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The Observatory

Planting The 19 ft. Mounting Pier
Labor Day weekend '98 we snag us a little help to plant our 8 in. x 19 ft. well casing 8 ft. into the ground. Gravity didn't want to let go of it and we had one heck of a time (it weighs about 900 lbs.). Luckily no one was hurt while we were playing with it. A few days later, we filled the 30 in. x 8 ft. hole with cement. We now had a pier sticking 11 ft. out of the ground. The pier was then filled with sand to reduce any vibrations.

Building The Observatory
We built our 10 ft. x 10 ft. two story observatory using somewhat conventional techniques and adhering to our motto "We build buildings one board at a time". Using no plans ("don't need no stinkin' plans") or drawings to guide us, the observatory was built around the pier, being careful not to touch the pier (we wanted no vibrations when we walked about or shut the door). Here's a tip... Start building your observatory in the summer. Wish somebody would have told us.

Testing The Roll Off Roof
No it's not the "Men In Tool Belts" up there, that's us testing the roll off roof. With the roof rolled off, the six piece side sections can be folded down as needed. The two sections east and the two sections west, fold down to 5 ft. walls. The two sections south fold down to a 4 ft. wall, giving us a great panoramic view. The north wall is fixed at 7 ft. allowing us a standard size steel door and the ability to see well below the north star.

The Hocking Hills Observatory
We have taken you on a quick tour of the making of the Hocking Hills Observatory. It was great fun and a very worth while project. Having a permanently mounted telescope makes a large difference in how often you observe. There is nothing like having the ability to be up and running in ten minutes. When you're done for the night, shut down is just as quick. The other huge advantage is the protection it gives from the elements. You don't have to go to the extremes we did, a mounted telescope with a locked box over it is better than nothing. If you are fortunate enough to have a dark sky site, build something... you'll be glad you did.