D Little Observatory
A New Beginning
At the end of July 2021, the Southland Astronomical Society INC was generously donated a small backyard Observatory. This building was donated by David Little, both a life member of the Society and likely one of our founding members. As well as a keen interest in aviation, going so far as to build a small aircraft of his own, David always had a keen passion for astronomy. This building was one of two Observatories he had on his property. The other has gone with David to a local rest home.
This generous donation will allow the Society to grow and supply a more dedicated service and to put down roots at our current location at Links Road, Sandy Point.
Since the closure of our original building, the Southland Savings Bank Observatory in 2017 the Society has aimed for a new building. This opportunity before us is too good to let pass by. We are working with the Invercargill City Council, and many other local partners to ensure we have the D Little Observatory up and running by the start of April 2022.
Help Support and Community
As we begin this project the Southland Astronomical Society would like to thank those community groups, funding organisations and companies that have offered us help in getting this project off the ground. This project would not be happening with out them. As we move along in the project we will introduce the new helping hands, as they become involved, here.
From the bottom of our hearts and on behalf of the astronomical community in Southland we would like to thank the following groups;
ILT Foundation: Supplying funding for the restoration and upgrading of the D Little Observatory and shelter.
ICC Community Wellbeing Fund: Supplying funding for the restoration and upgrading of the D Little Observatory and shelter.
Mitre10 Mega Invercargill: Supplying materials, tools and funding towards the restoration and upgrading of the D Little Observatory and shelter.
TrueSouth Survey Services: Supply topographic work for the new site and aid in aligning the plinth and telescope.
KM-MEC: Supplying time, advice, foundation design work and geotechnical assessments for the observatory's new location.
Jaycar: Supply of security surveillance system and weather station.
The First Update
The Second Update
A small update today, although we have been taking advatange of the great weather. Between this and the last update the re-cladding and painting of the old bus come gold shelter has been completed and it is looking rather tidy and ready for another 20 years in the Southland elements.
The shelter as it was can be seen above, and the photos beside show it part way done. Future posts you will be able to see it finished.
The Third Update
It has been a long time since the last update, we can blame winter, more COVID lockdowns, and the international shipping delays.
Progress re-started on 18/08/22 with our builder, Southern Edge Building were contracted to produce our unique and specially designed foundation. What makes our foundation unique is a hole in the middle of it for the plinth that will hold the telescope. This hole is filled with a concrete block and plinth, that cannot touch the building foundation. This is to ensure any vibration from the building is not passed to the telescope. Also the sandy soils of Sandy Point (I understand the name now) means a standard foundation is prone to liquefaction. This means the foundation needs to be waffle design, with the underside of the foundation looking like a waffle (another name that is easy to understand).
Southern Edge Building have been great to work with providing great thinking and taking this challenge to heart. Further they provided the Society with a great price to get the work sorted. Southern Edge also organised the moving and placement of the building on the new foundation.
We couldn't be more thankful for the work completed by the team.
The Fourth Update
Just a small update before the holiday season. Some important test fitting was carried out with the scope and mount to ensure clearances, direction and levelling.
Everything went swimmingly.
The Sixth Update
After a break for the holidays, most of used some of the remaining time to make serious progress on the D Little Observatory. A week long working bee was held to reclad the inside and outside of the building, painting, fixing up, and breaking up old concrete.
The photos really speak for themselves in this instance.