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RASC Article - Observatory Plans

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A moderate sized SCT can be housed in a small permanent site quite easily. Here are the problems and their solutions as I have worked them out for my circumstances, the telescope is a Meade 12".


bulleteliminate moving each time scope is used
bulleteliminate wasted time for set up, cooling down and dismantling
bulletpermanent mounting and polar alignment, permanent electrical service
bulletlevel and dry area to stand, use adjustable chair, usee charts etc.
bulletability to vary the amount the roof opens to block glare of moon and neighborhood lights
bulleta sturdy, light and removable roof manageable by one person
bulletwalls high enough for windbreaking, high enough to allow headroom when roof is closed, low enough to avoid necessity of ladders for viewing objects near horizon
bulletremoval of roof does not increase footprint of building
bulletdoesnt attract attention in a suburban neighbohood
bulleteasy and inexpensive to construct
bulleta place for my cat Lucas and 3-4 guests to observe in comfort


bulletAn 8' long 8" dia. gal. steel pipe set in concrete, a 1" steel plate welded squarely to mount scope- all found as salvage.
bulletPermanently housed and polar aligned in a 8' square building sheathed in 1/2" plywood 2'x4" and 2"x6" framing.
bulletTop plate height- 64", pier height above floor -39", height to centre of primary with scope horizontal -66.5",height to ridge -88".
bulletSteel corrugated, enameled roofing on thin steel channel frame. Each side is 5'x10' and independantly positioned, roof cap attached to one side. The roof sections are hinged by an arm mounted on the outside of each gable end on either side of the two sections. One end is attached to the roof frame near the ridge, the other at the top plate. Unlocking the two sides and pulling on the bottom of one side of the roof while standing outside allows it to lift up at the ridge initially because of the starting angle of the arm in it's rotation. Continuing will allow roof finally to hang vertiaclly at the side of the building or be held at a higher point by supprting arms at desired height. Counter balance can be added easily, to offset weight of about 80 lbs. per section.
bulletElectrical power supplied underground to two GFI controlled recepticals and circuits through a conduit on pier- red and normal lighting. Dedicated circuit.
bulletLooks like a garden shed.
bulletCost approximately $850 Canadian ,design and construction about 50 hrs, singlehanded except in fabricating roof.
bulletLucas and my friends have a place to take in the sights in comfort.

Conceptual drawings are available in the zip file below.


There have been no problems at all in the first six months of use. This is a very brief overview to simply convey the concept of the design. The drawings should clarify this description somewhat. I may be reached at, eschandall@rcn.com for more detailed information. Thanks and Good Luck.

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Last updated: December 12, 2013

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