An Astronomical Observatory For Your Front Yard

[Barry Armstead] is an astronomy enthusiast who built his own observatory in his front yard, in Canberra, Australia. It was a fine observatory as home-made observatories go, but he describes it as being small and cramped. His replacement was on an entirely different scale though, a building created by hand and which no doubt many readers would be pleased to own.

asign2modelanimationHis design started with a cardboard model, and has a downstairs room upon which sits a rotatable dome with two sliding sections to form the observation window. The original observatory’s concrete pillar on which the telescope mount stood remained post-demolition, and a larger concrete pad was laid. There followed the assembly of a steel frame with a skeletal dome able to rotate on rollers, followed by cladding with steel sheet. The dome cladding was done in segments marked against the dome steelwork and cut to shape.

The final building has a fully finished interior downstairs, plus a rustic staircase to the upper deck. The concrete post has been extended, and now carry’s [Barry]’s telescope which he controls not with his eye clued to an eyepiece like the astronomers of old, but from a computer at the adjacent desk. The full construction details are on the observatory’s web site, though since it seems in danger of disappearing due to an expired hosting account we’ll also give you a Wayback Machine link direct to the relevant page. Meanwhile he offers a tour in a video we’ve placed below the break. Even a non-astronomer would find this an asset in their garden!

This is the most impressive observatory we’ve seen on Hackaday, but we’ve no shortage of astronomers. We’ve had more than one star tracking mount, for example, this star finding computer-aided viewfinder, and of course, a star finder using a laser.

11 thoughts on “An Astronomical Observatory For Your Front Yard

  1. I’m not sure which I’m more impressed by, the scale working model or the real thing.
    Simply a beautiful interior.The amount of good fortune he fell into is simply astonishing. I love the scale of this where his ‘guide scope’ is one many people would be proud to have as their primary.

  2. Well this is a surprise. Lovely write up thank you. I’ve never heard of a machine link either. Yeah the domain registration and web hosting just became too much of a hit in the back pocket. I would dearly love to have left the site intact. It had a big following and got a lot of hits.

  3. My grandad had something similar (a bit smaller, I think) in his back garden until recently; can’t remember when he built it, but I know he got some pretty impressive photos out of it. apparently the light pollution’s been getting too much lately, though, and it started to rot, so he ripped up the (~1ft thick) concrete foundation with a crowbar and demolished it (in that order; he wanted to keep the outside up so he could stay dry while working), then complained that his back was aching; He’s in his 80’s.
    Cool build, anyhow.

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