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Thread: Building scope platform to try to avoid trees

  1. #1
    Ben Cartwright SASS's Avatar
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    Default Building scope platform to try to avoid trees



    I only have one place in my yard that I can see the southern sky and that is over the neighbors house and between a factory and a 24 hour Walmart. None the less I am going to build a patio for my scopes. It is in the back behind my shed. If I had good skies I would make a permanent observatory but my skies are normally Bortle 8, sometimes in the winter 7.0.
    The view over my red shed it toward Polaris which is just behind the tree to the right of the smokepipe, that is the view to the zenith. The horizonal view of the sky is about 50 degrees or so wide and 30 high with the ecliptic running just over the tree line at this time of the year.
    But better something than nothing for those days that you can't travel.

    Also the final view is from my deck off my bedroom, a very small part of the sky on either side of the large tree that obscures most of the SW. The Ecliptic is visible to the left of the tree just over the tree line, goes through the center of the tree about 4/5 up and is visible to the right for a degree or two before it goes behind the right hand tree. But directly overhead I can see the sky in about a 25x25 degree box.

    BUT as I was driving home from the hardware store I saw how many houses around here cannot see ANY sky!

    VIEW TOWARDS POLARIS AND ZENITH polaris is just behind the pine tree next to chimney. Of course it really doesn't matter as that is the side of the house with the large shopping mall 300 FEET away and most nights I cannot see Polaris.










    Sky from new patio, overhead is trees and to the left and right and up to about 38 degrees in front are trees.




    view from deck

    OleCuss, KathyNS, Lowjiber and 4 others like this.
    My home obs pad has Bortle 8 sky, Lunt LS80DS, LS50DS, Lunt Herschel Wedge, Quark Chromosphere
    Cameras: Canon 80D, ZWO ASI120MC ASI120MM-S ASI174MM ASI174MM-cool ASI178MC-cool
    Scopes: 1998 Celestron Nexstar 5, XLT120, XLT102AZ, SW ED100 APO, 102 Mak, SV 80 APO, LX200 12 Classic, Orion ST80, 120ST, 127 Mak,
    Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jmpadell/

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    Default Re: Building scope platform to try to avoid trees

    Ben, you are challenged indeed! I admire your determination to make use of what you can.

    Your signature mentions the R.I. Club. Do they maintain a dark sky facility close enough for you to get to on good nights? Also, I wonder if you have considered going to a mini-cam to offset your LP?

    Clear skies!

    Bob
    Mark Moyer likes this.
    6 inch F/5 GEM mounted reflector

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    Ben Cartwright SASS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building scope platform to try to avoid trees

    Bob,
    When I rejoined the R.I. club I imagined it was still the way it had been, you would get a key to the main gate and could go there anytime to do solar or night astronomy. It is a nice place to observe. But I was just notified that the keys are only given to the trustees and to the people who run the open house's on Saturday nights only. The open houses are from 9 to 11 pm on Saturday nights and the impression I got is unless you are a trustee, even if you help or run an open house, you can only be there 9-11 pm. The really puts a crimp in my observing, there are many Saturdays that are clouded out or you want to see something that isn't up until 2 am. The site is in a neighborhood so you can't just park on the street and sneak in, they tend to call the cops on cars on the street.
    There is a downside to setting up a scope at an open house, most people don't realize or respected that fact that you are not part of the open house and will walk up and start asking questions and "can I look?" It is not contusive to a quiet evening of observing or taking pictures. You are 30 minutes into an exposure and someone comes up and taps you on the shoulder or your scope and asks what you are doing or can they look...

    I will try it anyway (last night was clouded out). They don't even run a Persid's party, no one will be there. I am also ASSUMING they allow private scopes there as things seem to have changes in the last 15 years.
    ARMANDII and PhilipLangley like this.
    My home obs pad has Bortle 8 sky, Lunt LS80DS, LS50DS, Lunt Herschel Wedge, Quark Chromosphere
    Cameras: Canon 80D, ZWO ASI120MC ASI120MM-S ASI174MM ASI174MM-cool ASI178MC-cool
    Scopes: 1998 Celestron Nexstar 5, XLT120, XLT102AZ, SW ED100 APO, 102 Mak, SV 80 APO, LX200 12 Classic, Orion ST80, 120ST, 127 Mak,
    Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jmpadell/

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    Default Re: Building scope platform to try to avoid trees

    Ben, sorry to hear the situation is so restricted. Thanks for taking the trouble to explain the situation. Sounds like you need another solution. Any farms in the area? Sometimes, a polite request to a farmer to use the "back-forty" works wonderfully.

    I'm wishing you well in your quest,

    Bob
    6 inch F/5 GEM mounted reflector

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    Default Re: Building scope platform to try to avoid trees

    Bob
    That is what I am looking around for. I belong to a gun club south of here that has a field and will see if I can use it for observing. I am starting to look around. My big problem is physical, had a stroke and bad knees make carrying anything except a light grab and go a real struggle.
    BobDob and ARMANDII like this.
    My home obs pad has Bortle 8 sky, Lunt LS80DS, LS50DS, Lunt Herschel Wedge, Quark Chromosphere
    Cameras: Canon 80D, ZWO ASI120MC ASI120MM-S ASI174MM ASI174MM-cool ASI178MC-cool
    Scopes: 1998 Celestron Nexstar 5, XLT120, XLT102AZ, SW ED100 APO, 102 Mak, SV 80 APO, LX200 12 Classic, Orion ST80, 120ST, 127 Mak,
    Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jmpadell/

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    Default Re: Building scope platform to try to avoid trees

    Hope the gun club works out. Meantime, if you haven't already done so, you might discuss your situation with whomever might listen at the astro-club. Maybe a waiver for you?

    I know where you are with aging. I had to sell my beloved Dobs for the same reason. Now I make do with an iOptron Z mount and small refractors. All too soon, they will go...

    Clear skies!
    6 inch F/5 GEM mounted reflector

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    Default Re: Building scope platform to try to avoid trees

    Just got back from the range, we had a pistol comp at one of my clubs. Then I went by the other club in Foxboro the one with the big field and asked about observing and they said that there is no rule against it. The best skyline is to the east and almost south. Since it is a big shotgun field the are good sight lines. To the SW and W there are slightly taller trees and to the W to N in that direction is the Plainridge Casino and some shopping centers and then to the N is Gillette Stadium but the most important to my mind is E to S and that is good. I will check it out tonight after dark since it is cloud covered any nearby light pollution should show. Where I will observe is easy car access which is a big thing.

    Bob, When I had my stroke I had to learn to talk and walk all over again. I sold my C-8 and bought a NexStar 5 but even that was a challenge at that point and I gave up Astronomy for about 15 years. Now I am getting back into it, still have the NexStar 5 it has about 3 hours on it in 15 years and I have never Polar Aligned it so it is like a brand new scope. But it and my XLT 120 are, to me, heavy and I have to take them out in 3-4 trips to the backyard. The worst part is the steps, as with severe arthritis steps hurt.
    My little ST80 on an AZ mount, just a cheap Celestron one is becoming my most used scope. If I added a Vixen porta mount or a Twilight mouth they are 16-20 pounds and I would be in the same situation.

    I will be posting a observing report from the club at some point (if it ever clears up)
    BobDob, ARMANDII and Aces like this.
    My home obs pad has Bortle 8 sky, Lunt LS80DS, LS50DS, Lunt Herschel Wedge, Quark Chromosphere
    Cameras: Canon 80D, ZWO ASI120MC ASI120MM-S ASI174MM ASI174MM-cool ASI178MC-cool
    Scopes: 1998 Celestron Nexstar 5, XLT120, XLT102AZ, SW ED100 APO, 102 Mak, SV 80 APO, LX200 12 Classic, Orion ST80, 120ST, 127 Mak,
    Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jmpadell/

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    Default Re: Building scope platform to try to avoid trees

    I hope that you are able to get a good platform setup out back. Maybe even some sort of "enclosure" so you would be able to leave stuff setup.
    I hear you about multiple trips to set stuff up; my Meade ETX scopes have gotten more use than anything; first back surgery, and then a broken shoulder. The right arm is still very bad, now nearly 3 months after major repair.

    I hope you will find local sites accomodating.
    - Marc T.
    Meade LXD55 6" and 10" Schmidt-Newtonians, Meade Lightbridge 12" Celestron AVX and CGEM mounts, ES ED-102, Orion 6" F/9 RC with Orion ST-80 Guider, 10" Meade F/6.3 Wide-Field SCT, and a baby Celestron TravelScope 70. ZWO ASI120MC, ASI178MM (cooled Mono) , Canon T1i, Canon T3i, Stellarium, DeepSky Planner/Tracker, Astro Photography Tool (APT), DeepSky Stacker, Backyard EOS, and dozens of EPs. Oh I almost forgot the Celestron CPC-1100HD, and of course a new HyperStar for it.

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    Ben Cartwright SASS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building scope platform to try to avoid trees

    Marc
    Eventually I want a 4x6 plastic shed to hold the mounts and maybe even the scopes that would be on the edge of the patio so it is just drag them out.

    One thing that is interesting is the shower/outhouse enclosure at Bass Pro, with no floor you could cover the entire scope/mount with a rain proof cover.
    My home obs pad has Bortle 8 sky, Lunt LS80DS, LS50DS, Lunt Herschel Wedge, Quark Chromosphere
    Cameras: Canon 80D, ZWO ASI120MC ASI120MM-S ASI174MM ASI174MM-cool ASI178MC-cool
    Scopes: 1998 Celestron Nexstar 5, XLT120, XLT102AZ, SW ED100 APO, 102 Mak, SV 80 APO, LX200 12 Classic, Orion ST80, 120ST, 127 Mak,
    Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jmpadell/

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    Default Re: Building scope platform to try to avoid trees

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Cartwright SASS View Post
    I will check it out tonight after dark since it is cloud covered any nearby light pollution should show. Where I will observe is easy car access which is a big thing.

    I will be posting a observing report from the club at some point (if it ever clears up)
    Ben, how did it go?

    Bob
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