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Practical Astronomy magazine cover image

Home Observatory DIY (1)

Here is the first article of a short series, to describe and show the build of my home observatory (diy).  It will all be built from basic materials from the local merchant (Wickes), so I think it’s very “practical astronomy”.

Grass and topsoil cleared around telescope pier


Firstly, the grass and 3 inches (75mm) of topsoil have been cleared and moved by wheelbarrow. Then used to fill soil gaps elsewhere.

And one ton (about 0.9 cubic metres) of ‘type 1′ roadstone hardcore, was collected to make the base.

You will see from the photo, that my low cost telescope pier is still there from last year and it’s working well. Let’s see what an observatory on top can add.

Fitting A Skywatcher EQ6 Mount To A Telescope Pier

EQ6 tripod top plate

EQ6 Tripod Top Plate (with stop post for fine adjustment in place)

Over the last week, I have made a telescope pier for well under £100, as I described in this article.

The next step was to fit my telescope mount to the pier.  The mount is an equatorial type, the Skywatcher EQ6.

The pier and mount together will be the basis of my home observatory.

Now, there are a number of commercially made pier adapters, designed specifically to join an EQ6 mount to the top of a telescope pier.  And I’m sure they are good items, but they typically cost around £75 each.

I have come up with a much less expensive option. It’s quite crafty, I think..  Here it is described below.

read on..

DIY Low Cost Telescope Pier


[See bottom of page for February 2015 update]

Like most amateur astronomers I have met, I have always wanted a permanent telescope pier in the garden at home.

Until now, it has just been a dream.  I have always been put off by the following:

a) the cost (commercially available telescope piers cost typically £500 to buy, before any installation)

b) the necessary installation work, which normally involves a lot of digging, followed by casting a large concrete block in the ground.  Plus, the concrete base usually needs very accurately aligned and positioned mounting studs for the pier to bolt onto.

Of course, the benefits of a permanent telescope pier are easy to appreciate – much reduced set-up time for your telescope, leading to more frequent use, plus more accurate polar alignment.

So I have been trying to come up with a design for an easy to build yourself, low cost telescope pier.  And over the last couple of days, I have made one.

read on..