Results 1 to 5 of 5
Like Tree7Likes
  • 2 Post By Bigzmey
  • 3 Post By ozeclipse
  • 1 Post By Afterburner1
  • 1 Post By jaetea

Thread: Best placement of a personal observatory?

  1. #1
    AntennaGuy's Avatar
    AntennaGuy is offline Main Sequence
    Points: 935, Level: 17
    Level completed: 35%, Points required for next Level: 65
    Overall activity: 0%
    Achievements:
    2 Posts Achievement20 Posts Achievement!5 Threads Achievement!50 Posts Achievement!200+ Posts Achievement!
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Tyler, TX USA
    Posts
    116
    Points
    935
    Level
    17
    Thanks
    35
    Thanked 39x 15 Posts

    Default Best placement of a personal observatory?



    I am fortunate enough to own a modest amount of property (a few 10s of acres) around my home in east Texas, with a variety of wooded (pines, oaks, sweetgums, other) and also grassy open areas. I have been dreaming of someday, but not too soon, building a small personal observatory in the middle of one of the open areas. There are essentially four areas I could consider. All four are on gentle hillsides (unfortunately, not hilltops), with trees around most of their borders. Two of them border the nearby street, although there aren't significant street lights (for now). Only one of these locations would be fairly well-hidden/invisible from the street, and I have already begun referring to it casually (that is, to my wife) as "observatory hill." But my feeling is that it would be wisest to choose the area with the "most visible amount" (largest solid angle) of sky. However, this is not quite that simple. The four areas do not all tilt the same direction and they have different layouts of blockages (mostly by trees) depending on which direction you look. And with the changing seasons, the best things to observe in the sky effectively move all about (of course). For now, I am primarily interested in visual astronomy, including of the moon, planets and (for those bright-enough to see) deep space objects. Perhaps I will become interested in astrophotography later, but not now. In terms of light pollution, I think my area is (roughly) a Bortle 4 to 5 zone. The biggest source of light pollution is the city of Tyler, northwest of me. (My latitude is roughly 32 deg N.) Note that for a couple of the location options, I might not have an unobstructed view of Polaris. Now to my main question: If all other considerations (and there are many, of course) were equal in choosing a location, what sub-section of the sky (in terms of compass directions) would you prefer to be least-blocked, so that you could observe down to relatively-low (e.g., to less than 25-35 deg?) elevations? Equivalently, what directions would you (albeit reluctantly) be willing to accept as blocked from your observatory's view at the lower elevations? The option of removing/shortening a problematic tree or two is a possibility, but I have no intention/desire to cut down large swaths of woods, and some of those trees aren't on my property anyway. Besides, the trees are beautiful in their own way and I like them. Thank you very much for your thoughts/suggestions.
    * Celestron C6 on a Twilight 1 Alt-Az mount
    * Meade 323 refractor on a manual equatorial mount.

  2. #2
    Bigzmey's Avatar
    Bigzmey is offline HYPER GIANT
    Points: 40,461, Level: 100
    Level completed: 0%, Points required for next Level: 0
    Overall activity: 64.0%
    Achievements:
    2 Posts Achievement20 Posts Achievement!5 Threads Achievement!50 Posts Achievement!200+ Posts Achievement!
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    San Diego, California, USA
    Posts
    7,511
    Points
    40,461
    Level
    100
    Thanks
    1,788
    Thanked 3,165x 2,278 Posts

    Default Re: Best placement of a personal observatory?

    I have a similar situation at the dark site I observe (but not own ). There are mountains and trees to consider. Over the years I tried a few different spots and zoomed in on one which has the most of south open, but a large tree blocking north. This spots is good to hit ~80% of my targets. On occasion I move to a different position when I need north direction.

    Instead (or in addition) to the observatory you could start with one or more concrete pads. You can even built in piers for your mount(s), so you could just move the scope(s) from one location to another.
    burris and AntennaGuy like this.

    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.
    :
    Celestron: 8" SCT F10, Omni 150R
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.
    F5, Onyx 80ED F6.3, Mak 127mm F12; Meade: ST80 F5. Mounts: ES Twilight I, Bresser EXOS2, SW SkyTee2, AzGTi, UA MicroStar. Binos:
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.
    15x70, 10x50, Nikon 8x40. EPs: Pentax: XWs; TeleVue: Delites, Plossls & barlows; ES: 68s; Vixen: SLVs; Baader: BCOs, Aspherics, Mark IV; Meade: UWAs & Plossls. Diagonals: Baader: BBHS mirror, Zeiss Spec prism, Clicklock; TeleVue: Evebrite. Filters: Lumicon, Baader, Astronomik. DSO tally: 1357 (Completed:
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.
    , H1, H2
    . In progress: H3: 129, H2,500: 977, S110: 77). Doubles: 798, Comets: 11, Asteroids: 62

    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.

  3. #3
    ozeclipse's Avatar
    ozeclipse is offline SUPER GIANT
    Points: 9,353, Level: 67
    Level completed: 1%, Points required for next Level: 297
    Overall activity: 0%
    Achievements:
    First 1000 Experience Points365 Days+ Registered Achievement!750 Days+ Registered Achievement!1000 Days+ Registered Achievement!2 Posts Achievement
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Canberra, AUSTRALIA, 35 S, 149 E
    Posts
    615
    Points
    9,353
    Level
    67
    Thanks
    322
    Thanked 395x 226 Posts

    Default Re: Best placement of a personal observatory?

    Anything in the north sky will swing up and be visible high in the sky. Choose the location with the best southern horizon.

    At my site 35 deg S, I can see and get decent views of Andromeda albeit only at 13 deg altitude. So my observatory will be located to give me the best north horizon not south where everything ends up high if you wait for it. Next priority are low east and west horizons for sun hugging comets.

    Even if there are no street lights, cars will drive with high beams on. Stay away from the street if possible.

    Good luck with your build

    Joe
    Bigzmey, burris and AntennaGuy like this.
    40 years in amateur astronomy - 1978-2018
    Astronomical interests : astrophotography, visual observing, night-scapes, solar eclipse chasing, asteroidal occultations
    Bortle 1-2 skies, 149 E, 35 S
    web site : http://joe-cali.com/astronomy
    SCOPES - ATM 18" Dob, Vixen VC200L, ATM 6"f7, ED80
    CAMERAS : Pentax K1, K5, K01 / VIDEO CAMS : TacosBD, Lihmsec

  4. The Following User Says Thank You to ozeclipse For This Useful Post:

    AntennaGuy (03-27-2019)

  5. #4
    Afterburner1's Avatar
    Afterburner1 is offline White Dwarf
    Points: 274, Level: 5
    Level completed: 48%, Points required for next Level: 26
    Overall activity: 56.0%
    Achievements:
    2 Posts Achievement20 Posts Achievement!50 Posts Achievement!
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Shingle Springs, California
    Posts
    43
    Points
    274
    Level
    5
    Thanks
    8
    Thanked 5x 5 Posts

    Default Re: Best placement of a personal observatory?

    I have 6 acres here in Northern California and had my problem of dealing with what we call "Digger Pines" - They are pine trees that have an annoying tendency to get real tall and then break randomly and crush whatever is in the way, so I picked a spot least likely to have any kind of strike from one going down here in my Sierra Foothills property in Northern California. As far as your question goes, I like the North, East and South for my best work. The West is just horrible here with cities really lighting things up but might be good with filters for shooting with cameras... I'm classed as Bortle 4 here where I am at. Best of luck to you on your observatory.
    AntennaGuy likes this.

  6. #5
    jaetea's Avatar
    jaetea is offline Maven-like Entity
    Points: 158,079, Level: 100
    Level completed: 0%, Points required for next Level: 0
    Overall activity: 57.0%
    Achievements:
    365 Days+ Registered Achievement!750 Days+ Registered Achievement!2 Posts AchievementFirst 1000 Experience Points20 Posts Achievement!
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Honolulu, HI
    Posts
    7,894
    Points
    158,079
    Level
    100
    Thanks
    1,224
    Thanked 3,094x 2,408 Posts
    Blog Entries
    17

    Default Re: Best placement of a personal observatory?

    It's fun to dream of one day owning your very own observatory.

    As a northern hemisphere resident, remember that your northern sky is your "redundant" sky. Meaning that everything between Polaris and above your northern horizon is circumpolar which I've given the label "redundant". So choose a site that gives you the best southern exposure you can find.

    I hope your dream is realized sooner rather than later.

    Cheers,
    JT
    AntennaGuy likes this.
    Main: C-stron CPC1100 #2
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.
    :
    8" f/7.5 Dob mounted Newt AP
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.
    :
    TPO 6" RC f/9 &
    ES 80mm f/6 APO G&G Scope: Meade 102mm f/7.8
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.
    Guide Scopes: 70 & 80mm fracs Mounts: C-stron AVX CGEM & GT Alt-Az, Cameras: Canon T3i 2, ASI120MC Binos: 10X502,10.5X70,15X702, 25X100 EPs: ES: 21 100°, 30 82° X-Cels: 9,12,18,25 Clubs: RCA & HAS

    HOME »
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.

    I never met a scope I didn't want to keep.
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.
    "My God, it's full of stars."
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.

 

 

Similar Threads

  1. Personal Observatory for Canadian Climate
    By Hillrat in forum Canadian Astronomy Forum
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 01-01-2018, 12:53 AM
  2. Mount questions on plan for personal observatory
    By leshalfhill1919 in forum Telescope Mounts Forum
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 04-29-2016, 01:55 AM
  3. Building my personal observatory by the lake
    By Bob_Salazar in forum Home Observatory Forums
    Replies: 60
    Last Post: 03-17-2015, 09:14 PM
  4. What is the best format for a personal Observatory?
    By jimg@sonic.net in forum Home Observatory Forums
    Replies: 32
    Last Post: 02-01-2012, 04:00 PM
  5. Observatory placement - against all advice.
    By July 5th in forum Amateur Astronomy Forum
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 07-07-2006, 05:25 AM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.2.0
Powered by vBulletin®
All times are GMT. The time now is 11:52 AM.