The story of the Highlands Observatory.
The observatory started out a couple years ago when I bought my house in Renton, WA. One of the main reasons I bought the house was the large backyard with fairly open skies - and that I could afford the house payments on my salary! The first year of the observatory was basically on a clear night I would drag out my Meade LX90, set up a table, run extention cords, polar align, connect the computer, camera, boot up, swear into the darkness at the occasional blue screens, and finally after about 40 minutes I was ready to start exploring. After a week of clear skies in the summer, my back really started huring from hauling heavy gear in and out of the basement, I just dealt with it.
In late 2004, my club (Eastside Astronomical Society) had a very generous donation of a beautiful 12 inch Meade LX200 from another local backyard astronomer (thanks Tomas!). Since I have so much space in my basement, I happily offered to be the caretaker of the scope (yeah, yeah...I just wanted to play with it!) and the massive box then inhabited my basement. I was first joking about donating a chunk of my backyard for an observatory if I could store it, but after a few clear nights of using the scope with other club members, the joke became rather serious and I started thinking about doing it for real. So, after a summer of many trips to the hardware store, about $2,000 invested, just over a half ton of cement, a black thumb, several nasty slivers, a few cuts, and a badly smashed finger (thanks for taking that blow Maia!) the observatory was complete!
I hope you enjoy the site, and the photos I share. Please fee free to email me with any comments or questions.
<--- Select the links on the left to see the observatory construction and photos of the completed observatory.