Gibraltar Amateur Astronomers Society

Looking Up Since 2010

Observatory Planing & Building Project

Area of Interactive
Where visitors can interact with different equipments to know more about 'The Rock's' animal life

Conference Room
Area where conferences and presentations can be held.
Cafeteria
Area where visitor can view the site and a place of reunion
Souvenir & Book Shop
Platform
External observation area for Bird Watching and Astronomical Observation
Photography Route
Route guild for photography group, taking them through different part of the Rock
Walking Route
Guild walking route for school trips and tourism
Building and Designing an Observatory

Interested in Building your own personal observatory?? The information provided here will give you some basic ideas on building your observing station.
Those of us with large, bulky telescopes often find it too difficult to lug that heavy observing monocular in and out of the house. After the telescope is finally outside, the much time is often spend getting it property set-up, balancing the scope and polar-aligned. Once the scope is finally set-up, its nearly impossible to enjoy the observation session due to thinking about the strenuous work needed to carry the telescope.

Planning the Location

If you have already purchased or builded your scope, then you will have a general idea as to how much room or what size observarty you will need to install the telescope and allow it plendy of free room for the wiring and cabling - if the scope requieres electricity, normally those having a 'Goto' mount and computer program. When planning to build the observatory, keep strength, durability, and if you live near an ocean, consider the sea water impact on the equipment and the structure. The location where the observatory will be built must be chosen carefully. Before pouring concrete in a random location, consider the following:
Trees - An observatory should be constructed away from trees; even young trees because they will grow. The observatory will (but not always) be a permanent structure and if trees will block your sky view within the next few years consider building it in another location.
Street and Security Lights - Lights commonly cause ghost images in your telescope and can ruin your dark adapted vision (the point in which your eyes adapt to the dark). If the neighbours use street or security lights, consider asking them if you can install a shut-off switch on their light so that it can be disconnected while you are observing. Another option is to build your observatory on the opposite side of your house or another structure to help block the light.
Busy Roads & Vehicle Lights - Imagine that you have decided to spend the usual several-thousand pounds purchase that new CCD imager and begin your work in astrophotography. Headlights from a single vehicle passing by can completely ruin the exposure that you have been working on the past three hours! So, consider road traffic as well. Flooding & Wetland - As with any structure, construct your observatory on land that is not typically wet. Electronics and water do not mix very well.

When constructing an observatory allow it to be resistant to weather, fire safe and secure against thieves.

The Project Report below is an idea based on my knowledge in astronomy, it's basically a feasibility study which include all the necessary components cost except the building structure

Things that you should avoid

As with any major building project, a personal observatory demands attention to a myriad of details, some obvious, some not. As one who has "been there," let me highlight a few potential problems that you might not see on your blueprints.

Location, location, location. Most amateur astronomers don't have a lot of choice about where they build their observatories. Remote observatory houses a larger telescope under a better sky, Home observatory are normally walking distance from the main house, so after dinner observing is just five minutes. If convenience is your prime motivation for building an observatory in the first place, it makes little sense to choose a location that takes an hour to reach by car.
Material matters. If you enjoy high-power views of the planets and double stars, beware of building your observatory with concrete blocks or bricks. These soak up heat all day and then proceed to radiate it away all night. The result is poor seeing at the telescope. Similarly, asphalt walkways and parking lots next to the observatory spell trouble. A wooden structure situated on a grassy lawn is probably the best combination for a home observatory.
Surprise costs. Observatory projects are similar to defense contracts in that they share a penchant for cost overruns. No matter how carefully you think you have worked out your budget, double or even triple it to arrive at a "realistic" estimate. There is a plethora of surprise costs associated with building an observatory: taxes, fencing, building permits, electrical supplies, and so on. It's better to overestimate and have money left over.
The twilight zone. It is wise to acquaint yourself with local zoning regulations sooner rather than later. In some municipalities or neighborhoods an observatory might not even be allowed! Be certain to obtain the appropriate building permits; otherwise you can look forward to an unpleasant encounter with local zoning authorities. In extreme situations, you may be fined and forced to dismantle your observatory.
More power to you. You can never have enough electrical outlets. In the planning stages, allow for as many outlets as possible for your telescope and other equipment. Don't forget to include a couple on the outside too. These are especially handy for the inevitable odd jobs and site upkeep. Be sure to ground your observatory. Make use of a high-quality surge protector, especially if your telescope setup includes a computer.
Getting protection. Sadly, in this day and age, it is important to protect your observatory from unwanted attention - particularly if it is located in an out-of-the-way spot. A good fence in conjunction with strong locks and a suitable insurance policy should afford some peace of mind. Vandalism and theft are always possible no matter what precautions you take, but it would be self-defeating to worry so much that the observatory remains forever unbuilt.
Vermin visitations. Animals love observatories but not for the same reasons you do. Wasps build nests inside; birds build them outside in the eaves. Rats and squirrels like to chew on wires and insulation while ants always seem to find whatever food you might have stashed away for a late-night snack. To avoid surprises it's a good idea to inspect your observatory regularly for new tenants, especially in dark recesses where rattlesnakes and scorpions like to take refuge. Some animals are worth having around, though. For example having a gopher snake around the observatory, keeps the rodent population under control.

 


 


 

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