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Technical Innovations RoboFocus

Automate your telescope focuser with RoboFocus. Remote control of your HomeDome or ProDome observatory can be complete with RoboFocus

RoboFocus is a remote focus driver to be installed on your existing telescope focus mechanism. It provides digital control and feedback of the focus position using a specialized stepping motor controlled by a microprocessor. To use the RoboFocus from a remote location, you send the commands from your computer to change the focus position and receive back digital position information. You will check the results by taking a CCD image to judge if the focus is where you want it. Many users find that they can focus perfectly in only 3-5 minutes after taking only a half dozen fast star images.

With RoboFocus, you can make tiny changes to the focus setting so that you can finally take full advantage of the resolution of your optical system for either visual or imaging applications. You can repeat a focus setting at will, and you can always get back to a setting that you found to be optimal. And, you can make these focus changes from your control room or observatory.

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Observatory Domes

Ghatkopar West, Mumbai, Maharashtra

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Pioneers in the industry, we offer Technical Innovations ProDome 15 Observatory, Technical Innovations Pro Dome – 10 Observatory – Door in B, Technical Innovations Home Dome – 6 Observatory – Tall 45, Technical Innovations Home Dome – 6 Observatory – Short 9 and Technical Innovations PolyDome Explora-Dome Observatory – 10 from India.

Technical Innovations ProDome 15 Observatory

The Technical Innovations Pro Dome PD-15 is a complete fifteen foot diameter fiberglass observatory designed for institutional, or group uses or to meet special observing needs.

It is designed for stand-alone use with additional wall rings and with special locking mechanisms.

The Technical Innovations Pro Dome PD-15 comes with or without a molded semi-door section and includes an electric shutter and electric dome rotation system, with power supply.

Generous 36 wide semi-door entrance which meets requirements for access by disabled persons.

Weather protection assured by overlapping flanges and baffling, not seals that will wear out or deteriorate.

Temperature control is provided by a brilliant white exterior gel coat that normally keeps inside temperature within a few degrees of the shade temperature, so no cool-down period is required before your observing session begins.

The standard PD-15 will meet all but the most stringent code requirements.

Can be installed at ground level on its own foundation, or can be mounted on a roof-top, tower, or other structure.

A dark blue interior helps preserve dark adaptation.

The shutter is an up-and-over, two piece, automatic latching system.

The dome turns on 48 ball-bearing rollers mounted in the 12 high base ring.

The shutters nest on the rear of the dome when opened.

Where needed, minor modifications can be made to meet special requirements.

Note:The Specifications and colors may vary due to recent improvements in design.

Technical Innovations Pro Dome – 10 Observatory – Door in B

The Technical Innovations 10 Pro Dome Observatoryis a complete ten foot diameter fiberglass observatory designed primarily for stand-alone installations.

The PD10 can accommodate Schmidt-Graininess telescopes up to 16 and Newtonian up to 16 diameter.

The Technical Innovations 10 Pro Dome Observatory has added features such as a molded semi-door section to allow full height entrance; additional rollers; and soffit to meet the most extreme wind/snow conditions.

A reverse flange at the top of the base ring covers the roller area and keeps the dome safe from wind.

Temperature control is provided by a brilliant white exterior gel coat that normally keeps inside temperature within a few degrees of the shade temperature, so no cool-down period is required before your observing session begins.

The shutter opening is a generous 36 wide, extending up to zenith and 16 beyond.

By stacking modular wall rings, walls of any height can be assembled to match your telescope and pier height.

Two shutters move up-and-over on the Technical Innovations Pro Dome 10 observatory, automatically disengaging during opening to nest together at the rear of the dome when open.

A dark blue interior helps preserve dark adaptation.

It offers a full height entrance door (using the slot opening as part of the doorway) allowing access without duck-under doors or high walls.

Two integral, automatic latches lock the shutter together for security when closed.

Weather protection is assured by overlapping flanges and baffling, not seals that will wear out or deteriorate.

Three wall rings maximizes the usable space inside the observatory as you have nearly 6 feet clearance right against the wall.

Note:The Specifications and colors may vary due to recent improvements in design.Yes! I am interested

Technical Innovations Home Dome – 6 Observatory – Tall 45

The Technical Innovations PD6 Observatory Dome is designed for a stand-alone installation, most often on a concrete pad or deck.

The dome comes with a 45 high wall with reverse flange, with a built in 19 wide door.

The Technical Innovations PD6 Observatory Dome is 610 high at the zenith on the inside. The outside diameter of the wall is 72 and the 3 mounting flange turns to the inside.

Weather protection assured by overlapping flanges and baffling, not seals that will wear out or deteriorate.

Temperature control is provided by a brilliant white exterior gel coat that normally keeps inside temperature within a few degrees of the shade temperature, so no cool-down period is required before your observing session begins.

A dark blue interior helps preserve dark adaptation.

The dome turns easily on hard rubber, sealed ball-bearing rollers mounted on the base ring portion of the wall.

The two shutters move up-and-over, automatically disengaging during opening to nest together at the rear of the dome when open.

Full height access door for un-hindered entry in the Home position with the shutter open.

Add on space by adding optional computer cubbies.

Its small size allows installation on almost anywhere and is less imposing in communities where neighbors have concerns about their view of your property.

Note:The Specifications and colors may vary due to recent improvements in design.

Technical Innovations Home Dome – 6 Observatory – Short 9

The Technical Innovations HD6 Observatory Dome is a six foot short dome designed for mounting upon an existing structure.

The dome comes with a 9 high Base Ring which contains the rotation system.

The Technical Innovations HD6 Observatory Domemeasures 310 high on the inside and weighs only 110 pounds assembled.

The outside diameter of the Base Ring is 72 and the 3 mounting flange turns to the inside.

Weather protection assured by overlapping flanges and baffling, not seals that will wear out or deteriorate.

Temperature control is provided by a brilliant white exterior gel coat that normally keeps inside temperature within a few degrees of the shade temperature, so no cool-down period is required before your observing session begins.

A dark blue interior helps preserve dark adaptation.

The dome turns easily on hard rubber, sealed ball-bearing rollers mounted on the base ring portion of the wall.

The two shutters move up-and-over, automatically disengaging during opening to nest together at the rear of the dome when open.

The HD-6S is strong but very lightweight and can be mounted on a rectangular skirt for an additional 4 of height.

Its small size allows installation on almost any building or structure and is less imposing in communities where neighbors have concerns about their view of your property.

The Specifications and colors may vary due to recent improvements in design.

Technical Innovations PolyDome Explora-Dome Observatory – 10

The PolyDome Explora-Dome Observatory is an 10 6 Round structure (less floor).

Crafted from low cost, low maintenance UV stabilized polyethylene.

The PolyDome Explora-Dome Observatory comes to you fully assembled and is virtually indestructible.

Includes Click Lock Lower Hatch and Easy Glide Shutter Door.

PolyDome is offering a whole new breed of observatory dome. . . the Explora-Dome! Unlike our competitors in the market today, the Explora-Dome is a truly affordable, virtually indestructible, maintenance free observatory dome. Now you can afford to sit inside a true observatory sheltered from the winds and annoying neighbors porch lights. No more need to haul your equipment out, set it up, and then when you are finished, break it down and haul it back inside.

The Explora-Dome is rotomolded as a one piece unit. It is manufactured of very strong, UV stabilized polyethylene plastic. The observatory features a two door shutter system: the lower shutter door flips outwards, while the upper door glides open and closed. The Explora-Dome has been designed to allow the owner to add modifications and enhancements of their own choosing. Buyers of the dome can choose their own means of rotation and design a building that suits their needs. The difficult task of creating the dome has been done for you. All the Explora-Dome surfaces and doors have a minumum 1/4 thickness and yet it weighs in at a mere 180 pounds.

Polyethylene is extremely durable; it has a higher impact resistance than fiberglass, aluminum and even steel (no more hailstorm worries). Its coefficient of friction is lower than nylon and comparable to Teflon; making it slippery enough for easy cleanup and snow will slide right off the dome. Polyethylene is 100% recyclable so it is environmentally friendly. Best of all, you arent sacrificing quality for price. Fiberglass takes hours and hours of laying up the resins and glass. That is why they cost so much. Explora-Dome is molded and easily duplicated reducing the cost to an affordable level.

The Explora-Dome has lockable door access. Mounting the Explora-Dome on a track will allow greater ease of rotation.

With the Explora-Dome the do-it-yourself observatory dream comes true! The cost is low enough that an observatory is now within reach of many who thought they could never own one. The hard part is completed and you can add just the finishing touches you want. Polydome allows the individual astronomer to choose the features they want, rather than limit them to a particular design. This allows you to be as budget conscious or as extravagant as you desire. Accessories such as Roof Transition Skirts allow mounting the Explora-Dome on a variety of building shapes.

The Specifications and colors may vary due to recent improvements in design.Describe Your Requirement in Detail

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Galileo Telescope MakersNo. 503 A, Prem Kunj, Navroji Lane, Ghatkopar West, Ghatkopar West,

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Observatory Plans Advice Issues

For member-designed observatory plans, seeMember Products & Designs(also linked from homepage)

Observatory Plans URL–huge list of observatory websites

Article — Design Phase of Building Your Own Observatory, by Jay Ballauer –outside link

Article — Construction Phase of Building Your Own Observatory, by Jay Ballauer–outside link

Observatory Design On-linePDF Document

Roll-Off Observatory Design Based on a Utility Trailer–separate page

Plastic Shed Observatories–separate page

Conversion of Garage Loft to Observatory–outside link

Tele-Station by Pier-Tech–outside link (commercial roll-off observatory)

Temperature, Thermal Effects, Dewing & Similar Problems–separate page

Observatory Ventilation Issues–2 parts

Wall Height of a Roll-off Roof Observatory?

Advice on HomeDome Observatory Domes–4 parts

New Dome Manufacturer– Clear Skys Inc.

Remote Control Observatories Publication–on Remote Control topic page

Starting a Robo Scope Directory–on Remote Control topic page

Running Power to Remote Observatory–16 parts on Remote Power topic page

Off the Grid Observatories–6 parts on Remote Power topic page

Pier Location in a Dome for Wedge-Mounted LX200–2 parts

Observatory Design Considerations–2 parts

Plans for Building an Observatory on the Roof of a House

Issues in Building an Observatory on Top of a House

Observatory Design Books & Other Sources–5 parts

Determining SkyShed Observatory Dimensions

Zoning, Covenants, and Deed Restrictions Concerns–8 parts

Keeping Insects out of a Closed Observatory?

Ive searched the Web to plan a backyard observatory and found a few to learn from. Ive made a simple

Note: should open a new browser window over this one.

Youll find a really helpful .PDF document, At Home in a Dome, at Home Dome website:

Note: should open a new browser window over this one.

Dont let the title put you off. Download the whole .PDF doc (about 44 pages), and youll find a wealth of info.

I have worked with both roll off buildings and with domes for some years. I originally built a roll-off building because I liked the idea of having the entire sky visible to the unaided eye. On a dark night this is a wonder to behold. It is also nice to be able to slew from one part of the sky to another without having to worry about moving a dome.

That said, I would NEVER again build a roll-off structure. The dome protects against wind, is darker inside, and gives appreciable protection from the sky on clear nights. In a colder climate especially, your body is protected against radiation to the cold sky. I am in Wisconsin and have found that being totally exposed on our wonderfully clear winter nights is a severe trial. The comfort factor of a dome is appreciable. Dewing is much less because the scope is not exposed to the dark sky either. For more of Doc Gs thoughts,click here.

I now highly recommend a dome-type structure. This is especially true since the newer domes are entirely automated. I have just ordered a Pro Dome from Technical Innovations. These domes are well developed and have all of the features you need for full automation.

Editors note: there is a good dome manual at:

Note: should open a new browser window over this one.

Okay, Im confused. Ive always heard that you *do not* insulate so that

the building interior is reasonably close to outside ambient. In the

last year, perhaps on this list or the observatory list, some members

have indicated that they *do* insulate, and condition the buildings

interior air to keep it close to the expected night temperature, keep

the humidity down, and perhaps the bugs. Which is it? Im close to

constructing my own shelter, and would like to get it right the first

time…. I would certainly appreciate a consensus on this.

Either will work. Actively cooling to the expected nighttime temperature is perhaps the most effective method. The CFHT uses this method, although they keep it at about 0 degrees C — which is warmer than nighttime temperatures — simply for reasons of economy. On the other hand, unless you have something the size of the CFHT its probably overkill.

A few years ago I built a 12 x 12 observatory with extremely good ventilation — lots of hidden vents along the floor line and vents in the roof. It also has a highly reflective roof. The combination keeps the observatory only a few degrees above ambient even in full sunlight — it feels wonderfully cool when you step inside, rather than stinking hot like most sheds. When night falls the outdoor temperature falls, and the observatory temperature falls with it. So there isnt a big change when you open the roof, and the seeing is excellent from the get-go. When I built the observatory my local seeing mysteriously got MUCH better!

One idea to keep dust, etc., out of the observatory is to build it with hollow walls that are well ventilated. A friend of mine built his observatory that way, and it seems to work very well.

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If you are going to condition the buildings where a rather large temperature differential exists between the inside and the outside during the day some insulation will make holding a large temperature differential more efficient. If the temperature differences are not large between day and night, some fans will be adequate. It is always the case that the night is cooler than the day. Sometimes this will be 10 to 20 degrees and sometimes it might be 40 or 50 degrees. For the former, fans should do the job. For the latter, differential cooling might be worth while.

The only advantage of insulation is to make it easier to hold a temperature differential. The disadvantage of insulation is that it tends to hold the heat of the day and will impede cooling at night.

This is a complex topic so what is best for any situation will vary quite a bit. In all cases a very large air flow through the building during temperature changes is essential to quick equilibrium of inside and outside temperatures. Larger scopes, say 12 and over, really need integral fans to attain thermal equilibrium quickly. You need large air flow, big fans, to do the job. Turbulent air transfers heat up to 100 times faster that slow moving air. I rather think that the issue of insulation is not as important as moving a lot of air. If I were in a hot daytime situation, I would seriously consider using an air conditioner to get the scope down to night time temperatures as quickly as possible.

You do not really have to guess at the night Time temperature. The weather reports about night time temperatures are generally quite accurate since it is very short term prediction and is based on solid data that exists during the day. There are other reasons for not insulating and not air-conditioning, but the anticipated nighttime temperature is not one of them.

Just because one is an amateur does not mean that they do not have an investment of 50K$ to 100K$ to nurture, protect and utilize in the most effective manner. Todays amateurs come in many sizes. Air handling and air-conditioning are effective and not necessarily high cost solutions to the temperature problem. The day of keeping expensive and delicate equipment in a hot, stuffy shed are over for many amateurs.

When humidity is a big problem, you have to be sure that the interior, scope and equipment, is not below the dew point temperature. Otherwise everything fogs up for a while when you open the building.

Each climate, indeed each day in may places presents its own problems. Things differ from day to day. I would say if humidity (the dew point) is close to the ambient temperature you are best off simply moving a lot of air to get thermal equilibrium as quickly as possible. In humid climates, the night time low temperature tends to drop and then limit at the dew point temperature. There may be no good solution at all to some air conditions. One simply has to close down for the night when the dewing gets too bad.

I have a different type of roof (fold-off) on my observatory, but I find that wind protection is very useful (and fortunately, easy to arrange with my roof). So I would make the east and west walls high enough to block off the lower 10 to 15 degrees of the horizon (unless your horizons have much cleaner air than mine). Another option is to put wind barrier panels along the sides that can be raised and lowered. The north peak can be pretty high, since everything there will rotate into view at some time of year. So that leaves the south end as the most critical. From the altitude of the major southern constellations (Sag, Sco, etc.), you can calculate what the angle of the scope will have to be to get them and that will give you the maximum height you can get away with for the south end. I found that making the south end (a peak in my structure) fold down worked well. You can see the arrangements in the observatory page on my website:

Is there a rule-of-thumb for the wall height a roll-off roof observatory?

————————————————————

It is always a tradeoff between blocking too much sky, and keeping the scope low out of the wind.

I have some neighboring farm lights, low skyglow, and a lot of wind, so for my 12 LX200, I figured on about a 20 degree loss of sky from the horizon (LA = Loss Angle) was acceptable and then I did the trigonometry. Who said we would never use that stuff in real life?! I started with the height of the scope base as mounted on its wedge and tripod to calculate how high to build the pier. This also gave me the DEC axis height from the floor. Subtract half the diameter of the OTA and you have the wall height (WH = Wall Height) to look completely horizontal and not loose any sky or have the OTA blocked in any way. Measure the distance from the crossing of the DEC axis and RA axis (inside the tube) horizontally to the walls (SW = Scope to Wall distance) and you have all the info you need to use to calculate the additional height to add to the wall (AH=additional height) to get the desired coverage.

For my 10 by 12 roll-off (pier is offset 1 to the South so the E, W, and S walls are all 5 from the pier) the 20 degree protection cost me an extra 22 on the walls ( 60 * Tan(20) = 22), bringing them to a final height of 62. Dont forget to calc in the stuff that may not be mounted right away like the rails for the roof wheels. They may adjust your framed wall height.

Also, while your pier may be evenly spaced from the walls, dont forget that the RA and DEC axis on an LX200 on a SuperWedge do not cross directly over the center of the pier. I made that mistake, and because I made my walls the same height all the way around, I can actually get a touch closer to the horizon looking South compared to East or West because the distance is a few inches greater. I didnt worry about North (same height as all the others) except to make sure in my calculations that the roof would roll off far enough for the scope to get an unobstructed view of Polaris.

I found the ProDome considerably more difficult to assemble that I had expected. The drawings are not very good. I too would have liked to see some photos. I and my group of helpers spent about 105 man hours getting the dome together. I Spent another 10 hours doing the electrical work.

The quality is very good, but the manual is not as clear as it might be. What is it about manuals that make them so difficult to decipher? Three of us read each section of the instructions and then voted on what was said.

I sent about a dozen posts to home dome asking for clarification or commenting on what would help to make the manual clearer. Some of the diagrams are rather amusing as well as confusing. Photos would help a lot.

Nevertheless, we have a nicely working dome at this time. If I were to ever do this again, I would get the pre-drilled version. It was very difficult to do all of the measuring accurately and actually drill the fiber glass.

The only thing I do not like about the dome at this time is the terrible noise the motors make. The noise suppression covers help, but only a little. The shutter mechanism is rather a kluge, but works surprisingly well. I was pleased with the shutter operation.

We probably spent extra time since we were very careful to get things right the first time. We did make one error on the shutter assembly but fixed it all right later.

All in all however, it is a nice dome.

Note: should open a new browser window over this one.

From: Jon Brewster jon_brewster

For the record, I now have my Boyd Dome operational.

It took a day to unpack, and a day to build for 2 of us. The instructions were terrible. No pictures. Must be an industry standard. Automation seems to work great. Software by our friend Brent of Satellite Tracker fame.

Editors note: Boyd Domes is out of business, butClear Skys Domesseem to be a very similar design.

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When I ordered my ProDome, I ordered the pre-drilled version, and Im glad I did. I hired a contractor to finish the assembly on site, and it went up very quickly. The money I spent for pre-asssembly assured that the dome went up per specs, and saved costs on the other end.

I believe the manual is written by the founder of the company, John Menke. They are very hands on mom & pop shop, and they farm out the fiberglass construction. They also modify the manual as per customer suggestions. Ive owned the dome for over 4 years, and it works like a dream.

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I was in the past going to get the ProDome, but after meeting Col, on this group, I got his dome. Will be here soon. Whats nice is that he assembles all the takes it apart, and has all marked with simple 1 or 2 page instructions. All holes are drilled, no need to spend weeks doing the job, and also less people, to install it in a few hours. And even more so, its less money, even with shipping cost. That is the website:

I have installed a 10 Pro Dome along with the motor drive and the DDW (Digital Dome Works). I could write a book about the good and not so good things about it.

I strongly suggest you have it predrilled. Putting it together and doing the drilling etc. is a very, very difficult job, in my opinion. Even with the help of several very excellent helpers, it took 30 hours over a period of 4 days to get it all perfectly aligned. I was very fussy about the alignment and felt that some of the parts did not fit as well as they should.

A number of the brackets required some machining to bring them up to the standards that I required. The electric shutter drive and the motors required considerable additional skill to get them adjusted to work as they should. I had to purchase additional bolts because I felt some of those provided were too short.

I got the Pro Dome version which has additional base rollers. I strongly recommend that you get the extra rollers. After careful assembly, the dome worked very well and has stood up mechanically for almost a full year now under regular use.

I had some difficulties with the DDW which requires a dome motion sensor. The sensor was wired backwards and thus the DDW did not work at all. After fixing this, I found that the DDW was temperature sensitive. It did not work at temperatures below 35 F. It turned out that the PIC had a programming error. This was fixed with a new PIC after some considerable amount of testing and a time delay. I discovered the temperature problem myself and reported it to Technical Innovations. This is no longer a problem since the programming has been fixed.

The dome slaves to the LX200 telescope but only for short slews. When a large slew is done by the telescope, the dome will not follow and the DDW reports an error condition and shuts the dome down. I have been informed that this problem is being worked on and that a new PIC will be provided. I do not know the time frame for this fix, but I am hoping it will be soon. Our application requires large slews for the most part.

We use the dome in the slave mode and with a computer. Both mode of operation work similarly. Except for the large slew problems, the DDW now works well. We do not use the weather station or automatic opening/closing features.

The construction and tweaking of the dome did require considerable mechanical work and considerable electrical smarts. At this time, the Pro Dome is working well. It is sturdy and stable. In general Technical Innovations was helpful in solving problems. Technical Innovations in under new management, as of this year, and I have no first hand experience with the new management. Except I did get a promise to get a new PIC out to solve the slewing problem. I will keep you informed about progress on this matter.

Note: should open a new browser window over this one.

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Go to my site below…it has pics and facts on the Home Dome:

————————————–

From: Ted Van Sickle tvansickle

I built a 10 Home Dome last September. Everything that Tom has said (below) is true. Especially about the pre-drilling. Actually, Technical Innovations, TI, assembles the dome completely, disassembles as much as necessary, and then ships the unit. There are literally hundreds of holes, and they all line up at assembly time. Also, some very important items are assembled when it arrives. There must be at least 25 castors mounted. Well worth the cost. I expect that it cut the assembly time by a factor of three.

As far as leveling, we set a post in the center of the dome and adjusted its height to the desired height of the wall. Then a 6 carpenters level from the center post to the wall was used as the walls were shimmed until the wall height all the way around its perimeter was level with the top of the post. It worked well. Making the wall round was tough. Mine is round, but I think that the adjustments to make it round bordered on good luck.

I have not bought the Robo Dome yet. I am in Florida for the winter. That will be my first purchase when I get home. I did buy the motor drives for both the shutter and the dome. They work well, but they are very loud.

I am using a homemade pier. There is a Milburn wedge on the pier and I have a classic 12 LX200 for the telescope. The theory is that the center of rotation of the telescope should be at the center of the dome. After a couple of measurements with the scope on its tripod, I decided to place the center of the pier 6 South of the center of the ring. It seems to work well there.

I put, I think, 1.5, maybe 2, conduit in the floor to pass all control cables and power to the telescope from the wall. This conduit is plenty large and it comes up into the center of the pier. I have NOT seen any sign of interference in this short run. I put in two smaller conduits from the house to the dome, one for power and the other for a Cat 5 ethernet cable. All power for the equipment in the dome is derived from a car battery, and the power from the house is used only to charge the battery and provide a little light.

By the way, only two of us put the dome up, and I think that it required only 6 hours. The dome is a most wonderful place for observing the glory of the night sky.

——————————————————————-

I have had some experience with the Home Dome. I assume that whatever dome you purchase will require you to do considerable assembly, and I have a couple of suggestions.

If your budget allows, pay a little extra to get a kit which has all the holes pre-drilled. My Home Dome didnt have that option, but I understand that they do offer it now. We spent a sizable portion of the assembly time in locating and drilling holes and wore out several drill bits, also.

If you are now doing any CCD imaging, or if there is any possibility that you ever will, purchase any available option for remote, motorized control of the rotation of the dome.

Dont even consider trying to use a hose device called a water level. They are cheap but useless!

One of the most difficult aspects of dome assembly is actually three things,

insuring that the base rings are as circular as possible,

the base rings are as nearly perfectly level as possible [and here is where an inexpensive laser level is worth several times the $20 or $30 it will probably cost you] and, to a lesser degree,

the rings are well centered on the telescope.

Another area to investigate is snow loading and wind loading. Many are fortunate in not requiring snow load data, but most of us are subject to wind load considerations.

Finally, I found that three is an ideal crew size for the assembly of a 10 dome. More than three tends to become a gaggle with people falling over each other and, while all of the actual physical work can easily be done by one or two people, a third person to simply do the instruction reading, and act as a gopher, can make things easier. Actually, I was the reader/gopher with my son and another young man doing most of the real labor.

Noticed in the April 2003Sky & Telescope, page 143, an ad for Clear Skys, Inc. 8.5 dome. See:

Im setting up a 10 LX200 in a very small (6) dome. It will be equatorially

mounted on a super-wedge and pier. Id be interested in hearing

from other dome owners where the center of their pier is in relation

to the center of the dome. It seems like the pier should be slightly off-center

Yes, you are correct in your assumption that the pier should be offset in relation to the geometric center of the dome. Your LX200 should be centered on the center of the DEC axis at the end of the fork arms (where the DEC manual setting circle and/or DEC motor is located). This would mean that the pier would be offset toward the south (as you face the control panel of the LX200) as you deduced. Simply use a plumb-bob tied or taped to the knob on the setting circle and suspend it to the floor to mark the spot.

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From: Jon Brewster jon.brewster

The fork mount has a fixed point halfway between the declination bearings.

No matter how you point the scope, that point will remain fixed; so it needs

to be in the center of the dome. That will mean having the pier offset to the south.

I choose instead to center the pier and offset the wedge at the top of the pier. This way if I ever go away from a fork mount LX200 I dont have to redo the pier.

It cost my a couple of hundred bucks to have it fabricated at the local welding shop, but Im sure happy with it. I may have to swap the steel out some day, but the concrete can stay untouched.

Does anyone know where I can purchase design plans or blueprints for

I think most people design their own. Heres the link I used to get ideas:

Note: should open a new browser window over this one.

had some great examples of observatories that looked like

they would fit my needs as well as my budget – which is in the 10K range….

…but I did not see any floor plans.

I think each observatory has to be designed for the individuals needs, since there are so many reasons to build an observatory. Here are a few factors that come to mind:

Solo or family viewing? Affects the overall size, since you need space for several people, and possibly benches or chairs for those not actively viewing.

Local environment. A dome isolates you better than a roll-off roof, but can be more complicated to use and maintain.

Local horizon. Affects wall height, which can change the entire design.

Visual or astrophotography? If the latter, you might need a separate control room for the computer and related equipment. Or do you want a completely remote-controlled observatory, in which case all you need is a tiny shelter for the scope.

I am looking to build a cabin and am wondering if anyone has

experience with connecting a shed-like structure to a cabin?

I would advise against this, or at least suggest first looking into a detached structure. Why? For starters….

You may have a better horizon elsewhere.

Other close-by family activities could be distracting (nothing like listening to the Simpsons on TV through the wall as you admire the Orion Nebula).

You may have light pollution from nearby cabin windows (i.e., can you turn off all the lights in the cabin when you go out to observe?).

If you need plans so a carpenter can build the observatory, I suggest you find an architect and explain what you want. Be prepared for some give-and-take (hopefully hell have lots of questions for you to think about). If you know what you want astronomically, the architect should be able to translate that into blueprints.

Finally, the cost…. Id be surprised if youll have to pay more than $5,000 to have plans drawn and an observatory built. A $10,000 budget sounds more than ample; maybe youll have enough left over to buy some CCD equipment.

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Does anyone know where I can purchase design plans or

blueprints for constructing an observatory?

Go to Joe Garlitzs web page. You can download the blueprints:

Weve been looking at a few new houses, some being

built, and some a few years old. The ability to

have a permanent setup is a high priority on our

list, either a shed observatory or a dome or roll

top roof setup. On the new houses, it would be very convenient,

because Id work it into the deal. Ive talked to a couple of the

builders that were looking at and they are completely open to it.

I find this topic is one which is very difficult to offer advice for, even though Ive been through this process. Because there are an extremely large number of factors involved both with respect to building/buying a home and in building an observatory. When the 2 are combined it can be extremely difficult to decide what is the right thing to do.

I have built my current home with the observatory design as the central feature of the home. I have only done visual observing and very limited CCD imaging to date (mostly based on time constraints). As yet I have not had any difficulties from heat plume from the house, and I live in Central Texas which can get pretty hot. Nor do I have any issue with vibration from any walking, jumping, slamming doors, etc. The pier (which is poured separately from the house foundation) is pretty tall which could lead to damping time issues from a bump against the pier or scope, but I have not had any problem with this up to this point.

Its a lot easier when you are designing from scratch, because there are design elements (placement, material choice, etc.) which can compensate for just about an

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How to Best Clean and Protect 10 Fiberglass Dome?

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

How to Best Clean and Protect 10 Fiberglass Dome?

Our club has decided to scrub and clean the stain off our dome after 15 years. Access is not the issue, I think we can get scrubbing devices etc to all parts.

As a rock and ice climber, I think I can figure out how to not kill myself or others…

Whats a good cleaner and scrubbing method, and once scrubbed, is there a good protectant that will slow down the growth of mold, mildew, or other organic crud? Car care products? Marine supplies?

The dome is made of marine grade fiberglass and stainless steel hardware to minimize on-going maintenance and allow you to concentrate on observing instead. We suggest washing the dome once or twice a year with soap and water

A friend of mine has a smaller fiber glass dome than your club. He uses Wet-and-Forget to clean it. As for protecting it, Id think that car or boat protectants (wax, Armor All, etc) would be good.

If it is black stains roofers use this trick after being cleaned to keep from coming back:

To keep the algae from coming back, insert 6-inch-wide strips of zinc or copper under the row of shingling closest to the roof peak, leaving an inch or two of the lower edge exposed to the weather. That way whenever it rains, some of the metal molecules will wash down the roof and kill any algae trying to regain a foothold on your shingles.

Our club has decided to scrub and clean the stain off our dome after 15 years. Access is not the issue, I think we can get scrubbing devices etc to all parts.

As a rock and ice climber, I think I can figure out how to not kill myself or others…

Whats a good cleaner and scrubbing method, and once scrubbed, is there a good protectant that will slow down the growth of mold, mildew, or other organic crud? Car care products? Marine supplies?

1. Acetone to remove dense droppings/blue scuff

2. 3M Marine One-Step restorer and wax – 32oz – purchased from

Really makes the dome glisten – and it is amazing how shade-cool the interior remains even in intense sunlight.

Edited by JMKarian, 02 May 2018 – 08:00 AM.

303 aerospace protectant after cleaning. Has UV blockers.

Ive got a plywood roll-off roof built with a top layer of expoxied fiberglass. I gave it an initial coat of high-density acrylic primer followed by several coats of the best exterior enamel I could find (Beauty-Tone Duralink acrylic, white), all applied with a roller. These newer cross-linked acrylics are incredibly tough and stand up very well to weather. They are also inexpensive compared to dedicated roof membrane compounds, and far safer to work with. In Maine youll likely be able to go 10 years before you have to get up there again to clean and repaint.

Ive got a 17 year old TI Home Dome and clean it annually. The bright white darkens as dirt and mildew build up over time.

Here in costal New England EVERYBODY has a boat, and 99% of them are fiberglass. Cleaning and waxing fall into the category of normal boat maintenance. And we do it with a power wash. Just climb up on a stepladder and let fly. Hugely efficient and effective.

The gel coat on my dome is a bit porous so dirt embeds. The power wash cleans it just fine but a paste wax (either auto or marine) is needed to seal it. Stays cleaner a lot longer with the wax as the dirt doesnt embed until the wax wears off. Since my observatory is raised its tough waxing without falling, and some years I skip the wax.

I would try Meguiars Marine and RV products.

Dont use wax, use a product called Klasse. Its an acrylic and beads water for 6 months, no buildup, GREAT product available at high end car dealers like Lexus, BMW.

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Corneal FMC, APO Crystalline and other babblings

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Paul Prudhomme

(July 13, 1940 October 8, 2015), also known aswas an Americancelebrity chefwhose specialties wereCreoleandCajuncuisines, which he was also credited with popularizing.in New Orleans, and had formerly owned and run several other restaurants. He developed several culinary products, includinghot sauceand seasoning mixes, and wrote 11cookbooks.

The youngest of 13 children born to Eli Prudhomme, Jr. and Hazel Reed,[1][3]Prudhomme was raised on a farm nearOpelousas, the seat ofSaint Landry ParishLouisiana. His father was a farmer, who struggled financially during Prudhommes childhood, and his mother was a creative cook.[4]

Previously named afterSaint Paul, as chosen by aCatholic priest, Prudhomme adopted thepseudonymGene Autry Prudhomme during his youth.[1]

Paul Prudhommes maternal ancestors include earlyMartin Aucoin (c. 1651 – 1711) and Marie Gaudet (c. 1657 – 1734).[5][6]

Prudhomme opened his first restaurant in Opelousas in 1957, a hamburger restaurant calledBig Daddy Os Patio. The restaurant went out of business in nine months, which also saw the end of his first marriage.[1]He became a magazine seller initially in New Orleans, and afterwards several restaurant jobs took him around the country. During this period he began creating his own spice mixes and giving them away to customers.[4]In 1970, he moved back to New Orleans to work as asous chefatLe Pavillon Hotel. He left after a short while to open Clarence Dupuys restaurantMaison du Puy. While there, he met his second wife, Kay Hinrichs, who worked at the restaurant as a waitress.[4]In 1975, Prudhomme left to become the first American-born executive chef atCommanders Palace[7]underRichard Brennan, Sr.[1]Chef Paul turned the unsuccessful Garden District restaurant into a world-class destination.

In 1979, he and Kay (now his wife) openedK-Pauls Louisiana Kitchenin theFrench QuarterofNew Orleans.[8]The restaurant was named as aportmanteauof their names, with Paul working as head chef and Kay as restaurant manager.[9]For a while he attempted to operate the restaurant while still working at Commanders Palace, but the demand in his new restaurant was such that he moved to work there full-time, while also appointingEmeril Lagasseto take over as Executive Chef at Commanders Palace.[4]In 1980, he was made a Chevalier (Knight) of the FrenchOrdre National du Mrite Agricolein honor of his work with Cajun and Creole cuisines.[4]

His cookbook,Paul Prudhommes Louisiana Kitchen, was published byWilliam Morrow and Companyin 1984. It was given a Culinary Classic Book Award in 1989 by theInternational Association of Culinary Professionals.[10]Prudhomme has been credited with having popularizedcajun cuisineand in particularduring the 1980s.[11][12][13]The popularity of the fish was such that commercial fishing of the species was restricted to prevent its extinction.[4]Prudhomme was also credited with introducing theturduckeninto United States cuisine.[14]

During a summer residence in New York in 1985, Prudhommespop-up restaurantwas reported to the Board of Health, which visited the restaurant and closed it before it opened, reporting 29 violations of the citys health code.[15]Prudhomme ignored the order and opened the restaurant anyway,[16]resulting in the Board of Health threatening Prudhomme with time in jail if he continued to operate the restaurant.[17]Theappeared with Prudhomme at the restaurant to declare an end to what the media reported as the Gumbo war.[15]The restaurant was quite successful during the five weeks it was open, with lines sometimes reaching four blocks long.[18]Four years later he opened a permanent restaurant in New York City at 622 Broadway, and again had queues for the restaurant of up to two hours.[18]

In 1992, he was charged with possession of a weapon while trying to board a plane atBaltimoreWashington International Airportafter leaving a loaded revolver in his carry-on luggage. He later released a press statement saying that he had forgotten it was in the bag.[19]He made a guest appearance atLe Cordon Bleucooking school in Paris, France, in October 1994.[20]

In 2004, he traveled toGuantanamo Bay Naval Basein Cuba, along with 4,000 pounds (1,800kg) of food and seasonings to cook for the troops stationed there.[21]FollowingHurricane Katrinain August 2005, Prudhomme was forced to close his restaurant. During the restoration efforts, he cooked for free at a relief center for the military and residents staying in the French Quarter; at one point his team cooked over 6,000 meals in ten days.[22]He reopened the restaurant during the following October;[23]the premises were not extensively damaged by the storm.[24]Bon Apptitawarded Prudhomme their Humanitarian Award in 2006 for his efforts following the hurricane.[4]

After his death in 2015, Prudhommes personal library of nearly 600 cookbooks, food reference books and technical books on food science were donated to John and Bonnie Boyd Hospitality and Culinary Library, affiliated with theSouthern Food and Beverage Museum.[25]

Along with being a chef, Prudhomme launched a range of products called Chef Paul Prudhomme Magic Seasoning Blends. The line includes his signature Blackened Redfish seasonings. The products are sold throughout the U.S. and in over 30 countries worldwide.[1][4]In 1986, he released two volumes of a video cookbook onVHS, titledChef Paul Prudhommes Louisiana Kitchen.[27]

In 1986, Prudhommes wife, Kay, was diagnosed with lung cancer. She died seven years later on December 31, 1993.[4]

Prudhomme had a long-running issue with his weight, resulting in his working from an electric wheelchair on occasion.[20][28]In order to lose weight, he wrote his 1993 cookbook,Chef Paul Prudhommes Fork in the Road, which he deliberately avoided marketing as a low-fat cookbook in order to prevent customers from being put off by the premise after testing the recipes at K-Pauls Kitchen in New Orleans.[29]

In March 2008, Prudhomme was grazed by a.22-caliberstray bullet while catering theZurich Classic of New Orleansgolf tournament. He at first thought a bee had stung his arm, required no serious medical attention, and within five minutes was back to cooking for the golf tournament.[30]It was thought to have been afalling bullet.[31]

Prudhomme died in New Orleans on October 8, 2015, after a brief illness.[32]He was 75.

Chef Paul Prudhommes Louisiana Kitchen

(April 1984)ISBN0-688-02847-0

(September 1987)ISBN0-688-07549-5

Chef Paul Prudhommes Louisiana Cajun Magic

(September 1989)ISBN0-517-68642-2

Chef Paul Prudhommes Seasoned America

(October 1991)ISBN0-688-05282-7

Chef Paul Prudhommes Fork in the Road

(October 1993)ISBN0-688-12165-9

Chef Paul Prudhommes Fiery Foods That I Love

(November 1995)ISBN0-688-12153-5

Chef Paul Prudhommes Kitchen Expedition

Chef Paul Prudhommes Louisiana Tastes

(February 2000)ISBN0-688-12224-8

Chef Paul Prudhommes Always Cooking

(January 2007)ISBN0-9791958-0-2

Louisiana Kitchen: Vol. 1: Cajun Blackened Redfish

Louisiana Kitchen: Vol. 2: Cajun & Creole Classics

Biography: Paul Prudhomme: Cajun Sensation

Prudhomme has made five seasons of cooking shows for New OrleansPBSaffiliateWYES-TV.[4]

Prudhomme also hosted short segments calledThe Magic of Chef Paulwhich were syndicated to news stations across the country. Each segment ended with his catchphrase, Good cooking, good eating, good loving!

Anderson, Brett (June 12, 2005).Paul Prudhomme: An introduction to an American culinary legend.

Rowe, Ann (2015-10-24).The joy of jambalaya: Paul Prudhomme king of Cajun cooking, died on October 8th, aged 75.

. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Greenwood. pp.196203.ISBN978-0-313-38133-1.

Acadian & French Canadian Ancestral Home

Chef Prudhomme grazed by bullet at Zurich Classicreprinted by Golf Magazine online from AP News Accessed online October 8, 2015

Dosti, Rose (January 7, 1992).The spicy life of Cajun kitchen guru Paul Prudhomme.

Flettrich, Terry (May 27, 1982).Plain New Orleans Restaurant Offers Exciting Cajun and Creole Cuisine.

Walker, Judy (April 4, 2012).John Besh cookbook wins IACP award; Paul Prudhommes declared a classic.

Johnson, Colin (August 17, 1986).Cajun cooking Sparks Redfish Revolution.

Louisiana Bans Commercial Catching of Redfish.

Burros, Marian (March 18, 1998).The Heat Is On; Hot sauces are burning their way across America.

American Excess: Imagine Thanksgiving Without It.

Brady, James (July 31, the kitchen with Paul.

ONeill, Molly (August 17, 1989).Jambalaya Passion Feeds Lengthy Lines on Broadway.

Chef Paul wows French at food show.

Famous cajun chef to cook for troops.

Paul Prudhomme aids Katrina victims.

Leider, Polly (February 11, 2009).Paul Prudhommes Mardi Gras Menu.

Moskin, Julia; Severson, Kim (September 7, 2005).New Orleans Chefs Worry, but Cook.

Paul Prudhomme personal cookbook collection donated to food library.

Clair, Jane (November 27, 1986).Cook Up A Special Gift For Every Taste.

Plaisance, Stacey (February 9, 2007).New Orleans not about to jump on the trans-fat ban wagon.

Burros, Marion (October 20, 1993).Chef Paul Prudhomme discovers low fat cooking.

Prudhomme grazed by bullet during tent set-up at golf event.

Celebrated chef Paul Prudhomme grazed by bullet at golf event in Louisiana.

Massa, Dominic (October 8, 2015).Superstar chef Paul Prudhomme dies at 75.

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