Finally the time has come… The dream of every amateur astronomer is to have an own observatory. Especially for an astrophotographer it has a lot of advantages such as a permanent standing equipment without the need of time consuming set-up procedure and a protected place against light pollution, weather etc. It does not have to be huge, just a safe place for the instruments and the rest will be performed remotely.
My personal observatory has been made by myself within just one week. It is a roll-off roof (ROR) type semi-remote mini-observatory with a dimension of only 140x140x160 cm´s. The roll-off mechanism is manual at the moment but I plan to switch to a motorised system. The sides of the observatory were made from white PVC plates and it has a wooden frame inside to gain the stability. I built it on the top of our garage, just next to our house.
The mini-observatory houses my 8” self-made newtonian astrograph mounted on a EQ6 german equatorial mount as well as a day/night security IP-Webcam and an astronomical weather sensor. The complete imaging system can be controlled via our WLAN Network and a desktop-sharing software. If it is needed there is a small place for a single person to sit on the side of the scope within the observatory but it is really not necessary due to the completely automated setup.
The first test project was targeted to the famous Andromeda Galaxy or Messier 31. The imaging system spent four nights to acquire the raw data while I sleep comfortably in my bed :)
The Andromeda Galaxy is the nearest spiral galaxy to our Milky Way, located about 2.5 million light-years away from the Earth. It is a huge object on the night sky, much bigger than the field of view of my imaging system, therefore I targeted only the galactic core region. The small white circle on the image, left to the galactic nucleus is the M32, a dwarf “early-type” satellite galaxy of M31, located 2.65 million light-years away from Earth.