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Saturday, 28 April 2007

The old Cosmicshed Observatory

Now gone to pastures new, but still fondly remembered.

Here is the roll-back observatory that gives this site its name. I has now been replaced by a new dome observatory.

I first built the decking from leftover materials from the obligatory garden deck. This gives a reasonably steady platform for the shed to roll on and gives some isolation from the concrete hard-standing.

The shed is to a standard tongue and grooved board over timber frame design. I included a layer of plywood between the frame and boards for additional rigidity and weather protection. The external grade chipboard roof is covered by roofing felt. The door is made from T&G floorboards. As the shed has no floor, I included corner bracing at the base.

The shed rolls back on four three inch fixed casters from a local DIY store. They run fairly true without the need for grooves, which I thought could be a trip hazard.

The shed is remarkably sturdy. I had planned to provide some way to secure it to the deck when not in use, but it has stood up to strong winds this Autumn.

With the shed rolled back there is room for a PC etc between it and the pier. My observing chair fits snuggly in the shed giving me a little protection from the elements.

Originally designed for a fork mounted LX200, it eventually housed an Aim Controls EQ2 German Mount - It just fitted, though not with any equipment in place.

I had some problems with rainwater running under the shed from behind. I sorted this by giving the deck a slight front to back tilt. I added the shelf into the floor of the shed to store the 12V power supply and dew shield. Out of shot is a thermostatic frost heater (B&Q 500W) which runs at its lowest setting throughout the winter.

With the shed rolled forwards the scope is well protected and the overall impression is not too intrusive. It certainly doesn't look much like an observatory.

I added a hook to hold the door back when the shed is being rolled back. There are also a couple of galvanized handles at the rear of the shed to make pulling it back easier.

I used some spare roofing felt to act as draught excluder at each side of the door and at the sides of the shed. In use the shed keeps doesn't hold the damp, even though I do get a little dew and rainwater running along the groves in the decking boards. I this becomes a problem I will probably jack up the South end of the deck to make the water run away from the shed.

Power is supplied to the shed from the RCD protected socket you can see on the wall of the garage.

The hasp and padlock provide basic security and also help improve the structure's rigidity.

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