Every night when the stars are out, one always wonders how they look from close and what stories they have to tell. The beautiful night sky with bright stars and the planets in different shapes and colors are an intriguing picture for many especially children. The dreams of astronomy starts young and many take steps towards their dream by building backyard observatories.
Backyard observatories are not very difficult to construct if proper instructions and precautions are followed. There are lots of options in making backyard observatories. It is possible to buy ready-made kit of the complete infrastructure required or it can be done by the person itself. There are lots of documents and books available providing guidelines for construction of the observatories. The minimum area required, the location, the types of roofs, the construction material required, the type of telescopes, the precautions are all dealt with in "Make it yourself" books or documents. The first main step to make a backyard observatory is the location. It is the most vital decision that needs to be taken.
Astronomers forecast are an important aspect for viewing the skies, it is important to know if the skies are cloudy or clear. There are weather forecasts, especially developed models of numerical weather forecasts which are accurate. The forecasts cover, cloud cover, transparency, seeing ability meaning the ability to magnify finer details at a particular time. The darkness level of the night sky varying from black to dark blue to diffused lights is also important. The wind speed at the tree-top level is also considered. Humidity levels are also important. The general temperature is also kept in mind, to help the person wear suitable clothing while star-gazing.
One important thing to note while building backyard observatories is the location. It definitely needs to be an area where the clear night sky will be seen. The sky conditions vary from slightly polluted suburban localities to clear small rural areas. The area should not be wooded which would obstruct the view of the telescope. The skies should be clearly visible, without being polluted by city lights or even building lights; the clarity of observation will not be good, if there are diffused lights while viewing through the telescope.
The reasoning behind this is that to see any object through the telescope there should be a difference in the background and the object being observed. If the background has diffused light and the object is also faint, then the chance of seeing minute details are less. The contrast between the background and the object is the most important. If the object itself is very bright on its own, like the moon, then there is no problem even if the background is light diffused.
The other factors are also important while choosing a location for building a backyard observatory. The Humidity of the area, the turbulence of cloud cover usually seen in the area, the transparency seen in the area are all important while deciding on a location. The tree cover and the height of the surrounding buildings are important because this can obstruct view of some parts of the sky. Thus the first step of choice of location for building a backyard observatory is an important one to be considered carefully and wisely.