a tiny telescope observatory - corrugated plastic roofing sheets
If you are an amateur astronomers, one of the easiest ways to spend time in the backyard with binoculars and increase your time under the stars is to build an observatory for your telescope.
Most importantly, it makes it easy for you to use a telescope.
Your telescope is at the observatory.
You can open the observatory and observe the moon for 10 minutes before the children go to bed, just as simple as you can observe the universe all Friday night, from dusk to dawn.
You can observe that your eyes will not open until you are too tired, then you close the observatory and go to bed in less than 5 minutes.
If you browse the amateur observatory on the Internet, you will find that there are many amazing examples.
Many are classic domes that scream at the observatory when you see them. Many have roll-
So the observatory disguised itself as an ordinary shed in the backyard.
Some are built on roofs, some on stilts, and can be seen on trees.
Some are simple, some are utilitarian, and some are luxurious in terms of facilities and decoration.
The observatory has as many ideas and implementation as amateurs.
Like many amateurs, I dream of having a spacious Observatory. of the roll-
Varieties from the roof)
, But after scanning my local building code and looking at the licensing process, after a long night of planning and calculating costs in a spreadsheet, I decided that it would probably take many more years in my future.
However, I am facing an urgent problem: I like to observe that there is a lot of snow to deal with most of the year in the Rocky Mountains.
Shoveling an observation area and installing and removing the telescope in the cold will cause serious damage to the observation.
So I designed a plan for a small observatory.
I was inspired by the Kennel Observatory described by Dennis di Seco in Sky & Telescope (
Page 125, June 2000).
Di SECO said he built his original small Observatory
Although he plans to make a bigger gap, he has observed in the past ten years that it works very well.
I had many wonderful nights at my own little Observatory and I understood what he meant.
The Observatory described in this manual is called the "xinggou Observatory "(
A joke because I always wanted to call the big Observatory I planned "Starlight basin Observatory ").
This particular design is called "flip" or "flip ".
"It was built on a cheap basis for a weekend.
The key to designing and building the observatory is: I want the observatory to be modular, I mean it should be divided into several parts and then 1 or 2 people can walk around with them.
Why am I doing this?
I look forward to the fact that I can carry it with me if I have to move, not from scratch.
Compared to the detailed planning that I have done for a larger Observatory, the star groove is designed surprisingly on a few sheets of paper.
The size of the floor is 8 feet x 8 feet and it is easy to fit in two whole pieces of wood.
The walls are short, simple Bolt frames, with a single layer of wood (I used OSB --
Oriented particle board--
Because it's much cheaper than plywood).
The roof panel is a similar bolt frame, covered with wooden boards and then covered with corrugated plastic garden roof.
No permanent Foundation. -
The observatory was sitting on a block of coal slag covered with pea gravel.
All the material was purchased for around $500 and placed behind my pickup truck.
The material list is: in the 3 days I built this observatory, I got a lot of help from my then 4 year old daughter.
There is nothing better than the actual experience of making herself a DIY master. :-)
The side wall, facing the eastern and western horizon, is the wall connected by the roof.
I want them to be a little lower so I can point the telescope to the horizon, so they are only 36 "high.
Buying 2x3 studs is cheaper than 2x4, and since the interior space is upscale, I can't think of any practical reason not to use smaller wood.
The frame is just a track of the top and bottom, fixing them together with bolts (end-
Screw through the top and bottom tracks with drywall screws)on 16" centers.
The skin is only 1/4 "OSB tablets, screwed on the nail.
I want the observatory to be modular, so I beat the wall skin on the side with the frame at the North End and South end of the Observatory.
You can see in the photo that the skin of the wall is sticking out 2 at both ends. 5 inches (
Width of 2 × 3)
, Overlapping the end frame.
The north and south walls determine the shape of the roof.
As the roof is open, it stays only on the north and south walls when it is closed.
The bottom of the north-south wall frame is only 8 feet long with 2x3. On 16-
In the center of the inch, with vertical studs, cut to the length of the roof profile I want (
Tilt 30 degrees from the horizontal direction).
Each verical studs is cut with a beeline on the top, so it will be mounted flush with a capped stud head forming the top edge of the wall, and the roof is actually leaning against it.
The center position of the two walls is a little higher than 4 feet, so I can't cover them with a horizontal OSB.
Instead, I cut a piece of paper in the center and peeled the end with vertically oriented pieces.
There is a seam in the middle, but it is on the double columns in the center of each wall, so it still has a lot of support and does not leave a barrier to wind or weather.
The north wall has the gate I use to enter the central observatory.
The door is 32 "x32", big enough to crawl easily, but the most important thing is big enough to get the telescope through!
The foundation is floating.
I don't want anything permanent on the ground.
The overall size of the observatory is small (
Only 8 feet to one side)
Therefore, I choose only the corner points of the foundation, and the span between the angles is supported by the structural integrity of the beam (vertical 2x6’s).
At the corner I dug about 18 inch of the small pits and filled them with pea gravel.
The purpose here is to keep the base blocks off the ground and to be isolated from the frost resistance and ground settlement.
I laid two pieces of coal slag on each gravel bed and the hole was facing up.
Then the frame is located at the top of the block, supporting the observatory in every corner.
The site is a bit tilted so this is the level stage.
Uphill pit (east side)
A little deeper, so it stays level when the floor frame is on all four blocks.
The footprint of the observatory is selected as 8x8 so that I can dock with each other with two pieces of OSB without having to cut them.
Overall, considering the size of my range, it's a little smaller than perfect (
Please see "Observatory deadline" below ")
However, the advantages of building simplicity outweigh these worries.
The frame is 8x8, so the end track remains the length of the purchase, and the other seven beams connecting the end are cut by 3 inch (
Width of two 2x6)to 7ft 9in.
Provide adequate support and rigidity (
You don't want the telescope to jump around when you're walking around the observatory)
The beam is placed in 16-inch centers.
The two beams outside are over.
Screw in the end cap using decorative screws.
The other 5 beams are mounted on the rack hanger and then the end is screwed into the end cap using the trim screw.
The entire component can be picked up and moved by two people.
Provide a little moisture protection and a layer of trapped air (
I hope it's insulated.
It will be cold standing in front of the telescope at night! )
, I covered the bottom of the frame with Tyvek and then flipped it over to the base block.
The top is stripped into two skins of 5/8 OSB and screwed into the support beam, which makes it very hard and stable.
The floor is framed and the next step is to put the walls in place.
I started with the south wall and supported it with external support, while I put the trim screw through the lower railing of the wall into the support beam of the floor frame.
The rest of the walls rise in the same way, fighting back
Clockwise direction: east, north and west.
As mentioned above, the design of the east and west walls makes the skin of the wall surround the frame of the north and south walls.
I screwed the wall to the floor support beam and then screwed the extra screws through my knee to the adjacent wall.
The final structure is very strong.
Each corner is covered with an L-flashing vertical strip to prevent the weather from bringing water or snow into the seam between the wood (
Sorry I didn't get that picture but if you look at the pix for the whole Observatory you will see the darkness flashing in every corner).
The roof frame is like a side frame --
A base and a cover rail, 8 feet long each, screwed into the vertical Bolt end at 16 inch center.
The roof has a 30 degree angle to the horizontal plane.
The DingTalk is cut to a length of 4 feet 4.
5 inch, gives the total length of 4 feet 7 on the roof side. 5 inches.
The surface of the roof is the skin of 1/4 OSB, covering a layer to Tyvek for additional moisture protection.
The sides and sides close to the ground face the drops to guide the water from the roof to the ground.
The outermost exposed surface is the corrugated plastic garden roof panel-
They are cheaper than aluminum roofs and are easy to cut and use. They sold pre-
Cut the "wave" wood stand to cover the roof surface, so I put it on the top, center and bottom of the roof for a while to close the depression under the ripple.
At the top I poured a piece of wavy wood outside and made a flat edge where I could fit the ridge cap on it.
In the position where the plastic roof panels overlap, I put vertical lathe strips to match the height of the wave-supported wood running horizontally under the roof top.
This provides a fixed point where the roof plate can be fixed on the surface.
Fix the plastic roof panel on the roof
Structure, I use short pull bolts with rubber washers (
For this purpose, sell near the panel).
Also, in the position where the panels overlap, I ran a lap of silicone caulking under the outer panel to seal the gap between the two and help keep the edges down.
Each side of the roof section is secured in place by four heavy door hinges on the east and west walls.
To ensure the safety of the roof, I first attached the hinge to the wall of the Observatory and then placed the roof part in a "closed" position.
2x3 there is a lot of friction between the surfaces, one can keep the roof part in place while the other can fold the hinge and screw it into the lower track of the roof part.
Depsite is large in size and the roof part is not heavy, and a person standing inside the observatory can pop up easily and turn on the hinge.
In the event that both roof sections are in place, fix a ridge cap on the seam at the top of the roof.
The ridge cap is fixed only on the East top part, so it moves away when the East top part is opened.
The eastern section must be opened first and then finally closed so that the ridge cap is in the correct protective position.
I put a door on the north wall.
It's a simple thing to build with a 2x3 frame and a single center Bolt, peeling with 1/4 "OSB like the walls of the Observatory.
I made a bit of fancy wood work on the front, which provided a little thickness for installing a pair of door hinges.
When I was at the Observatory, the door was rubbed off;
In order to protect it when the observatory buckles it, I used a simple security lock and a padlock.
The counterweight system is a later supplement to the design.
I was going to simply lift the roof panel up and down from the inside of the Observatory, but in the end I didn't have enough leverage to do that.
I have considered many different ways of lifting from inside or outside, but they all do add to the hassle of opening the observatory ---
I want something simple.
At the end of the day, I started thinking about the counterweight, which is simple and elegant.
Basic ideas and a see-saw (
For those who remember the physics class, this is about balancing the "torque" around the pivot point, in which case it is the hinge).
I estimate the weight of each roof (
Use the size of the panel and the density of the wood, fast and dirty)
, And calculated that if the weight is suspended 90 pounds outside the hinge line, a total of 2 feet of the weight can be used to make the roof plate turn easily.
I made the long guide rail, kept the weight distribution outside the length of 2 × 6 and fixed them directly on the outer surface of the 2 × 3 guide rail, which forms the outer edge of the roof frame.
This is perfect at the end, as the rails cover the interface between the roof and the Wall (
Effective seal for weather)
, When the roof rotates and opens, the track supporting The counterweight is outside the wall, allowing the roof to open completely!
I might not have planned so well if I tried!
For the weight, I put a total of 45 lbs in each corner.
I installed the counterweight on two "fittings.
First, I bolted a flange on the track and inserted a pipe with a diameter of 2 of 6 inch at both ends.
The weights slide to the length of the pipe, and there is a solid cover on the outer thread that holds them firmly in place.
To open and close the roof and support it when the roof is open, I used a simple rope system.
I can push the roof with my hands, rotate it over vertically, and then slowly lower the roof by grabbing the rope.
When it's time to close the observatory, I just pull the rope, rotate the wall to a vertical position and lower it to a closed position.
I installed a ring bolt at the end of each roof track near the top of the Mountain (4 bolts total)
, And two rings near the top of the mountain on the north and south walls (4 bolts total).
I put a 3/8 length woven polypropylene rope through the ring bolt, so when the roof top is folded and opened, the tightened rope ring extends from the ring on the roof to the ring on the wall.
In the picture you can see I used a plastic hook that has a friction channel and I can change the length of the coil if needed (
Although I have never used this feature in practice-
I could have fixed the rope to a permanent ring by eye bolt).
I used the same set of eye bolts when the roof was closed and hooked a ratchet tie (
Red in the photo)
Flatten and close the roof through them;
When the structure is closed, precautions to prevent the wind from trying to raise the roof of the Observatory.
Indoors, I put down the foam interlocking floor to make the stand more comfortable, provide a little cold-proof insulation and protect the falling equipment.
The space is very tight, so there is no space to put the star tray or my notes, but the folded roof panel is a huge flat area I can take advantage!
I put thin plywood on the beams on both sides as a simple table.
This is an effective and feasible solution.
The depression between the side of the panel, the roof support beam also provides useful trapped space to ensure that the item is safe and out of the way (
Snacks, coffee cups, etc).
On the door, I screwed a plastic cup to keep the writing utensils and thermometers supplied permanently on hand.
The observatory is more or less the right size for the telescope to sit diagonally in a horizontal storage location with the roof closed.
When the roof is open, the range can be rotated up to reach most of the sky.
However, in the most basic direction, when the range turns down to the horizon, it will eventually hit the wall and stop it from falling.
The limits that the telescope can point to are often called "Observatory cutting-off. " The cut-
In the east and west directions, the off is very short, but much higher (Along the peaks)
In the north and south direction.
Exact location of cutting
Choice is a question of choice.
For me, the North and the South
Since there is a "light dome", off is the best configuration (
Large Sky disappearing from urban light pollution)
Whether north or south, I am unlikely to observe a lot in both directions.
To the north, I make sure the roof is low enough that I can still see the Polaris with a telescope;
In the northern sky, if you wait long enough, everything will eventually spin in the sky above the Polaris, so as a result I don't really lose anything in the northern sky
In the East and West, everything will eventually rotate to a height sufficient to clear the observatory cut
In those directions.
On the day the observatory was built, it experienced a snowstorm. -no joke!
There is no snow in it, which inspires confidence that it does protect the telescope from these factors.
Open and start to observe for less than two minutes.
You let go of the two ratchets.
Put down the straps, fold the East roof panel, and fold the West roof panel so you can watch!
I hope you enjoyed this teaching and were inspired to try and build your own small observatory.
This makes it easy and enjoyable to observe at any one night, at any time.
Thank you for reading;
Here are some pictures of the Observatory I have taken over the years.