The purpose of this project was to find a way to simplify setup of my telescope, without building a full-size observatory. I have a very small backyard and patio so there is no space for a building or shed large enough to accommodate all of my gear. I browsed the web looking for ideas and came up with a design similar to the Motel-O-Scope. I borrowed some of the construction ideas from this design but modified it by using a wood deck.
Also I have a permanent pier that I installed for my LX200, which I sold a few years ago in favor of an LXD75 equatorial mount. I built the deck to match the mounting holes for the aluminum plate I had cut for the LX200 wedge.
The idea behind this enclosure is not to keep the scope outside but just the mount. This greatly reduces the setup time – all I have to do is remove the cover and attach whichever scope I want to use.
Shown here is the cover under construction. I used aluminum tubing for the frame and 3/4″ foam insulation board that was glued to the frame using gorilla glue. The enclosure is covered with several layers of aircraft grade fabric that is glued in place using contact cement, similar to the Motel-O-Scope design.
Here is the completed enclosure. I later painted it to match the fence. It blends in so well you hardly notice it. After I started the design I redesigned my patio and decided to add another pier at the southwest corner. I found this location to be even better than the old pier on the southeast corner of my lot, so I made a few changes to the deck to fit the new pier. But I could easily move it back to the old pier if needed. After this photo was taken I added handles to the cover.
This is my Celestron Onyx refractor. I bought a used tripod head that matches the LXD75 mount and made a wood “tripod” for it. The mount is very stable and solid.
I also have an Astro-Tech 6″ RC. I like having the mount aligned and ready to go – all I have to do is remove the cover, attach whichever scope I plan to use for the evening. I added remote wireless temperature and humidity sensors inside the enclosure that connect to my home weather station. I’ve found that since the enclosure is completely weather sealed, the humidity does not vary by more than 10% and some bags of desiccant in the enclosure help to prevent any moisture buildup. No other temperature control or venting is required.
Copyright (c) 2013-2014, Mark Dahmke.