When my wife wanted to expand the kitchen, I was able to convince
her that I should have a 'permanent' place for my telescope. Since I
like to do CCD Astronomy, I wanted the permanent solution to be close
enough to the house so I can enjoy CCD'ing in comfort. The solution
was a concrete pedestal. I can mount a wedge on the pedestal and,
once aligned initially, be very close from night to night so that I
do not need to align every observing session.
As a result, we added a pier that passed through our deck. Because the deck is up one floor, the pier is about twelve feet out of the ground. We have taken to calling it the 'Obelisk'.
I had initially pictured a footing in the ground (about 3' x 3') and a 10" diameter sonotube. However, once the project engineer and contractor got into the act the pier has a 6' x 6' x 2' footer, a lower section that is 3' x 3' x 10', and an upper section that is 2' x 2' x 6'. This turned into 7 tons of concrete and 500 lbs of reinforcing steel.
The pier is very stable and is isolated from the deck and its supports. Walking on the deck while observing produces no noticable effects. While observatory is an overdescription of this facility, it provides a quick way to get ready for observing sessions. From the decision to observe to ready to image is about 15 minutes. For visual work it is less than five minutes.
The wedge was installed on December 31, 1998. Most of the images on the site taken since that time are from this location.
This is the 'observatory' in its closed position. The tarp
covers the wedge and the top of the pier. I use rope and a bungee
cord to secure the tarp over the top. This is the white horizontal
line on the blue tarp.
This is the observatory in its 'open' position. The wedge is a Meade Superwedge.
This is the outside part of the setup for CCD astronomy. The
telescope is a Meade LX200 10" F/6.3. Using Milburn rings, I
have an ETX piggybacked on to it for guiding. A Pictor 201xt is
attached to the ETX for guiding. Pictured is a Pictor 416xt for
imaging. There is an electric focusser on the telescope.
This is from the inside of my wife's kitchen. She has allowed
me one corner for my astronomy activities. The desk doubles for
her use if it is not clear.
This is the underneath of the 'observatory'. You can see the step from a 3' x 3' cross section to a 2' x 2' cross section. You can see the lattice work my wife insisted to 'hide' the Obelisk. My contractor thinks it is a great place to store his equipment.