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PHOTOGRAPHY BY
Margaret Watson LRPS AFIAP
 

Observatory

Observatory Construction, Page 2
 

The mounted telescope, a Celestron C8-SGT(XLT), can at least now be used at nights while the rest of the construction continued during the day. However, with the onset of summer and 50C in direct sun it did tend to slow things down a bit.

Building Work Commences

Starting block walls

Walls completed
Starting the block walls

Walls completed with roof beams

Click on any image to see it at a larger size, use left and right arrow keys (or the N and P keys) to move back and forth through the gallery.

In June 2010 I started the construction of the walls which was fairly slow going as I kept playing with the telescope rather than getting on with the building work. I was also having problems guiding the CG-5 mount with PHD, and in short it just wouldn't behave. I rebuilt the mount, twice, using instructions downloaded from Astronomy Boy, http://www.astronomyboy.com/cg5/, and although this improved the guiding a lot it still didn't seem good enough. PHD also seem to have a mind of its own and seemed too clever for its own good!! Yes, I went through the process of polar drift alignment, improvements again but still not good, I was becoming rather disgruntled, and to be honest the building work fell by the wayside for the rest of the year.

The Roof

Beams ready for roofing

Roof almost tiled
Beams ready for roofing tiles

Roof tiling nearing completion

View from mountain

The finished 'flappy' roof
View of observatory from mountain
The finished 'Flappy' roof

Click on any image to see it at a larger size, use left and right arrow keys (or the N and P keys) to move back and forth through the gallery.

Start of a new year, 2011, and the winter is in decline and the days starting to warm up, so with renewed vigor I completed the walls and started work on the roof. I decided not to go for a rotating dome, or a slide-off-roof, but simple lift-up 'flappy' panels and these are working very well. Because of the selected location of the observatory and the position of the celestrial pole the roof was skewed so as to maintain a view of Polaris thru' the polar align scope and keep the roof as high as possible. (Notice the cave houses opposite?)

Finishing

Inside walls being scimmed

The finished 'flappy' roof
Inside walls being scimmed
The finished 'flappy' roof panels with restraining chains

Just the ouside to finish

Finished observatory
Just the outside to finish....
....and it's finished!!

Click on any image to see it at a larger size, use left and right arrow keys (or the N and P keys) to move back and forth through the gallery.

Just the finishing inside and outside to complete, fit the door, and it's all completed by end of May 2011.
The curtain that is covering the door is very necessary in Spain otherwise the heat of the sun warps the door and heats the observatory interior up to quite a high temperature..........the curtain solves this problem.

Equipment

Telescope mounted
Telescope mounted
The finished mount
Telescope mounted showing 'Flappy' panel open

Click on any image to see it at a larger size, use left and right arrow keys (or the N and P keys) to move back and forth through the gallery.

This is a saga in itself, don't forget at this stage I was still climing this very steep learning curve. I finally gave up with the CG-5 mount and relegated it to a door stop, although many may disagree with me I considered it junk. I wanted a mount that plugged-and-played out of the box not spend the rest of my days tweaking it. After a lot of research I invested in a Takahashi EM200 Temma 2M mount, and guess what?, it work first time of the box and I have never looked back since!

Up to this point I was using my Nikon D2X for imaging, but being quite an old sensor in it, it suffered with very noisy images on exposure times of 3 minutes and above, and it didn't have live view. My wife has a new Nikon D7000 camera, which has very low noise figures and live view, so I started to use that, but got my hands rapped several times for not putting all the settings back to how she had them before I borrowed it! I think Margaret decided I was not going to borrow it again and bought me a monochrome Atik 383L+ for my birthday in June, and a set of Baader LRGB filters to go with it.

One final problem........focusing.....its a nightmare, time to invest in a motorised focuser. Again, after a lot of research I decided on the Lakeside Astro which I bought thru' Ian King Imaging in the UK, ooh, and by the way PHD Guiding got the boot as well.

So in August 2011 everything is finished and we are all set to go, and last but not least thanks to my wife Margaret for being very understanding and supporting me.........and mixing concrete!!


 
 
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