I have not been able do any astrophotography lately as I have been working on a project. This is one I have been meaning to get done but which never was a priority until now; I have been getting a telescope pier sunk into the ground in my garden. Now that my interest in astrophotography has been rekindled with the Celestron Starsense autoalign making my telescope alignment so much easier, I thought I would get my telescope mount as stable as possible to give me the best chance to get the most out of the mount.
About a month ago, I told my friend that I was looking for a telescope pier. And not long after he contacted me via email to say that a telescope pier had come up on astrobuysell UK. So I contacted the seller and asked for photos of the pier. When I saw how solid it looked: it really is 10.5″ diameter, 1 metre tall and walls are 8mm thick, I knew that it was exactly what I wanted to get. So I made an appointment to go and pick it up on that Saturday.
I took my youngest daughter with me for the drive down to Fareham, and she managed to keep herself occupied during the journey munching on snacks and watching BBC iPlayer on my iPad. It was great that when we arrived at the destination, the seller’s 7 year old daughter happened to be there. The both of them played happily together with dolls and talked, while I was out with the seller talking about the pier and seeing his amazing telescope setup. That trip did make me start to yearn for a larger telescope.
Once home with the pier, I decided to buy some Hammerite Hammered black metal paint to repaint the pier black. All in all I managed to coat it with 5 coats (on top of the white coat it came with), so it should be able to withstand the exposure to the weather. The seller was kind enough to let me have two extra parts to help me mount my Celestron CGEM to the pier. One was a solid steel adapter and the other an aluminium mounting plate.
Next, I asked my neighbour who is a builder to create the pier footing for me. The plan was to dig a hole 1m x 1m x 40cm deep to sink the pier into the concrete, with the feet concreted in to make it more stable. The center of the pier would also be filled with concrete to make it as solid as possible. The dig went according to plan, and as you would have it, at 40cm depth we hit very solid ground – which is the perfect foundation for the pier footing.
In order to make the pier completely level, a slab was laid onto concrete and levelled.
Next the pier was placed onto the slab, ensuring that it was dead level and then fast-setting strong concrete filled in the base, so it could set quickly.
The next step was to place a wooden box around it and then fill in the remainder of the concrete. A cone was then made to fill the center of the pier with concrete.