Spring Creek Observatory
Spring Creek Observatory has been built with a mission of deep space imaging from semi rural skies and Astronomy outreach in association with Spring Creek Academy. The observatory is an all metal building 12X12 with a roll off roof. There are two peirs inside each isolated from the concrete pad with footers down to the caliche sedimentary rock. You might notice the floor is about 2 inches higher than the pier in this picture. Our soil here is called black gumbo which expands with moisture and shrinks in the dead of summer. Obviously the floor was poured in late August and demonstrates why separate concrete pier is required. The piers are 10 inch steel pipes that were welded, sand blasted and powder coated locally as well.
Each pier is equipped with a 15 amp 12 volt power supply, windows 7 mini computer, Mount Hub pro (4 port USB, 4 port switched 12vdc, Focuser and Dew heater control. The windows computer is running SkyX, SGPro and PHD2 remotely accessed by Teamviewer. As shown here.
The first pier has a Skywatcher EQ8 mount and TMB130SS scope and a QHY12 camera. The second pier has a Rainbow Astro RST400 mount, Celestron C11 Edge and a QHY163 mono camera.
The design objective for the Spring Creek Observatory was to use a metal building to withstand the harsh Texas summers and make the roof lighter. The building took one day to assemble by a local crew. The design calls for using off the shelf hardware and materials that could be purchased anywhere and assembled by local crews. The roof is opened with a standard gate opener using a chain that loops through pullys on each end of the roof. The gate opener has built in battery back and wireless control and is easily controlled using a home automation system. Everything is remotely accessable.