The Stargate Astro Shack was conceived and construction started in Feburary '03. The original 12'x14' building was a lumber storage shed. The initial modifications were completed in April '03, thou "tweaking" continues even now. The building now has 3 rooms, each at different levels, with the goal being total remote control for imaging.
The control room (6'x12') is outfitted with work tables, shelves, white lights, red lights, red foot lights and task lights, baseboard electric heat, ac unit, telephone and internet hookup, cable tv, intercom, stereo, 220vac,110vac and 12vdc, tv/monitor, desktop computers and the laptop networked with the desktop in the house.
The equipment room (4'x8') has the same lighting system and houses the telescope accessories and is 15"s (2 steps) above the control room.
The telescope room (8'x8') is 30"s (4 steps) above the level of the control room, has the same lighting system, 110vac, 12vdc, computer monitor, keyboard, mouse, webcam, USB terminal boxs. The desk top computer can be operated from the control room or the telescope room at the same time. There is a remote controlled video camera to monitor the mount on the tv in the control room when the slew/camera location is questionable.
All rooms are insulated, sheetrocked, painted flat black and carpeted. The pier is 15" diameter, 840 lbs of concrete and rebar, anchored to the 7 1/2" thick concrete floor below and on top of the concrete is a 16" tall adjustable steel pier with a 12" extension that the Losmandy G11 mount head sits on. The roll off roof (8'x8'), weights 180 lbs. and is held shut by turnbuckles when storms approach. It is constructed of solid wood and plywood and covered in galavanized steel roofing material and a 1/2" thick layer of reflective insulation inside. The roof rolls on four, 7" lawnmower wheels with ball bearing centers in a pair of fabricated steel tracks. There is a thermostat controlled exhaust fan to move air thru the telescope room when the roof is closed.The whole Astro Shack system can be controlled with TheSky6 and CCDSoft ver5.
The Astro Shack main scopes are currently a William Optics (WO) 110mm Megrez refractor, a 8" Astro Tech (AT8RC) (sold July 5, 2011) and the newest addition (spring 2011), a 10" LX200ACF OTA togather with a pair of WO 66mm refractors serving primarily as the guide scopes. These take turns setting on the pier that holds a Losmandy G11 head. The whole rig is guided thru either of the two 66mm scopes. The main camera is a QSI 583ws. In the spring of 2017 I acquired a (new to me) SBIG ST-10XME camera and CFW-9 filter wheel fitted out with a new set of Astrodon LRGBHa filters. Spring of 2019, I acquired a CFW-10A filter wheel to replace the 5 position CFW-9. The CFW-10A holds 10 filters. The ST-10XME is identical to the ST-8XME I used to have with a bigger chip, but what I was after was the >85% QE. The autoguider setup is a DSI Pro/PHD 2 software. The same imager/guider rigs are removed from the pier and used on the tripod when in the field. In October 2010 I acquired a second complete Losmandy G11w/Gemini to use in the field so I don't have to disassemble the OB setup in order to go mobile. The 10" LX 200 ACF uses a Moonlite motorized focus controlled by the Rigel Systems Hand controller. The WO110mm refractor was just fitted out with a Moon Lite motorized focuser (summer 2011).The WalterLee heliFocus motor is now installed on the QSI/35mm lens wide field rig and will use the same Rigel Systems nFocus hand controller with belt drive to the lens. So far I really like what I see from the Moonlite focusers. Fall 2011...just ordered another Moon Lite to work on the WO66mm refractors. OK...just bought a new AT8RC (Jan, 2018)...I decided I liked that set up I sold in 2011 and bought another one. It will more or less take the place of the 10" Meade SCT in the field.
The "mobile" Astro Shack has evolved over time to make field imaging easier and is now setup to enable all acquisition, focusing and imaging operations to be controlled from inside the trailer.
The aerial pixs below are taken using my latest toy...a hover craft...(quad chopper)
Here's the entrance to the "shack", also shown is the resident "amateur" and my "most understanding" wife, Phyllis, who for 50+ years now, has allowed me to explore an untold number of adventure trails.
This roof was installed in '06...the first was built from materials that didn't stand up to the weather too well and lasted only about 3 years...Since replaced again in summer of 2013 with same style but roofing material is now galvanized steel and all wood is wrapped in aluminum coil stock.
Installed vinyl siding to the building, new roofing on the roof and aluminum to all trim and sides of the raised roof. This was done in summer of 2020.
This is 800+ pounds of concrete that originally supported the 10"LX200GPS stub mast. Only about half is visible here. The other 1/2+ is below the wooden floor which is 30" above the ground level.