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Building a Backyard Observatory

If you are a seasonal astronomer and have ample space in your backyard, then why not build a backyard observatory. There are several advantages associated with building an observatory in your backyard or garden. It will exponentially increase the period of star gazing. The time required for setting the telescope and other essential pieces of equipment will be reduced to a minimum, and you will not have to reset the azimuth and polar of the telescope again and again.

It is not very difficult to construct a Backyard observatory if proper instructions and precautions are followed. There are lots of options in making backyard observatories. It is possible to buy ready-made kit of the complete infrastructure required, or it can be done by the person itself. There are lots of documents and books available that provides guidelines for construction of the observatories. The minimum area required, the location, the types of roofs, the construction material required, the type of telescopes, the precautions are all dealt with in “do it yourself” books or documents. The first main step to make a backyard observatory is the location. It is the most vital decision that needs to be taken.

The perfect location must definitely be in an area where the clear night sky will be clearly visible. The sky conditions vary from slightly polluted suburban localities to clear small rural areas. The area should not be wooded which would obstruct the view of the telescope. The skies should be clearly visible, without being polluted by city lights or even building lights; the clarity of observation will not be good, if there are diffused lights while viewing through the telescope.

With the help of a backyard observatory dome, you can set your telescope with just a few clicks. The computer systems, as well as the various equipment, can be synchronized to perform the task with ease. Adaption to the temperature also takes place instantaneously. Even during the adverse climatic conditions, you can observe without the fear of thunderstorms or rain as you and your telescope will be secure within the closed dome.

One of the biggest advantages of building a backyard observatory is that your favorite telescope will not be affected by the wind and thus provide accurate tracking and precise astronomy pictures. Furthermore, the telescope and other expensive equipments will be protected from unwanted and disturbing outdoor lighting. Thus, you can observe with ease and without any distractions.

Planning is very important when building an observatory dome in your backyard. You should properly understand and install the various equipments required for observing. These equipments include telescope, CCD camera, computer, and observatory. Next, you must decide on the exact area where the observatory will be located. If there’s a space limitation, you may consider buying a roll-off roof type instead of a dome. A roll-off roof helps in blocking the direct light coming from windows and other light emitting appliances.

The sky glow caused by nitrogen and oxygen in the upper atmosphere prevents the eye from becoming completely dark adapted. You can block this sky glow with the help of a dome to enable your eyes to become quickly acclimatized to the dark. The enhanced dark- adaption will enable you to enjoy the unfathomable sky views with the help of a telescope. Some important things to be considered include reliability, durability, and the ability of the dome to endure the adverse weather conditions.

After you have chosen the format and the materials for building the observatory, the next important factor that you must consider is the design of the structure. The height of the telescope’s pier determines the height of the entrance to the observatory as well as the inside walls. If you want the structure to look aesthetically beautiful, you should pay attention to these details.

The weather conditions in your area will determine whether or not the observatory will need insulation. The insulation provided by the manufacturer can be utilized to keep the dome cool or warm. A large sized dome will require more amount of insulation than the small sized ones. Finally, when building a backyard observatory dome, you should also consider plans for any future expansions.

So, what are you waiting for? Build your backyard observatory to fulfill your passion for astronomy.

Photo are from multiple artists on Unsplash

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