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Exploradome Domes

Posted by Ronald Abraham   02/25/2009 12:00AM

When you walk into your dark house, you flip a light switch and go about your business. How convenient! You go to the fridge and end up on the sofa with remote in hand and you're set! I've made astronomical observing just as easy.

I open the door, walk in, enter my observatory through the "trap door" floor and flip a switch - no alignment required. I unlock the shutter on the Exploradome and do my first "go-to".

If your observatory budget is $4000, you can spend all of that and then some on an aluminum dome and perhaps have nothing left over for automation; with Exploradome, you use from one third to one half the dollars for everything related to the dome and have half or more left over for pier, walls, roof, etc.

When a telescope is mounted on a permanent pier or a temporarily fixed pier or tripod, realignment at each use is not necessary. A rool off or dome can keep the equipment dry, secure, and allow it to remain stationary, so it is just a matter of what works best for you; I have used both, and prefer the dome for rejecting wind and stray light even out here away from inner city light pollution.

Exploradome's polyethylene material is very tough and is penetrable or cut only with drills and saws. A puncture would take an all out effort with a razor sharp ice pick - something that can't be said about light gauge aluminum or steel.

Exploradome's wheels are high density ball bearing parts that can are installed and adjusted for a perfect fit to the mounting ring. The dome assembly rotates very easily whether by hand or automation. There is a shutter motor available; I do not have it or need it.

My Exploradome serves me well. I can not understand why I need to own a more expensive fancier unit. I do not have the budget to afford one anyway. I drive older cars, have older astronomy equipment, and have debt and concerns about college education and retirement, so this is my luxury.

The observatory allows me time to enjoy observing more often without hassles. I can still drive to get away from light pollution. Many nights I can take a short break to take a look or image a few things. My site is not ideal, but it is not that bad.

I think Exploradome has very nice buildings to go with their domes, but I bought my dome before they offered the whole buildings. In fact, I like the building I have because it is much bigger and taller. Mine has an elevated observing floor with storage beneath and you get into it through the floor so I could store yard equipment underneath. It has a nine foot pier that is rock solid. It is all on a concrete pad that was already there.

I did my own layout and installation. I also drew up the pier I had made by a welder neighbor. I you need any help, I can answer questions; I have been into fabrication, frame construction, and steel erection long enough to know the ropes. I have been into astronomy long enough to know what works and how to avoid pitfalls and wasting money.