Observatory Build – 2022

We will be building the new observatory in 2022. The new building will be a 10 x 12 foot structure with a small sitting area and a desk with a door to allow for remaining warm on cold nights. I will add a conduit to allow for battery powered operation of the telescope and laptop(s) to operate the telescope.

The pier has been a point of internal debate. I came to the conclusion that I would forgo the pier for year one of the observatory and add a hatch in the floor for addition of a pier later before year two really gets underway. This gives me time to deal with the big prize of getting the observatory operational while leaving the door open for a concrete pour. Besides, I need to figure how to get my Skywatcher EQ6-R Pro on a pier and that may require a special order of a pier connection point, likely using a tripod head modified to be the pier top. More to come later on that front. For now, we’re all figured on where this goes.

I’ve opted for low power operation with a portable power pack to drive the scope and a Astroberry Raspberry PI 4 computer to control astrophotography. It’s a matter of sheer convenience and avoiding any dedicated power cable drops to the building. I will add a small solar powered light inside for red-light and a white led light as well. Frankly, the biggest deal will be USB hubs and quick connects to allow me to lug power to the building and keep it all simple. The biggest issue I’ve noted thus far is the fact that I need to run a VERY long length of ethernet cable. Lucky for me, I have a huge amount of this cable on hand and it’ll be a snap to get it installed over a period of weeks to get it done with my bad back controlling events. Once this is done, I can go open the observatory, check polar alignment, check the internet connection and then return to the house to run the scope remotely.

We have been delayed on this construction due to family medical issues and are now ready to press ahead with our observatory. We have worked out a plan to use an existing metal building to house the observatory pier and electronics while being able to run Ethernet to the building for piping our camera views and controls to the main house.

Given recent events, the unbelievable escalation of the price of lumber and other factors, I was driven to a metal building for the telescope. I may have to get creative to fully insulate it, including adding a lightweight wood roof to fully seal the roof against the elements. The roof will also be on tracks to retract when I am observing.

Construction will begin in May 2021 and we will post periodic updates here.