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Observatory Deck

Started by heliophile, 02/22/2007 08:57PM
Posted 02/22/2007 08:57PM Opening Post

Here is a general question to which I am afraid to get an answer. If you build a 8x12 foot tower attached to the back of a 2 story house, and make a deck on the top for a 360 degree view of the sky, can you make it rigid enough to dampen vibrations for telescope viewing? The tower will have a separate foundation, and a structural engineer has put together plans that include added rigidity.

The first floor of the tower is for storage and the second will have a small room. There will be little foot traffic late at night in the lower levels. How would you device a mounting structure that will eliminate vibrations? We have considered a pier, but prefer a tripod so that the deck can be cleared for other uses.

Any thoughts?

Posted 02/23/2007 03:21PM #1
I had basically what you are talking about at my previous home ,two story etc. . It was fine for observing but absolutley worthless for imaging.I built it heck for stout but even when the dome moved to keep track with the scope it vibrated so bad the AO7 could not keep up with it. If you will only for ever just observe then it woud be ok but for imaging you have to totally isolate the pier from the structure in my opinion and past experience.
Posted 02/28/2007 09:41PM #2
Thanks all for your responses.

Up to now, I have been a "visual" kind of person. I would like to try my hand in astrophoto at some point in the future, but don't have any compelling desire to do so at this point. So the feedback to you have given me has not come as terrible news. I was afraid to find out that the deck would not be useful even for visual observation, so all in all, I am encouraged.

After discussing it with my wife, we have decided against modifiyng the plans to include a full length pier through the structure. For one, we live in one of the most light polluted parts of the SF Bay Area, and secondly, it would disrupt the usable space in the room below the deck. Then of course, there is the cost. Construction costs around here are nothing short of absurd.

Besides, this gives me further impetus to pursue my dream to buy undeveloped land under dark skies for a more sophisticated observatory setup.

Another question: are portable piers better at handling vibrations than standard tripods?

Thanks again and clear skies to all.