So I have an observatory now 🙂
I manged to luck out that a fellow astronomer near me decided to downsize to a point where they no longer needed a full on observatory for their set-up (visual) so on a slightly rainy day I hoped over to Prince Edward County and picked it up.
Its a SkyShed POD which is a 7.5′ interior diameter dome. Its completely manual clam-shell design made of highly resilient HDPE plastic (I know this as this one is about a decade old and in good condition). The Skyshed POD is large enough to house my telescope gear as I almost exclusively do astrophotography all my scopes are well under 12″ (despite delusions of grandeur that someday I’ll manage to get a 14″ Astrograph).
It comes in 10 pieces (6 walls and 4 shell sections) and it took my mom and I about 1 hour to put it together without instructions. Two people are required for construction as one person stands on the inside to feed bolts to the person on the outside for the walls and it takes two people to lift and place the half-domes successfully.
I did manage to pick up a 8″ steel pier from another astronomer a bit farther away, its pretty solid, much heavier then some of the aluminum options I was looking at so I know this pier will represent a significant improvement. Now I don’t have the concrete footing in place yet so its being designated for use as a laptop stand.
The big advantage is now I don’t have to keep setting up and taking down each night, when I want to observe I can just walk up, unlock the observatory and plug in my computer and start imaging.
Now I’m still trying to determine the optimal location for it (sky access and ground suitability) so its temporarily set-up on wood planks and using my Tripod. The temporary set-up works well, but in the coming weeks I’ll start on the base and pour concrete.
I will make a youtube vidoe of the final location and review, just right now the dome sticks a bit on rotation as its not 100% level and some of the roller wheels have rusted, but for right now that is more than fine.