Thursday, November 24, 2022

Let's Get Creative

As I look at observatory solutions for Big Bertha, I am seeing some obstacles.   Dobsonian telescopes have the mirror quite low to the ground usually 6-9 inches above ground level.  Put one inside most market observatories and the walls are 40" above ground level.  You are limited to 40 degrees above ground level and up.  RORs (roll off roofs) have long been popular for home observatories but here the problem is worse.  If you can stand up in when the roof is in place, you are looking at perhaps 50 degrees altitude.  Lord Rosse's Leviathan of Parsontown was a 72" reflector held between two walls and only capable of movement in altitude not azimuth.   Your observing opportunities were limited.   Limited to 40 or 50 degrees sounds not so bad by comparison. 

Let's think outside the box (in both figurative and literally senses).  A shed that is mounted on wheels of rails that can roll completely away from the scope.  One side opens up or can be easily removed before rolling.  The Dobsonian now has full sky access.  You do not get the wind protection of an observatory but for a Dob, this is perhaps the optimum solution.   Suggestions?  Crazy thoughts?

One reader suggested neodymium magnets to levitate the shed over magnet lined tracks.  As cool and 21st century as it sounded, 1" wide channels bolted to the concrete with 1" wheels on the bottom of the roll off building is simpler.  There are plenty of buildings more than big enough.  Big Bertha has a 2'x2' base so a building with 3x3x7 dimensions and at least 26" wide door would do the job.  But most sheds are large enough to put all three telescopes side by side.  One building one set of tracks one set of wheels.  The other two telescopes have wider footprints so 2 3x3 spots and therefore 8 feet or wider door.  It has to be one with no floor and no lip where the doors contact the ground.  I can find such but about $1000 for building, $2500 for concrete, and perhaps $200 for channels and wheels.  A bargain 

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