes the raised bed and the rubber playground mats, as I did most of the work myself (other than the pier footing).
I am not sure if I would like an observatory, as it will cost a fair amount (particularly to get a fully-insulated one) and also take up quite a bit of space. Although in the long term, I would like to have my telescope permanently mounted on the CGEM to truly save on setup time (and prevent cluttering the house with my telescope and accessories). But that will have to wait for now.
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