Construction of Land of Oz Observatory

After the concrete pier base was cured, a steel pier and wedge for the C-11 was installed, leveled, and polar-aligned.
Visual observing was done using this set-up while the observatory plans were being refined and a building
contractor hired.  Actual construction of the observatory building started on January 25th, 2003.

The basic structure is a 12' X 20' frame building with a 4/12 truss roof covered with 16 gage metal panels. The
floorplan called for a 12' X 12' Observing Room and a 12' X 8' Control Room (or "warm room"). Due to the actual wall
thickness, the interior dimensions are around 11' 4" X 19' 4".  The structure is anchored with 1/2" bolts cast into the
twelve 12" concrete piers. This style of construction was chosen to promote thermal equilibrium.The following
pictures show various stages of construction:  
Click on Thumbnails to enlarge for viewing.
Steel track for the roll-off roof, using
1.5" X 1.5" angle iron welded to 1/4"
steel plate. Note the narrow, angled
end-stop, which allows the smallest
opening possible in the roof end
panels. Galvanized after assembly.
2/7/03: The walls are up! The frame
structure is anchored to 12 concrete
piers. The raised floor prevents vermin
habitation, and, along with the frame
floor, promotes thermal equilibrium.
8/3/02: Stargazing at the Observatory
site using the permanent pier.  Due to
the fact that the pier height is dictated
by the floor height of the future
building, an observing ladder is
Detail of roof from interior, showing the
track and rollers, as well as the foam
core roof insulation (to prevent
2/21/03: View looking south, showing
the trench carrying the underground
power line from the road to the
observatory, which is 350 feet south.
Notice the nice horizons!
2/14/03: The roof is on!  The 4/12 roof
is covered with 16-gage corrugated
steel panels, coated with "Bright White"
enamel (to keep heat retention to a
2/21/03: Interior, showing roof trusses,
rollers, telescope pier, and the framing
for the 8' X 12' Control Room. Door
connecting Control Room to Telescope
room is seen at right.
2/21/03: View looking north. Exterior
vinyl siding is being installed. The goal
is to have as little exterior maintenance
as possible.  Again, the all white
scheme is to minimize heat retention.
2/21/03: View looking west. Note the
metal frame to support the roll-off roof.
Metal was chosen to eliminate any
possibility of future warpage which
could affect ease of rolling off roof!
3/15/03: Finished building showing
roof rolled back. Telescope is visible
through window between Control Room
and Observing Room.
2/24/03: View of building looking SW.
Note metal support for roll-off roof,
and the narrow end-stops on the track.
This allows the smallest possible
opening in the end panel of the roof.
3/15/03: Construction finished!!
View of completed structure, looking
northeast. Temporary fence is to keep
the cows from getting to it---one of the
interesting aspects of rural life!
9/20/03: Completed Observing Room,
looking down the business end of the
Celestron Ultima 11.
9/20/03: Completed Control Room,
showing desk, variable lighting, bunk,
dedication plaque, and Observing
Room, visible though window.
9/20/03:  One of six "over-center"
latches used to lock the roof in position.
Here it is seen in the "open" position.
9/20/03: To open and close the roll-off
roof, a manual double-spool winch is
used. The spool on the right opens the
roof & the spool on the left closes it.
Depending on the position of the pawls
one spool takes up cable while the
other spool pays it out. To the left of the
winch is the electrical panel enclosure.
9/20/03: Here the latch is shown in the
"closed & locked" position.  The latch
"cams over", pulling the roof down.
The hook engages in the 1/4" thick
steel plate which is bolted to the roof
9/30/03: A close-up of the double-spool
winch. The cable is a continuous loop,
going from one spool up to a pulley and
connecting to the roof frame. The other
end of the cable winds onto the other
spool of the winch. This arrangement
works smoothly and effortlessly.
5/04: The finished product. Roof rolled
back & ready for business.
A group of bovine observers! One of
the reasons for a stout fence around
the Land of Oz Observatory.
9/20/03: Official dedication of Land of
Oz Observatory. Over a dozen friends
and family attended. The picnic and
refreshments were followed by a
superb evening of stargazing!!
9/02: Construction drawings finished.
This view shows various elevations
and construction details.
9/02: Construction drawing showing
East elevation.
9/02: Construction drawings. Exterior
and Interior details.
9/02: Construction drawings showing
roll-off roof details.
9/02: Construction drawings showing
detail of foundation footings.
9/02: Construction drawing showing
detail of south wall framing with drop
down wall panel.
Fiber Optic Cable for High Speed Internet and Telephone is installed!