Cat's Paw Observatory
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"Although I've attained a life-long dream of possessing a telescope, I do not consider myself even to be an Amateur Astronomer.  I am merely a man gazing through some glass, in wonder of what God has created".  E Alger Augae
Do you ever look up at the night sky and say "I wonder?"
I've been interested in Astronomy for many years and have, in the past, lugged my telescopes in and out of the garage, and spent lots of time setting up and getting ready to observe.  My last purchase was an 8" Orion Reflector on a tripod, and it was HEAVY.  So,
Welcome to my roll-off roof observatory website.
I named it because a cat's paw is a tool used by carpenters to remove nails.
As a fledgling "carpenter", and I use the term loosely, I found I was using my catspaw more often than any other tool on my belt.
We also have a cat, (Buckwheat), who appointed himself as my apprentice and more often than not, was always where he shouldn't have been.
I started building my observatory in the Spring of 2005. and like most of my other projects, it remains a "work in progress".
The observatory is 8' x 10' with 8' walls.  I built it with high walls to block light pollution from both sides.  It has a drop-down front section 4' x 4', and as the name implies, it has a roll-off roof.
The 8'x10' roof rolls onto a 10' wooden frame of 6x6 timbers. 
I should explain, most of my lumber came from our remodeling project this Spring.  The beams were formerly in our sun room.
The roof is supported by 8 4" casters and rolls on a 3" angle iron track welded into a channel shape.  Again, all used materials except for the rollers.
Vinyl siding (Home Depot) and roll roofing completed the exterior.  The interior is finished in a dark paneling (sun room) and beige carpet (sun room).
I use a Genie garage door opener to open and close the roof.  Works, but still in the refining stage.

My telescope is an Orion 8" newtonian, currently on a tripod.  My future plans include fabricating and installing a pier to minimize vibrations.
I also have a 4" Celestron and 5" Meade reflector on EQ  tripods.


Opened up and ready for first light

Please get in touch and let me know what you think of this site. Also feel free to contribute to this site with your own tips.