Home Alone Astronomy

My father in law arranged for us to go and visit a man who had built an observatory at the top of his barn when we visited in August. We arrived in the evening and we were shown into his Barn. The barn is large, a typical American design: it was at least three stories. We were lead inside and climbed various stairs until we got to the steepest stair section which lead to the turret/ astronomy dome that had been put on top. The steep stairs opened into a room with a sofa, and reference books. A trapdoor (and another steep stair) lead us into the observation dome.

Our host is a keen astronomer who decided to build a home based astronomy view station from his old barn. Apart from astronomy he is also a keen model train collector. He explained how the dome is made from fiber glass, and opens to allow the telescope to point up. He has a Meade SCT 16 inch. The telescope was bolted to the floor. The space around the telescope is sufficient for one or two people. Any more, and movement would be tight. He had white and red light.

He explained that in the winters it can get pretty cold. Light pollution means that you don’t get to see everything, but at least warmth and home are not far away.

He also explained how the dome was assembled first and then a crane lifted it into place. He had an architect make sure that the structure that it rested on was properly reinforced.

Here are some photos I took of our host and Kevin.