John’s Observatory

Hello, and welcome to my observatory. The observatory was a fun and an exciting project to build. I will spend many a late night hours in a place I will call home. It will be a comfortable place to observe when the wind blows on cold nights. I know that living in South Louisiana is not the coldest place on the planet, but when the temperatures are in the 40’s and the humidity is 70 percent it’s not the best conditions to observe. This is why I built my second home. I named it “Omega Centauri.” Take a look under Deep Space and you will see the object the observatory was named after. It is an 8’x12′ observatory with a roll-off roof. Here is a brief description of how I built it. If you want more detailed information just e-mail me at [email protected] The thumbnails can be clicked to see a bigger, more detailed image.

leveling_floor I first started by squaring the corner post and setting the 8″ building blocks. I cemented the corner posts in the ground so the walls would be stable when the roof is off.

I measured my pier to be 4 feet from the back wall. The pier is a 4-1/2″ 1/4″wall aluminum pipe that is 8’long and set into the ground about 48″. (I got this free which was a big expense saved) The pipe was also put into floor_complete a 12″ diameter sonotube filled with concrete. I also have a 30″x30″ concrete base at the bottom. The pipe was then filled with sand to help absorb the vibrations. I had a 14″x14″ aluminum plate welded to the top of the pipe. Finally, I completed the floor with 2″x6″ boards.

The wall frames were easy to put up because of the corner post. Just run the top plate to each post and set in the studs. I used 90% screws on this side_walls project for strength. The roof frame was also easy to complete. The only time I had any help was to put on the roofing and siding material. Everything else is a one man job. If you can get help, it sure would make it easier.

As you can see the roll off roof is a simple design. Five 2-1/2″ wheels on each side, running on top the 2″x4″ top plate. The roof is a little heavier than I planned because I used an asphalt roofing material found only at Lowes. You could use wheel_system fiberglass or aluminum material and save some weight and cost.

Finally completed the project in about five weeks working on weekends. If you had the time it could be done in a week or less with help. Total cost ran about $1,000.

I decided after the first month I needed to have some permanent electricity installed. This added an extra $200 to the project for the rental of the trencher, wire, pipe and outlets. You can view this installation here.


roof_completefinished

If you ever decide to undergo a project like this you will find the work was worth all your efforts on those cold nights. Complete with carpet and electricity it becomes a second home. Just turn up your radio, aim your scope and enjoy the wonderful beauty that our creator put in the sky for each one of us to enjoy.