Now that I'm getting older I have decided to make a permanent home for my telescope. As having to lug my heavy Meade 10" Schmit Newtonian out side every time I use it is not going to get any easier in the future.

So here I'll be blogging all the trials, tribulations, successes and failures (of which there will be many I'm sure) of building an astronomical observatory from scratch.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The finishing touches

I had one of my brain waves about tidying up the edges of the felt. obviously I could not fix it to sides as that would mean it would not open.

So this was solution, I fitted 6mm  bolts through the original edging, made up a secondary edging to cover the opening part of the felt which is then held on by wing nuts.

This make opening the roof nice and easy, by undoing the wing nut....
 .....and folding back the edging, while leaving the original edging in place.

Three of the trims just hang on the second bolt/ wing nut.

Where as the fourth I remove
 completely along with cross member which is attached to it. The cross member holds down the felt overlap at the apex and is held in place by secondary edging on the opposite site. 
 Here's a couple of pics of the cross member in place.

and here it is being removed.

All there is then left to do is to undo the four retaining clamps inside and I'm ready to align the scope.

It only took me four minutes to open the observatory last night (including taking the photos), Which is much better than the 20 minutes that it used to take me to set up before. Happy Days!!!!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

The End is Nigh

Hi folk, well the end is in sight, I got allot more done today (Easter Bank Holiday Monday) than I thought I would. As foolish as I am I listened to the weather man, I should know better, heavy rain was forecast so I decided to have a lie in. When I surfaced at about 10:30 the Sun was shining and the sky was blue, so it was out to the observatory to do a little more.

Here's Hazel fashioning the Fochabers Observatory

Felting the roof is so much easier when it opens up as you can do the apex from inside. 
Mind you I new it was going to be touch and go whether I had enough felt due to the modifications I've made, I was short by 300mm a quick dash to B&Q was in order as rain clouds started to gather. It'll be fine I thought and set off for Elgin. As I got to B&Q's car park the heavens opened and my heart sank with the thought of half the roof being ruined by the rain. 
When I got home though.......

.....What, No rain?

The rain stayed off long enough for the project to be completed, 
Not bad huh?

 Feeling very happy with the out come of this build, every thing seems to be working as planned even the weather proofing. Just after I finished we had a sudden storm of hail and driving rain, everything inside stayed as dry as could be, Smug mode again!

I have just a few thing to tidy up now but that can be done as and when.
If you have any question about my design feel free to leave a comment and I'll get back to you.

I'll apologies now for all the cloud that we'll have for the next six months due to me having a new piece of equipment!

Clear skies everyone.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

it FELT like a long day today

Well I'm halfway there, I put the roof covering on one side of the observatory today as you can see it's not your conventional just felt roof.  The black strips covering the gaps is 150mm damp course membrane which is very flexible so will not rip like felt.  The upper piece of felt over hangs the apex by 100mm and will lie over the top of the two section on the right hand side of the roof to stop water leaking in at the top.

The damp course has two plus sides to it. 
1 it's flexible. 2 it's as cheep as chips a 30M roll cost £9 from B&Q

I used another strip of  damp course to cover the vertical join, this is nailed to the left hand section underneath   the felt and over laps the felt on the right hand side.
I know it's not pretty but it's practical!
I'm sure this will be sufficient for normal day to day poor weather, for server contions   I'll cover the roof with a tarpaulin, SIMPLES!

Before felting the roof I strengthened hinge points with  four wooden planks to ensure the screws securing them did not pull through the roof panels. 
As that would  be a bit of a pain if that happened!

Roof closed

Roof open.

I have a little bit of tiding up to do to the felt, time to test that half now I have left it open to the elements and thankfully it's started to rain, will see in the morning if there are any leaks. 
Fingers crossed!