Jagow's Astronomy Imagery

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 Rott'n Paws Observatory  




 Deep Sky  



In August of 2005 I suggested to my bride, Karen, that we needed an observatory in our backyard, thinking she was safe, she said that if I could get it approved by our homeowner's association then I could build it.  I don't think she really thought they would approve the request because our small suburban lot already has our house, one 8' X 8' shed and a rather enormous gym set for the grandkids.  And now I want to add another structure.  At first the homeowner's association balked and said no, but invited me to submit an architectural package,  I submitted the package and attended the next architectural review board.  I must have answered three dozen questions from those folks, however, in the end I managed to convince all but one.  In the end it didn't matter, the majority of the votes were willing to say yes.  After the vote and a nice big red APPROVED was stamped on my application I called Karen at work, she was surprised to say the least.

Ground breaking for the observatory

Picture an observatory here in the corner.

I enlisted some help.

It is a good thing grandsons like to play in the dirt.

He would dig some and fill the truck some.

Hey!  This is getting deeper!

Cameron kept digging and loading.

Boy is this deep!

You are going to get me out right?

12" X 48" Sonatube.

That is a deep hole...

No oil, too bad...

The Rottweiler's attempt to help dig.  The problem was that it was ten feet away from where the real hole was, and it barely as wide as shoe.

Five - eighty pound bags of cement poured and the pier bolted down.

Floor is done now.

Bronco and Ninya, my supervisors, supervising.

Three walls up as Ninya checks my work.

All four walls are now up.

Then came the gables and rafters.

Ninya get up!  The old dude will think its OK to lay down on the job!

Construction done, closed up.

Back side opened up.

Scope on pier with pedestal .

Pedestal open, nothing touching the pier but air!

A sharp eye might have caught that the pier under the pedestal is not the same pier as the one in the previous pictures.  The original pier that I ordered was 29" in length, this was determined after I had made careful measurements of wall height and scope height with all accessories.  Now with the telescope installed, I found that I could only see half of Polaris the North Star as the North wall was in the way.  I had not taken into account that the scope could be "parked" in any position I desired.  If I had taken this into account I could have made the pier about six or seven inches taller and then just be a little creative in how I parked the scope.  Now I was faced with figuring out a way to raise the scope a few inches.  That meant either lowering the wall or lengthening the pier somehow.  Lowering the wall was not an option so the pier must be lengthened.  I called several machine shops in the area and only one said they would give it a try.  I delivered my short pier to them on a Monday and they called me that Friday morning and said it was ready.  When I arrived I saw two piers, the original and a new one six and a half inches taller and un-painted.  They explained that they were afraid that if they cut the original pier and welded on an extension it might end up not being as stable and strong as the original.  And since they had promised to solve the issue that week for me, they made a new pier from scratch for me.  The kicker, they only charged me what they originally quoted, a foot of steel and an hour of labor.  I tried to make amends, but they would not accept any more.  That R & L Machine in Chesapeake is a stand up business!  Now I have a spare 29" pier...

Folding table for laptop 12" deep x 6' wide.

Looking down towards the East wall.

Looking down towards the West & North walls.

Boy are we glad it is done, supervising is hard work!

Scope is ready for dark skies!

You might be wondering about the observatory's name, Rott'n Paws Observatory.

During construction as soon as I would lay a piece of nice clean plywood down, the two "chowder-heads" Ninya and Bronco would walk all over it leaving dirty black paw prints everywhere. I cussed them and hollered at them and they would just stand there and stare at me like I was crazy.  It kind of became a game, sometimes they would help me "hold down" the plywood as I was nailing or driving screws.  Trying to get them to move was like pulling teeth, as soon as one would get off the other would sit or lay down.  I would guess that their "help" added more than a few hours.  They also have an affinity for chewing trim, not framing lumber but nice expensive trim. I burst laughing as Bronco tried to sneak off with a six foot long 1" X 4" piece of trim biting it about six inches from the end, his neck just could not hold it up at all.

Rott'n Paws are we.

More on the way...


This entire web site and contents is copyrighted (c) 2005

Imagine, a picture of our computer room

C.A. Jagow