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My observing site:


51.31   00.46   Southend-On-Sea, Essex, England.

The "orange" post is a 6 inch drainpipe used to cast a reinforced concrete pillar (I just left the drainpipe on to "soften" the post and allow easier mounting of accessories.) The pillar is cast into a reinforced foundation approx 1 metre deep with a four pointed star cross-section approx' 1 metre wide (estimated weight 500Kg!). The adapter plate to mount the GEM to the post was custom made at a local engineering shop. A wooden cabinet, visible behind the green shed, protects the GEM when the 'scope is packed away. The base of the wooden cabinet is fixed to the post allowing it to be locked into place. The OTA, counterbalance etc are stored indoors!

The green cabinet holds all the power supplies, accessories etc and a (junk)PC which is networked into my house. I mainly operate the system remotely via "XP Pro remote desktop", with Astroart 3 and Deepsky2003.

I am limited in the minimum altitude I can observe since I am surrounded by 2...3 story buildings in most directions (however light pollution limits the minimum altitude for all but the clearest of nights).

Note: Homemade 3 hole Hartmann mask/cover and Dew cap. The dew cap is essential for reducing light pollution effects, and is lined with black velvet - see "Black test images"!


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