My Observatory Page
I am going to document the building of my new observatory. I am sure that many people reading this will think I went a bit overboard on materials, especially with the floor assembly. I also am doing a few things not normally done in observatories. I'm going to use some insulation in the walls and roof. I don't expect to maintain a steady temperature, but only want to try to prevent extremes in temperature, especially in the heat of the summer.
For the pier I am using the post that once held my 10 ft satellite dish. It has a 3" diameter pipe filled with concrete. I stripped away most of the mount, keeping only the part that allows adjustment in elevation. I had a local shop weld a 12" x 12" x 1/2" steel plate to it. The plate has four 3/4" holes in it. It mates to another plate with additional holes to hold my telescope. Hopefully this will all work and be sturdy enough to minimize vibrations.
I originally planned to pour a cement slab, but that seemed like overkill even to me. I decided to bury 4" x 4" posts in cement and use these for a foundation. It worked with my old observatory.
I rented a gas powered post hole digger with an 8" auger. I had it all laid out with string, but once I started digging the holes that all kind of went out the window. I only had time to dig the four corner holes and one of them was off by about a foot. I came up with Plan B. I figured out which post would be at the highest point in the yard (the only thing the laser level I bought was good for in the end) and planted my first post there. Since the observatory is going to be 10' x 10' I got a 10 foot long 2 x 6 and temporarily nailed one end to the post. I then used boards to prop up the other end until it was level. I used this to decide exactly where to place the second post. I dug the holes 2 feet deep and cut the posts short enough that there was close to a foot of concrete under the posts. This also allowed me to adjust the post up and down as needed.
Once the concrete dried in both holes, I temporarily nailed the 2 x 6 to the second post, too. This allowed me to repeat the process using a square to make sure everything was square when placing the third post.