GSO: a remote observatory for a downtown back-yard

When I decided to build a downtown backyard observatory, I knew I had to compromise with my wife's garden; no big domes here! Fair enough: I had no intention of being in the obervatory other than for start-up and servicing ... and I intended to operate remotely from the house. I also needed something not too expensive, but totally weather proof that would stand up to the climatic rigour of Ottawa, Canada (snow, ice, freezing rain, rain, winds etc). The solution was a single gable Royal garden shed (hence GSO) with a 7' x 4' footprint. It's constructed of double-walled vinyl panels that slide along double tongue-and-groove for assembly. Since this also applies to the roof (4 panels), it was easy to obtain a waterproof opening for observing with a minimum amount of modifications. All for less than $500 Canadian and weekend's single-handed work! GSO houses a modified, polar-aligned 10" LX200 GPS SCT - now with an Optec TCF-Si motor focuser - mounted via a Meade SuperWedge on a tripod. The tripod itself stands on 4x4" blocks in fence-post footings thru holes in the floor - hence the scope is uncoupled from any observatory vibration. Digitally enhanced observing and imaging are done with MallinCam Xtreme X2, MallinCam SSIm or SBIG ST8-XME cameras, depending on my mood - all of which can be remotely controlled after initial set-up (5 minutes). My warm room is the house !

Late night shut-down and close-up takes all of 2 minutes!

Page last updated November 19th, 2012


  The Warm Room (aka the house)

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