The 2.9M (9 feet 6inches) Astrodome is constructed using marine grade gel coat and a fibreglass thickness between 6mm and 10mm. This gives the Astrodome more than adequate strength and rigidity which in turn translates into durability. The inside is painted dark blue as standard but can be customised along with the gel coat to the customer's colour of choice.
The Astrodome comes with a motorised shutter and azimuth rotation. The shutter motor is a 12DC powered by a deep cycle (not included due to shipping restrictions), solar charged 12V battery to eliminate expensive electrical slip-rings. The Azimuth drive can utilise 12dc, 220-240v or 110v motors depending on customer's requirements. The dome rolls on nylon or urethane wheels for smooth quiet operation and a rack and pinion set up is used is engineered for reliability and free of maintenance.The rack and pinion always for accurate encoding of position if automation is added. Each motor is controlled with a control box that uses a soft start feature to eliminate the wear from jarring or the customer has the option to have the dome automated.
A customer can choose to automate the dome themselves using a system of their choice. Or Astrodomes can install a Maxidome system to control the rotation only or also the shutter which allows full remote viewing. The dome can be slaved to the telescope allowing the dome to follow the telescope without the astronomer having to touch the controls.
Shipping and installation
The 2.9m fibreglass Astrodome is designed to fit inside a shipping container for worldwide shipment.Each dome is pre-assembled prior shipment to make sure every panel lines up and the dome functions correctly. It is then carefully packed and come complete with stainless steel bolts and all required parts along with comprehensive instructions and are support is always available via phone, Skype etc. No special tools are required and with a few people, and some levers each dome piece can be put into place without the use of a machine to lift them. Installation can be also be negotiated.
Plans and Dimensions
Note the new design has a fibreglass flange at the bottom, eliminating the need for bolts to attach to a steel ring.
A home observatory
Green gel coat used at customer's request
Installation at The School of the Future.