How To...

Mod­ify a run-off shed for a scope pil­lar.

Sky at Night Magazine - - CONTENTS - With Robert Lu­cas

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

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