Modify a run-off shed for a scope pillar.
Having a run-off shed enclosing your back garden telescope pillar is probably the next best thing to building a dome observatory, though it is very much cheaper. This entire design should cost you around £300. It is also quick to set up, as rapid as opening and positioning the shutter of a dome. The shed is entirely weather proof and offers some degree of security for your kit, so you can leave your scope permanently attached to the pillar.
You don’t have to build the shed from scratch: this project is to modify a commercially bought plastic one. The shed used here is 1.98m high, has a width of 1.51m and is 0.83m deep, though it could also have been made deeper by adding an optional middle segment. The modification is straightforward – simply cut out a section of the shed floor so that it can enclose the pillar when the doors are shut. We’re going to mount the shed on a sack barrow, bolted to the structure’s rear. This allows you to lift the shed and wheel it away from the pillar when you want to use your telescope.
Take account of your kit
We’ve used a shed of this size to house a 300cm Schmidt-Cassegrain on a custom equatorial mount. If your scope is larger, you probably should consider a deeper shed, or one that can be extended by adding optional middle panels. If you have yet to install a pillar in your garden, you should think carefully about what height this is going to be. You need to take into account that there will be a pillar, an adjustable mounting plate, a mount that is almost certainly going to be equatorial, then the telescope and possibly a dew shield. The last of these can usually be taken off, of course, if space becomes an issue.
You may wonder why the shed is mounted on a sack barrow rather than wheels. It’s true that wheels work perfectly well, but the gap at the bottom that is necessary to
When you want to use your scope, simply open the shed doors and wheel it out of the way
With the doors closed the shed keeps your gear secure and protects it from the elements