After reviewing all the various types of observatories in Bill Arnett's Amateur Observatories website, I decided to go with Scott Horstman's CJE1 observatory plan. The major reason being that he is located within 45 miles from my home and location of the observatory. The location is at the rear of our yard. The Pine Forest Observatory was built!
4/19/04 Update:I had my two sons Ryan and Scott, my cousin Jerry M. and neighbor Jim P. help me with the demolition of the old storage shed in the back yard. That was a fun but tiring project. I also rented a trenching machine and oh what fun that was. It was used to trench out an area from my house to the location of where the observatory will be. Then we laid out the outdoor electrical wiring and covered this trench back up. My younger son's friend Alberto's father is a cement contractor so we were able to have him come out to mark off where the cement slab will be laid for a 12' x 12' observatory building as well as the pier. As for pier, I purchased the "Astropier" from Le Sueur Manufacturing Company .
4/23/04 Update: The frame is all set for the observatory slab and the pier was dug to a depth of 4 feet. The work was all done by Panecassio Construction Co. Notice the template board with the "J" bolts for the Astropier laying on the "patio" on what will be the patio to the entrance of the observatory. The view below is on the west end.
4/24/04 Update: Today the concrete was hand wheel-barrowed by 4 men from the concrete truck in the front of the yard to the rear to fill up the hole in the pier and the 11' 6" x 11'6" slab for the observatory.
5/8/04 Update: The Pine Forest Observatory construction was completed. I want to take a nice picture of it but each evening the weather has been either rainy or murky here. Scott Horstman of CJE Construction was here today with his crew. His workers Don and Ryan were a couple of real pros. The observatory arrived at 9:30 a.m. and these guys really went all out working all day long. It was all built today except for the siding and roofing. In the evening my son Scott, Ryan and I attached and leveled the Astropier.
Scott Horstman - owner of CJE Construction
5/9/04 Update: Scott Horstman and his assistant Ryan, finished up installing the siding and the roof. All that is left now to do is the electrical work. This will be done in the next weekend or so. In the meantime, I connected the wiring onto the electrical outlet on the pier and then sealed off all the holes on the bottom and filled the pier to about 3 inches from the top with play sand to dampen vibration.
5/12/04 Update: The Meade Superwedge and the telescope were assembled onto the pier. The first light occurred today in the new observatory. I just rough aligned the polar axis and got to test viewing of Venus, Saturn and Jupiter!
6/16/04 Update: I just finished up adding drywall in the interior. No insulation is a must! I am presently in the process of doing the finish work with drywall compound. When this is finished the interior will be painted dark blue. My younger son Scott came up with a really good idea. We will paint the Sun and the Solar System on the East wall. As you enter, this will be the first thing that strikes your eye. Both the South and North walls will feature posters and pictures that have been taken over my lifetime of the heavens.
11/15/04 Update:Here are are some pictures of the telescope with the Celestron guider below:
Fully equipped Meade 12" LX200 GPS SMT UHTC
Celestron 102mm f/5 spotting scope for guiding.
Losmandy Dovetail mounting assembly for guider.
Losmandy Counterweight system.
Dew-Not Dew Remover System
View with roof opened
November 13, 2004
Motorized Rack & Gear Assembly from Scott Horstman's "Backyard Observatories"
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