Yorkshire Dales

of David Ratledge

The Site

Unfortunately, ever growing trees mean the telescope will have to move to another part of the garden!

However, if all goes to plan the "observatory" should be moving to the clearer skies of Norfolk in the near future.


The observatory is located in the reasonably dark skies of the Yorkshire Dales National Park near Sedbergh, although even here light pollution is spreading. Observatory is perhaps too grand a title - observing site would be more accurate! As yet there is no building, just a permanent pier concreted into the ground.

sedbergh view

William Optics in Yorks


Using a German mount means it is easy to use a variety of telescopes. These range from a Celestron 5-inch SCT to telephoto lenses - my favourite being a Pentax 300mm F/2.8. I have an adapter for this lens that couples it to a Canon 300D. The Celestron is used for mainly periodic error training but it is also useful for showing visitors the moon and planets.

Latest telescope to make use of the mount is a Williams Optics 80mm refractor - this is the anniversary edition with allegedly fluorite optics.


The Mount

The mount is a home-made German equatorial set on a 12 inch pipe filled with concrete. This provides a rock steady platform well able to withstand the inevitable winds that whistle through the dale.

It is driven in both axes and uses an AWR Goto drive controller. This British-made system drives stepper motors and provides permanent periodic error correction (PPEC). It connects to most planetarium software - I use SkyMap. The first version of the software did not have an object catalogue but I have upgraded it to the latest version which now does. Objects can now be selected from the hand controller.

See Telescope Making Section for full details of the mount.

awr drive


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