If you expect to lift your floor to make future changes, straight-sided boards fixed with screws may be preferable. Fortunately, we have never fallen down the step. :-).
Observing Secrets of Deep-Sky Objects Revealed, 111 Deep Sky Wonders for Light-Polluted Skies. Message received. First, I bolted a flange into the rail, and inserted a 6 inch length of 2" diameter pipe threaded at both ends. Lastly, we applied a layer of grey-coloured gel coat, which seals the surface and provides the required colour. Like many of my best ideas, credit for this one belongs elsewhere. Opening up and starting to observe takes less than two minutes. Commercially made glass-reinforced plastic domes are an instant – although expensive – solution, but home-built options also include apex-roofed sheds with roll-off or lift-off roofs.
I did a little fancy woodwork on the front, which provided a bit of thickness to mount a pair of gate hinges.
At Backyard Observatories we hope you will find all the services and products to suit your observatory needs. Additionally, at the locations where the panels overlap, I ran a bead of silicone caulk under the outer panel, to seal the gap between the two and help keep the edges down.
There was no permanent foundation -- the observatory sat on cinder blocks laid down beds of pea gravel. I also find your innovations and ability to overcome small challenges, very inspiring. But its dimensions can be altered to suit your needs.
My original rail supports were also regular 2-by-4s pounded into the ground, but these quickly rotted and were replaced with pressure-treated 4-by-4s. Four 8-foot lengths of 1-inch angle made from 1/8-inch-thick stock would serve as the load-bearing portion of the track for the wheels to ride on. Make sure you leave enough room to operate your telescope. Compared with the detailed planning that I had already done for a larger observatory, Star Gully was surprisingly designed on a couple of sheets of paper. Leave a gap of about 10mm between the concrete and the wood so that vibrations from walking on the floor aren’t transmitted to the telescope. Since the roof opens, when it is closed it simply rests on the north and south walls. With the aid of sketches or photos of similar projects, talk to your family – especially if a favourite flowerbed will require ‘modification’! We may publish a roundup someday, and it would be nice to include any innovations you may come up with. Garage-door track would be a good alternative, but it is not a stock item at building-supply stores in my area.
Not a skiff of snow inside, inspiring confidence that it would, indeed, protect the telescope from the elements. As noted above, the east and west walls were designed so the skin of the walls laps over the frame of the north and south walls. If you decide to build a doghouse or other home observatory, please send me a photograph or two of the finished project (dicicco@SkyandTelescope.com or Dennis di Cicco, Sky & Telescope, One Alewife Center, Suite 300B, Cambridge, MA 02140 USA).
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