Backyard Observatory Discussion

Posted by BC on January 31st, 2008

Brenda Culbertson with C-8

Backyard observatories are often built by the owners. My observatory was designed and built at home by my husband (engineer) and me (astronomer). It has a removable roof that pivots on legs and rests at a position below the top of the wall. The roof can be removed by hand, usually by two people, but one can manage it. The walls are made of aluminum siding, and the supports are aluminum fence pipe.

My 8″ Celestron SCT has been aligned and can now be left in place inside a secure environment. The only hazard is the wind, so the structure is securely anchored. The roof is locked down when not in use, and everything can be locked up when I am away. I have electricity pulled so that I can use electronics that are necessary for some of my research. And, it is not too far from my house, so on cold nights I can shut the observatory door and go inside the house to warm up.

I am interested in hearing about other home-designed and/or built observatories that have been either successes or busts.

2 people have commented

cosmicmark said,

Looks like a great observatory. Nothing like having a set up that is ready to go and handy near by! I think you have seen and been in my observatory. I miss it greatly!

Barry Armstead said,

Hello Brenda,

A couple of years ago, I bought a house in Canberra and finally had the opportunity to build my dream…..an observatory.

I took advantage of any and all recycled and donated materials I could lay hands on. I’m positive I had help from above as every time I asked for something, including very specific things, they turned up almost immediately! A year later, I had completed a 4 metre high observatory with a 3 metre round geodesic domed observatory.

It houses a C11 telescope permanently mounted on a 7 foot high concrete pier. The slot door rolls over the roof and the whole dome runs on a track and flanged wheels, driven by 9 metres of motorcycle chain, a bearing and sprocket with a crank handle.

IT was as much fun building it as it is using it!


Leave a Comment


Article Sections

Astronomy articles
Solar System Guide
Space Exploration
Cosmology articles
Book Reviews


Night Sky Guide
Buying a Telescope
Historical Eclipses
Meet Astronomers
The Constellations

Our Community

Read blog posts
Meet the Team