Making your own observatory


Setting-Up a Small Observatory: From Concept to Construction (Patrick Moore’s Practical Astronomy Series) This is the book to tell the intermediate-level amateur astronomer what he needs to know about observatories. It draws on the authors practical experience and that of many other experienced amateur astronomers. It is an ideal complement to Patrick Moores More Small Astronomical Observatories which is a compendium of ideas for different observatory designs. Setting-up a Small Observatory covers the details of design, siting and construction once a basic type has been decided upon. It is written in a way that is equally applicable to the USA and UK (where there are slightly different building regulations) and deals with matters that are basic to building and commissioning any amateur observatory. Uniquely, David Arditti also considers the aesthetics of amateur observatories fitting them in with family and neighbors, and maybe disguising them as more common garden buildings if necessary. Every amateur astronomer who wants a purpose-built observatory (and that is most of them!) will find this book absolutely invaluable both during the planning and the construction stages.

My Heavens!: The Adventures of a Lonely Stargazer Building an Over-the-Top Observatory (Patrick Moore’s Practical Astronomy Series) My Heavens! charts the progress of the authors own substantial observatory (with additional material from amateur constructors of large observatories elsewhere) from conception, through design, planning and construction, to using an observatory of the kind that all amateur astronomers would aspire to own. This book tells the warts and all story of small beginnings in amateur astronomy, leading to the construction of a top of the range observatory at a house on the edge of a country village between Oxford and London. The author is a qualified building surveyor, and looks at building the observatory from his own professional perspective. There were of course many errors, problems, technical and organizational difficulties along the way, and the author never shies away from admitting his mistakes  and in doing so he reduces the chances of others falling into the same traps. Comparisons are made with similar large projects in the USA, taking a look at the differences and similarities in planning and building regulations, and in construction methods on both sides of the Atlantic. Eventually an observatory materialized, set up to facilitate the taking of very high quality images of the deep sky on those special days of best seeing. The story doesnt end with the construction of the observatory, but goes on to describe the authors choice of equipment, setting it up, and his own techniques for obtaining superb astronomical images like the ones he shows in his book.

Where to buy Observatory Domes

  • – 6′, 10′ and 15′ Domes
  • Ash Dome – Steel hemisphere domes with an up and over style shutter
  • Sky Shed – Roll off Roof Observatories – They offer plans and completed structures
  • Sirius Observatories – Australian manufacturer of Fiberglass domes
  • Astro Haven – Unique clamshell style observatories
  • Alexanders Observatories – Roll off Roof observatories in England and Europe
  • Pier-Tech – A variety of Domes and Telescope Piers – Roll offs, mobile observatories and domes