I am happy with my observatory!
Location: N 51.363 / E 5.4622
Here you can find out your own Latitude and Longitude

Please allow time for the animation to load.
I investigated this animation and found the name of the author: Phillip Shrock.

Because of the weight of my TAL-2M (my FIRST !!!) telescope and the delicateness of the fine tuning of the mirrors I decided to build a backyard observatory.
The size is 2,40 x 2,40 meters - which was more or less determined by the size of the available impregnated planks of 4,80 meters.
The observatory is made out of wood, which I bought in the local garden shop; the floor is paved with wooden tiles against cold feet in winter!
The roof is supported by 8 wheels; opening/closing is done by a set of ropes and tackles.

Of course there is NO HEATING INSIDE: the turbulence created by the heating would utterly destroy my images! But as you can see on one of the images: I took my precautions against the wintery conditions!
No, I do not get wet when it rains: I am not in the observatory then: no stars to be seen!
Most of the pictures on this page can also be viewed as an

Here are some pictures of the first version of my observatory (Spring 2001)

Backyard Observatory observatory with closed roof Step inside! Roof partly opened Roof in rolled-off position Here I park the roof
Laptop on home-made swivel Telescope with camera Top view Mount and observation chair Goodies box Stable feet
observatory with visitor The sky as seen from my observatory on January 17, 2003 20:22 UT Observatory in the snow ... Prepared for the winter ! Warm feet! The view from my observatory is limited by buildings and trees ...

UPgrading my observatory (February 2006)
In November 2005 my LX200 telescope arrived, and as it stands taller than my TAL-2M I had to come up with a solution so that it would still be possible to open/close the roof.
I first lowered the tripod by digging it in and that worked, but my back started complaining as I had to bend uncomfortably low to be able to peer through the finder, and looking through the eyepiece (without diagonal as I am an imager) was even worse.
Also the Alt/Az mount was hampering my posibilities to do deep-sky imaging.
A very good friend of mine offered to make a wedge (from 15mm thick steel !!) and pier for me and I decided to raise the roof of my observatory so that I could observe and image comfortably.

The following pictures show how the roof was raised.


Here is the result: 63 centimetres make a lot of difference!
I also replaced some old planks with new ones, so not all new wood implies that it was used for height extension.
Effective height is now 200 centimetres, which is more than enough for my LX200 10-inch f/10 when mounted on my wedge and a one metre high pier, even with a guide scope mounted on top.

I started off by making heavy wooden frames: I bought the impregnated wood from a garden centre.

After having completed the wooden frames I put them close to their destinations.

Astro-friends and QCUIAG-members Matthias Meijer and Rob Kantelberg came over to help with the construction: without their help it would have taken me far more than one week to do all the work on my own.
And now all was completed in one day: thank you guys !!!!

First we built the new parking place for the roof: Matthias is wielding an electric screw-driver and Rob is assisting.
I made sure that now and then also some photos were taken.

It looks like Matthias and Rob do not want to become known as observatory builders ..

The parking place for the roof is ready: time to do some roof lifting!

It was a bit scary - and also this was the part that worried me most - but we managed to get the roof on its new lofty parking place.
No, there are no photos of the actual roof lifting: even I had to work then ..
You can see that on the sides of the parking place we screwed planks so that the roof would not derail.
Matthias and Rob are looking with well deserved pride: we DID it!

Now the observatory itself gets a raise.

Boy, this is getting tall ...

The job done, only some minor tasks to be done, such as a new full height door.


With the new roof height of 200cm it had become hard to open/close the roof: the roof itself was within reach of my hands, but actually moving the roof was tough.
Thinking about a solution I vaguely remembered something I had learned at the Navy school - many years ago - about blocks and tackles.
I browsed the web and found "How Stuff works".
Here is a page with a block and tackle simulation to experiment.
I quickly decided that a 2 pulley configuration would be just fine for me and I went to the DIY store for 4 pulleys [2 to open and 2 to close the roof] and some rope.
Opening and closing the roof is peanuts now .. but one day I might even start looking for a motorized version.

Finally I could get rid of the old dwarf-sized door: the height of the door has been increased from 117cm to 170cm, which is much more comfortable!

The time has come to start digging a one metre deep hole: this 2 metre high pier will be dug in and then concrete will be poured.
The pier was built by a very good friend of mine and made from 5mm thick steel and professionally powder-coated.

This is my new wedge built by a very good friend of mine.
It is made from 15mm thick steel and professionally powder-coated; weight 27 kilograms.
At the back-side of the tilted plate is a threaded rod for fine latitude adjustment.

February 17, 2006.
Tomorrow is the big day: the pier-and-wedge combo will be installed in my observatory.
The 2 metre high pier will be dug in for one metre and a lot of concrete will be poured.

February 18, 2006: the actual installation of my pier and wedge in my observatory.
I had contracted my gardener to do the digging (1 metre deep) and to mix/pour the concrete.

The still empty observatory This rope goes due South Opening up for sand The digging has started !
Digging deeper We need a firm floorbed Making sure the floor is level A concrete tile as base
The pier in the pit The wedge has been mounted Securing the aligned pier and wedge The aligned pier and wedge secured
The cement Sand and gravel Here the mixing of the cement, sand, gravel and water takes place The first concrete has been deposited
More concrete has been added Ready !!! Now I only need to wait till the concrete has cured Finally: my LX200 on my wedge and pier!
LX200 with piggy-backed Lidl scope LX200 with piggy-backed Lidl scope LX200 with piggy-backed Lidl scope Me and my scope
Observatory painted Observatory in over 20cm snow


A big step forward:
December 6, 2009: Observatory WLAN Remote Controlled Imaging


Based my design Belgian astrofriend Oscar Wijthoff built his 'Astrohut' (as he calls it himself).
Oscar was so kind to notify me that he had 'borrowed' my approach and mailed me the following photos:

foundation Roof closed Roof opened Inside