Observatory

observatoire_0 For years, I had to move about my old C11 telescope with its CG11 mount and tripod everytime I wanted to observe. Not only is the C14 not very practical to move about, but I wanted to be able to observe whenever the skies were clear or I felt like it; so that meant building my own observatory, for as little money as I could. So, forget domes and the likes, and welcome to modified garden sheds. I ordered mine over the internet for about a 1000 Euros. It measures 2 Meters by 3, and I have to admit that 2 Meters is a bit short sometimes for the C14. 3 by 3 would have been better, but never mind. The concrete column was built first, and then the observatory build around it. The observatory rests in my garden, far enough away from the house so that heat radiated by the building is not a problem. The shed rests on four concrete blocks anchored to the ground with concrete. Because there are no contacts between the building and the telescope supporting column, it means that you can move about and break dance inside and nothing will move nor tremble (check the picture below). Modifying the shed was a fairly big job, since it implied using portal rails in top of the walls, and portal rollers fastened to the bottom of the roof to allow it to slide freely. Of course, wooden beams had to be added to the back in order to support the roof structure when opened. Proper planning was critical as the height at which the shed was positionned around the telescope had to be high enough to allow the roof to close, but, also low enough for the telescope to be able to aim at objects near the horizon. A locking mechanism locks the roof in place when opened as well as closed, so that it won’t fly away in case of high winds. So far, a year after building it, I have not had any accidents or near misses.  colonne The shed interior has been furnished with a computer desk, as well as shelves to store eyepieces, cameras and the likes. Also, power had to be brought to the obervatory, as well as a network cable to be used to control the telescope remotely in winter, when temperatures are cold. At the moment, using a “livebox” from the french telecom for internet access, I was able to configure it as a WIFI router, which, using Radmin software, allows me to have complete control over the observatory laptop driving both the mount and cameras. So, in winter, all I have to do is open the roof, and set the mount up, then I can do everything else from my office computer, nice and warm inside the house. The Titan mount is ASCOM compatible and there is a great little free piece of ASCOM software which allows complete control of the mount from a PC. details of the rails and rollers are shown below: rail   obser

Location

france_relief I am lucky enough to live in the French Alps, 15 Kilometers away from the city of Alberville in Savoie, France. My observatory is located at an altitude of 750 Metre above sea levels but this is a mixed blessing because it is situated on a mountain flank. This, means, that I very rarely get very steady skies, due to air movement up and down the mountain. Light pollution is not really a problem, the city being far enough away and of reasonable size. Most lamp posts (we had 3)  in my street have been switched off, (thanks to council austerity measures) apart from one 50 meters away, which I cover with a black plastic bag using a long pole, when required. The weather is of continental, meaning the the skies are clear quite often. In winter, transparency tends to be poor due to very humid air with a visual magnitude of 3, but stability tends to be good, while in summer, visual magnitude is about 5, but seeing is poor due to high turbulence. The horizon to the West is blocked by the “Orizan” mountain, but all others directions are clear.

VN:F [1.9.7_1111]
Rating: 8.7/10 (6 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.7_1111]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Obervatory, 8.7 out of 10 based on 6 ratings