PFO Observatory Construction

This is the PFO Observatory at it's completion.  As you scroll down the page you will see the construction of the Observatory from the ground up.  Starting out with a hole in the ground and completing with a roll off roof.

First a hole was dug 5' deep to get past the frost line.  Rebar and concrete were added to fill out the hole.  4pc of 3' long 3/4" threaded rod were added to bolt the pier to, and a template was added to line up the holes to the pier.

A layer of 1/4" gravel was spread out over a 15' X 9' area to make a base for the floor to sit on.  This was allowed to settle over the winter and another layer was added to make the base. 

The floor was built out of 2" X 6"  with 16" centers to a size of 8' X 12' and covered with 3pc of 4' X 8' 3/4" plywood.  A whole was cut off center for the Pier to allow for a future 4' X 8' warm room if needed.

The Pier was custom built to my specs by a local company.  52" high with 12" X 12" plates for the base and top.  6" X 6" 3/16 wall tube for the pier and 3/4" stainless steel threaded rod and nuts for the hardware.

















The floor and pier were installed and leveled to get ready for the walls.  Walls were installed usin 2" X 4" studs and a triple sill was put on top to accomodate the roll off roof.  The top sill was built from 2" X 6" studs.

All four walls were put up and a window installed.

The back wall of the observatory faces North so the trees don't get in the way of the viewing to the East, South of West. 

The Observatory was now ready for the outer walls and the roof supports to be put in place.  The roof was designed to roll off to the East so that any object rising would eventually end up in the telescopes field of view.

Once the supports were in place, it was time to put the rool off roof parts in place.  After many nights thinking in bed,  I decided to use "V" casters and angle iron to make the roof roll.  This keeps the roof from shifting side to side, and also allows rain and snow to fall off.

The casters were bolted to 2" X 6"  X 12' long studs, and were placed on 1 1/2" angle iron to see if it would work.  It did!!!

Next the roof was framed and the first attempt at rolling it off was made.  Worked perfect to my great relief.

Roof on and off.  Perfection and relief!!!

Roof was covered and trim added.  A 12" overhang was designed into the roof to help keep out the rain and snow as well.  Again the roof was rolled off to see how hard it would be to move.

Shingles and siding were put on to finish off the look, and the roof supports were beefed up and stops were added to keep the roof from rollong off the end. 

A 6' X 12' deck was added to the observatory for looks and to have a place for a guest to setup if they come over for an evening of observing.  The door was finished and put in place to finish off the project.

Now completed on the outside, the roof was rooled on and off to check for ease of movement.

Time for some equipment! 

Interior will be finished off after the winter and power will be hooked up to supply the toys. 



Spring 2011, deck rail and staining complete, new door put on.

Below are a few of pictures taken from the Observatory of the milky way using an Olympus E-420 DSLR on top of my Celestron C102HD.




Actually, not bad for First Night Out!

More to come as the finishing touches are added!!!

See my Astropics page for pictures  taken from the PFO Observatory and other places!