How High Should a Telescope Pier Be? Telescope Pier Height




Telescope Pier Height

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You can quickly decide the telescope pier height by using the following method. 

P= A-B, Where:

P= Pier Height

A= Observatory wall height

B= Position your OTA horizontal. You can get this the same way you do when adjusting your counterweight balance. 

Determining the telescope pier height is one of the most controversial when setting up your telescope. Meanwhile, most astronomers are more likely to set up their telescope out of any potential adverse effects of the ground proximity. 

You might also consider cutting off the building cost by minimizing the height for any extra meter added to more expenses. However, the designers’ decisions appear to be more prudent and conservative when there are adequate resources to possibly setting up the telescope support as high as practical height (about 48-60elescope pier h meters). 

The limitation in the budget can consequently see a low quality or the set-up not materializing as a result of modest heights.

How Big of a Telescope can I Place on an 8″ Pier?

The size of the ideal telescope will highly depend on the diameter and the telescoping height. When you have a 4-inch pier, it has slight vibrations as compared to an 8-inch tall pier.

Therefore, you need a well-built and robust dock that can perform more effectively than a telescope tripod. 

An eight pier can comfortably support 8-inch diameter optics. It also has the capability of supporting larger telescopes but with fewer accessories.

Additionally, the pier plates can accommodate more weight as you would wish to place on them, but the limiting factor is the vibration. 

Which is the Recommended Pier Size?

The ideal pier will highly depend on the size and weight of the telescope. The commonly used size ranges between 8-16 inches (200cm to 600cm) pier bolted to a concrete floor.

You can locally make a steel column or source it from a fabrication shop for your observatory.

Alternatively, you can design a concreted pier as per the telescope diameter and vibration. Ensure that you adjust the column to ensure that the top surface level is at least 1 degree or more. 

How do I attach MI-1000 to my Observatory Pier?

The MI-1000 comes with a 15 by 21 by the 1.5-inch base plate. On the other hand, an observatory pier has a ½ inch diameter bolt pattern of six holes.

You will then attach the base plate to match the holes on the observatory pier. If there are no holes, add holes that match your base plate holes. 

How Deep Should the Pier Foundation be? 

The depth of your pier foundation will highly depend on the type of local soil. However, you can use a non-concrete base as an advantage since your observatory will not need a deep solid foundation.

The telescope foundation or pier can sit on a shallow foundation to quickly relocate to a new location. 

You can use a suspended floor on its joints between the surrounding and piers with no touch with the dock. Since it does not touch the pier, there is no need for it being firm.

It would help if you also got a deeper foundation to accumulate enough mass to support the pier stability. E.g. instead of hooking it to a 1-meter steel pier that goes above the ground, you can opt to attach it to a 1.5m pier concrete block underground.

What are the Advantages of a Concrete Pier?

A concrete pier is a stable, massive and perfect option in minimizing vibrations. You can easily construct concrete piers using the shared resources and materials from home like Sonotube in building concrete columns. 

It is more economical in a building where you have to do it yourself. The concrete pier can be the centerpiece to open sky in an open ground. 

How Can I Build a Back-Garden Telescope Pier?

Building a back-garden telescope Pier means having a rigid platform for your optics that cannot be easily knocked out of position. It also comes as an advantage since you only have to align your telescope over and over again.

A DIY-built back-garden telescope pier can go for a fraction of the cost. 

First, you need to choose a good site to set up your pier. The location should be a clear sight of the north celestial pole for you to align the telescope properly.

No obstacles and bright lighting should block your view.

If you are to auto guide with a computer, consider siting your telescope pier near your house window or door. That will help in easing the connection of USB cables that are about 5m long.

Additionally, you can quickly source building materials from local shops. Here is a quick guide if you decide not to auto guide without a computer.


Your construction requirements will include:

  • Four long bolts
  • Eight nuts 
  • 1.2cm diameter bolts for HEQ5 mounting (consider the diameter of the bolt holes that are to go through your mount before purchasing)
  • Six drilled holes into the plate.

Next step, use several paint coatings on your plate to protect it from rust. Fill the pipe with concrete right after attaching the bolts to the plate.

Ensure that the concrete reaches the top to sink the bolts into the concrete foundation heads first. Use a 20mm thick wood between the plate and pipe to give enough support. 

Shield the base to protect the mount head. You can use a circular MDF table under the metal plate with L-shaped brackets and seal the gap where it meets the pier.

Leave the concrete to dry up for at least one week. After proper drying up, make mounting plate level by adjusting the nuts on bolts. 

Now bolt the pier on the plate for alignments. Ensure that the three steel blocks supporting the collar of the mount are against the plate.

You will then cut a circular table for covering and securing the pipe with L-shaped brackets. Consider using a sealant to protect the thin gap where it meets the pier.

Also, fit the pier with a dustbin to cover the mount when not in use. Use a dustbin with metal fasteners to properly grip the table tight.

Final Thoughts

The information given in this article provides you with the ideal solution to the most common problem beginner astronomers encounter. Exposure to more problems will help you find the right way in designing your telescope tier without trouble.

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