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Cast in stone

Started by NebSteve, 09/13/2010 06:07PM
Posted 09/13/2010 06:07PM | Edited 09/13/2010 06:10PM Opening Post
Hi All,
My new observatory is a step closer to its first light. Good thing I made everything adjustable.

I'm using a steam pipe as a main pier and had it spot-on level. I mean I took some time to get that sucker exact from every angle and every kind of level I could get my hands on. It was sweet! That was four months ago. It's bolted to studs that run two feet deep into a full cubic yard of concrete that filled a cavity hammered out of a shale ridge. Even something cast in stone is not imune to rain weather and whatever other forces push and pull things out of alighnement.

I'll have to dig away about three inches of sand, but the lower bolts are accessible. As for the top end. I drilled out a patern of holes in a blind flange and bolted the Losmandy pier adapter to it. That assembly trammed out as flat as can be. The problem appeared when I tried it on my pier. However, washers and a little adjusting brought it to level for an interum check of all other aspects.

Here's the weird part. I eyeballed north for the concrete and for the pier. I eyeballed the adapter in what phase I thought would be right once it mounted to the pier. I had the scope out at an East Valley Star Party Friday, and adjusted the head assembly for my latitude at that point.

When I bolted it all together and leveled it. Polaris came up in the "true-north" scope right on the money first time out. That never ever happens in construction much less on my tripod.

Now all that's needed is to remove the equitorial mount and level out the pier once again. Re-fill the pier with varying grades of sand and chipped tire rubber. Remount and level the head unit and check for north again. After all that, I'll need a lock on the door, because it will be ready for first light.

Getting closer, but not cast in stone!