As the construction phase nears an end, today saw the very significant step of the installation of the main telescope, a Meade LX200 16 inch.
The very complex process of creating the observatory, within the larger build project, began several months ago with the isolated foundation, telescope column and the circular section of steel structure in the roof. Once the first floor was down, the spiral staircase went in, and the walls followed shortly afterwards.
The photo below shows the subsequent installation of the dome, from inside, and a railing around the mezzanine floor to be used for observing.
A custom-built pier and wedge, designed for the specific latitude of our observatory, was then attached to the top of the column.
With most of the fitting out and decoration finished, today it was finally time to unbox the telescope, and install it in three distinct stages.
Firstly, the base was bolted to the wedge.
Stage two was the attachment of the fork, seen here being lifted into place by IT technicians Mr Peacock and Mr Leoni.
After carefully securing the fork…
… Mr Christie and his team then made a fantastic job of a very heavy and awkward lift, and some precise locating, to secure the optical tube assembly.
All that remains now is the rather lengthy process of calibrating the main telescope, and all will be ready for next week’s BBC Stargazing events and the Official Opening.