HISTORY OF LAND OF OZ
My name is Ron Abbott, and I live in Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb on the southwest side of the greater Kansas City metro area. When I purchased one of the original Celestron 8 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes in 1973, I became interested in observing and photographing deep sky objects. After several years, it became apparent that if I was to continue in this hobby, I would have to observe and image from darker sites. In 1991, after upgrading to a C-11, I located a site in rural Linn County, Kansas, about an hour south of my home. A picture of my initial observing site is to the right. After several years of packing up all my gear, going to the country to observe/image, and then re-packing and driving back home, I began to dream of having a permanent observatory in the rural area where I had been observing.
This dream became reality in 2002, when I was successful in purchasing a 20 acre plot of land just a few miles from this original observing site.
Ground was broken for LAND OF OZ OBSERVATORY on May 2, 2002, when the first spade-full of dirt was lifted from the hole that was dug for the concrete pier that would form the heart of my observatory. After digging to a depth of over 4 feet, I hit a shelf of solid rock what would provide the anchor for the concrete pier base. Sixteen 80 pound bags of concrete were mixed to pour the pier.
Because this ground was virgin pasture that had never been tilled, and the hole for the pier completely filled with concrete, I will not have to worry about the concrete base shifting in the future.
One week later, the metal pier was bolted to the concrete pier base, leveled, and the equatorial wedge was mounted and polar aligned.
This permanent pier could now be used for observing while I proceeded to design the observatory building that would be built around it! Note that the concrete pier base extends above grade level, to allow for the floor height of the building.
After some study, I decided on a roll-off roof design. To promote thermal equilibrium, I decided to use a raised wood deck rather than a concrete slab. The building would be 12 feet X 20 feet, standard stud wall construction, with vinyl siding and a 16-gage corrugated steel roof. The interior will be divided into two sections: An 8'X12' Warm Room/Control Room, and a 12' X 12' Observing Room. The roof will roll back just far enough to completely open the Observing Room, but will still cover the Warm Room, which will have a solid insulated ceiling.
THE PICTURES BELOW SHOW THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE OBSERVATORY BUILDING
ORIGINAL CONCEPT DRAWING
2/1/2003: The walls are up!
2/14/2003: The roof is on!
2/24/2003: The siding and roll-off track finished
Close-up of sofit detail
Track and Caster detail
Roof, track, and caster detail
Observing Room & Telescope
APRIL 2003 - LAND OF OZ OBSERVATORY FINISHED!
September 20, 2003 - Official Dedication Party for Land of Oz Observatory
A picnic & champagne toast was followed by an evening of stargazing.