Planting The 19ft. Mounting Pier
Labor Day weekend '98 we snag us a little help to
plant our 8in.x19ft. well casing 8ft. 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, a cement truck came and we filled the
30in.x8ft. hole with cement. We now had a pier sticking 11ft. out of the ground.
The pier was then filled with sand to reduce any vibrations.
We built our 10ft.x10ft. 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.
The Roll Off Roof
Here we are testing the roll off roof. No it's not
the "Men In Tool Belts" up there, it's Stuart and Joe. 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 5ft. walls. The two
sections south fold down to a 4ft. wall, giving us a great panoramic view. The
north wall is fixed at 7ft. 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.