Mini Observatory

“This handy little building allowed me to walk out the back door and be observing with a thermally equilibrated telescope within minutes.” - Dave Trott

You can read about this in Phil Harrington’s book Starware but only in the third edition. The most recent book has all new projects. This little structure housed a 5.5 inch Mak. My micro-observatory was made of 1/4 inch plywood and is ventilated to keep the telescope cool. Maksutovs are notoriously sensitive to the temperature. This handy little building allowed me to walk out the back door and be observing with a thermally equilibrated telescope within minutes. When I built it, I used carriage bolts with the rounded heads toward the outside to prevent tampering. Inside the wooden structure is a six-inch steel pier buried in sand (for vibration damping) and concrete at the bottom. I got the sand idea from an old astronomy book and it works very well! This micro-observatory  was big enough to house a seven-inch Mak or an 8-inch S.C.

My first miniature observatory

My first miniature observatory

The Latest Version

When I moved recently I was forced to abandon the previous version of the mini-observatory. I also acquired a C-8 telescope with excellent optics and a 110 volt clock drive – the perfect backyard option. I sank a pier, ran the power and built this version. You can see that it is quite a bit slimmer, more lightweight and attractive. I used simple screw and glue with lightweight 1/8 inch plywood and a skeleton of good quality 1×2 stock. (My new neighborhood seems a bit less rowdy so security is not as much of a concern.)

Below you can see an opening sequence and some construction details;

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My second miniature observatory

My second miniature observatory