Building My Observatory

Part One

About a year ago I bought a second hand ETX125. It took me a while to get to grips with the Goto set up but eventually, I began to get the hang of it. In spite of this, I missed far too many decent nights last winter because I just couldn't be bothered to drag myself outside to get it all set up. A few weeks ago, Euan Murray from Edinburgh posted some images on UK Astroimagers of a small observatory which he had constructed from a plastic storage box which he had bought from B&Q. The box was designed to hold two wheelie bins and has a pair of full width doors at the front with a lid which opens to about 45 degrees. As I do my observing sitting down, it looked ideal for my ETX.

The first question was where could I build an observatory. We have a cul-de-sac at the back of our garden, with a streetlight just a few feet away. The lid of the storage box would provide a screen from the light if I could put the box in a corner which had two huge potentilla plants. Jane hated these plants so she was delighted when I offered to dog them out so then I told her I was going to put an observatory in their place!

I dug out the potentillas, which took quite some doing.

The rootball from the bigger plant just fitted into our garden waste wheelie bin and I only just managed to lift it over the rim.

You can see the streetlight just above the birch tree, which doesn't have any leaves in winter.

I replaced some of the boards around the former potentilla bed and covered them in polythene so they will rot more slowly, hopefully.

The paving slabs for the small patio came free courtesy of a young man across the road who was about to throw them away.

The centre slab was left out as the pier would fit in there.

...and on to Part Two!