Observatories - home

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Observatories - home

Postby lsc » Fri Mar 27, 2009 10:40 am

Hi all, OK having been roundly abused (in a kind way) for sugesting I fit a skylight in my loft for astronomy purposes, could I ask what others do. I find carrying all my kit out into the garden each night a pain, and sooner or later I am going to trip on the steps and either break some expensive kit, or break some bit of me. There are a lot of houses and trees around where I live so there is not much of the garden I can get a good view of the sky from. I could possibly run to a small sliding roof type shed. I had thought if I fully insulated the loft and had a loft door that closed airtight, I could open the skylight and let it cool down to ambiant. I certainly get a great view of the sky from there. Would be interested in how others manage, do you all have purpose built observatories, or do you lug your kit up the garden each night like me?


Ron
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RE: Observatories - home

Postby amature_brett » Fri Mar 27, 2009 12:03 pm

Hello Ron, I have to lug my kit up and down the garden when I use it. I would love a roll on roll off shed roof but I would have to demolish the brick built outhouse to do this. I have tinkered with the idea of modifying the outhouse to accommodate a roll on roll off roof but as its connected to the neighbors outhouse roof it would be near impossible.

Brett
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RE: Observatories - home

Postby lsc » Fri Mar 27, 2009 12:20 pm

I have something similar in terms of a brick shed, it is not connected to a neighbour, I have thought of building on top it though. Would have to have some way to prevent falling off. I am still tempted to put a big window in the loft and let it cool down before using it.

Ron
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RE: Observatories - home

Postby brianb » Fri Mar 27, 2009 1:43 pm

[quote]Hi all, OK having been roundly abused (in a kind way) for sugesting I fit a skylight in my loft for astronomy purposes, could I ask what others do.[/quote]
Sorry, it wasn't meant to be "abuse" ... even if the floor insulation is perfect, heat will rise from the walls of the house, this will be a nuisance for high power power.

My kit gets stored inside (in an unheated room) & lugged. When the weather is good it sometimes sits outside under a protective "mackintosh". But I'm in a low crime area, and the scope isn't visible from the road. Just upgraded 8" SCT to 11" SCT & I find it still luggable (medium size, reasonably but certainly not superfit middle aged gent), wouldn't like to carry it far or up stairs though.

[quote]I have something similar in terms of a brick shed, it is not connected to a neighbour, I have thought of building on top it though.[/quote]
Beware, planning permission may be required to extend a shed upwards.

Why not store the scope in the shed?

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RE: Observatories - home

Postby lsc » Fri Mar 27, 2009 5:03 pm

[quote]Sorry, it wasn't meant to be "abuse" [/quote]

Well lets say you dissabused me of the concept of putting a scope in my loft. Anyhow all advice appreciated.

Hmmm had not thought of the walls heating up during the day. Just having cavity wall insulation fitted shortly, that would exacerbate the problem I assume as heat in the external wall would not be dissipated by the air gap. So you reckon this would effectively leave a "curtain" of warm air rising in front of the scope late into the night. Surely this effect will wear off as the wall cools ?? Mind you the wall is West facing so would have sun on it longer than any other.

I may have to revisit the brick shed idea. Is it easy to buy a sliding roof, or do you have to make your own ??

Ron
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RE: Observatories - home

Postby stargazer22 » Fri Mar 27, 2009 5:03 pm

just dipping my oar in here...

has anyone here actually tried using a scope from a loft window? the reason I ask is that I once pointed my scope at Jupiter out of the open first floor window of my old house (coz I couldn;t be bothered setting up outside) and the view wasn't (to me anyway) all that dissimilar to the view when outside....

when I first read the O.P. by RonMcK my initial response was the same 'heat rising' issue but I now think that might just be an automatic "I've heard that somewhere so it must be true and I'd better repeat it here" response.

I'm happy (as ever) to be shot down in flames but I wonder if a slightly (if at all) degraded view is a price worth paying for the luxury of effectively having an indoor observatory with all the luxuries that affords....its not like RonMcK is planning on doing hard-nosed reasearch or serious imaging (?) from the loft - just having a nice view of the sky in the wee hours...
[i]
.... awaits a flaming....![/i]

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RE: Observatories - home

Postby lsc » Fri Mar 27, 2009 5:36 pm

I like Graeme's thinking, I am not a deep sky imager (but who knows what may happen). Though I do have a DSLR any may want to take photos os some of the easier one like say the Orion neb or Pleiades . I don't have an autoguide or anything though, so restricted to what can be done using the mounts tracking.

However this would bring you back to the orginal question of what sort of window you could put in your roof to do this. Certainly non of the velux ones seem appropriate. But if nobody on this site has ever done this, there may be a good reason why.

Ron
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RE: Observatories - home

Postby clipperride » Fri Mar 27, 2009 5:36 pm


Having never observed from inside I can't comment on how much of a problem it would be. Traditional wisdom states that the heat rising from the house would cause a problem. However some people do observe from the roof of tall building when they have no where else to go so I guess it would be better than nothing.

My solution is to keep all the heavy bits of kit outside in a small plastic shed. It has the advantage that it can be made pretty "bug" proof, although it needs to be placed out of direct sunlight as it can get warm. When I observe I simply have to carry out my charts and notebook, cup of tea and other essentials before getting the telescope out of its shed. It means I only have to carry it a couple of steps and also means that it is close to the ambient outside temp. Another advantage is that I can set up in various areas of our garden to grab the best view between trees.

As a plastic shed isn't the most secure of places, you should also invest in some sort of alarm and I would never leave my 'scope out there if everyone in the house was away at the same time.

Regards

Mark B
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RE: Observatories - home

Postby brianb » Fri Mar 27, 2009 6:10 pm

[quote]has anyone here actually tried using a scope from a loft window?[/quote]
Yes. Heat wasn't the only issue, limited access to the sky is another, also the wood floor results in the scope vibrating awfully unless you (and the mice) don't move at all.

[quote] I wonder if a slightly (if at all) degraded view is a price worth paying for the luxury of effectively having an indoor observatory with all the luxuries that affords....its not like RonMcK is planning on doing hard-nosed reasearch or serious imaging (?) from the loft - just having a nice view of the sky in the wee hours...
[i]
.... awaits a flaming....![/i]
[/quote]
No flames, it's up to you to make your own mind up as to what compromise best suits (and [i]everything[/i] is a compromise to some extent) .

The scope is best in the open air, unless you can afford a professional style slitted dome observatory a runoff shed, or runoff roof, is best. Mounting in the open air is [i]possible[/i] using e.g. the Telegizmo type covers, but in the UK you will almost certainly need a heater running under the cover all the time to keep out condensation; also, spiders and insects may result in requirement for regular time consuming "maintainance" (turfing the little blighters out!)

If you want to be comfortable, and especially if you're mostly interested in imaging, a robotic scope allows viewing from a nice warm room anywhere you can get the wires to stretch to. (Halfway round the world using the Internet!)

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RE: Observatories - home

Postby keithmorris » Fri Mar 27, 2009 7:50 pm

I built for myself a roll off shed. In other words the scope stays put (on it's tripod at the moment but this spring/summer I am putting in a pier) the shed is on wheels and moves away from the scope. My shed is approx 4ft square just big enough to house the scope on it's tripod.

You could always have the shed roll off in the direction to which your view is limited anyway. My shed moves approx 7ft to my west, the clearest bit of the sky for actually but north and east were out of the question because I would only be able to move the shed about 3ft which wasn't enough. Even though my shed does move to the west, luckily from my scopes point of view (no pun intended there) my shed is at just about the same height as my neighbours house and so doesn't present a problem with blocking out much of the sky.

My first thought though had been to make a flip top shed. The top third would be hinged and simply fold back similar to a cigarette box if you get my meaning.

The bottom half will still need a door so you can access the scope without having to step over the sides. I personally abandoned this idea simply because of a bad back and the problem with having a wall all the way around my scope at approx 3-4ft high would cause me.

I will take some pics at some time and post them here on the forum.


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