Steve’s Place

Photography and Astrophotography

The Observatory

Just a little blog on a project that finally, is almost at fruition. I have been delivering talks on Astrophotography and Aurora’s in both the UK and overseas for about 15 years. I have a passion for photography which is equalled by a desire to share what I have learned so that others can capture photographs they never believed possible. In most cases using relatively modest equipment – perhaps only a camera/lens and often from their own back yard. Though my own dream has always been to setup an observatory along with an imaging group conducting workshops and learning together. Time went on, the dream followed, a change of location with work found myself buying a house in a semi rural location close to Filey in North Yorks. A few test shots of the milky way were very pleasing indeed. They showed definite promise and the project of an observatory build was finally set in motion.
The build …
The Result …

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The MIG Observatory
It took two years to get this far but I now have a Skyshed Pod installed in the garden and recently, power has been installed. I am still sealing the floor to stop moisture rising from the concrete. Six coats already and probably needs several more to be sure. Foam matting lies on top of this with an isolated pier topped with a Skywatcher NEQ6 Pro mount head. Two switched ropelights provide the illumination. White at the bottom and red half way up.
A recent addition of a MESH (Orbi) WiFi router has increased the range of the home network and the observatory is now within the footprint allowing for remote sessions to be carried out – in the future.
Just installed the telescope in the observatory and conducted a “full sky rotation”. The closest it gets to the dome is about 1cm and it balances fine. That means remoting of the scope is now totally safe even if it loses position. I am so pleased I do not have to dig up a ton of concrete and shift it more central. The gamble of not having the mount central has paid off (the reason for offset mount was to avoid zenith block).

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SkyWatcher Equinox ED120 on an NEQ6 Pro
{December 2018}
Due to “capillary action”, water was being dragged under the foam tiles from the outside so another approach was necessary.I have used Black Jack DPM and painted the whole of the inside base, put some bitumen masking (150mm) around the inside perimeter and currently placing decking inside. The frame for the decking is on a 4″ x 2″ frame and raising the floor this high means I have totally covered the electric conduit so zero trip hazard. There had to be a positive for this  😉
I hope to extend the decking into each of the three bays and this would also accommodate “sleeping” bags for those keen enough !!
{May 2019}
Decking has been extended all water ingress has ceased. I have installed a radiator and also a dehumidifier and remote monitoring of humidity levels is being recorded. Humidity levels have in fact stabilised and currently looking for a cheap all-in-one pc with USB-3 ports. I am needing the speed for the high frame rate camera (480fps).
I also picked up another telescope (Celestron C8 XLT Starbright coatings) together with an optical and camera back which is now mounted and balanced.

New decking and scopes – taken using an astromodified camera hence a colour shift

{Note: I will be continuously updating this blog as “improvements” are made}

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