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THE DOME

Astronomy Is Out Of This World

During September 2016 I was becoming increasingly fed up with the time involved in setting the equipmenet up and the dew issues associated with it was very frustrating. My Wife astonished me one Saturday afternoon by asking me if I wanted to get one of those Dome things. I could not believe it. 
Anyhow it was decision time, A Pulsar dome or a Roll off Shed.  I posted a subject on "Stargazers Lounge" Forum asking for suggestions/opinions to help with my decision. I received several very helpfull answers, there is a mixed opinion on what is best as each have thier one pros and cons. I opted for the a Pulsar Dome, a very informative reply from Steve Richards, Author of Making every Photon Count helping me decide this was for me.
An order was placed with Pulsar Observatories at The International Astronmy Show in Warwickshire October 15th 2016.  I had a lot of ground work prepartion to do so delivery and insatllation was  planned the spring of 2017.

Deciscion Made

The International Astronmy Show

Decision made. 2.2m Pulsar Dome it was to be.

Location

Clearing the Site

With several shrubs now removed and positioned elsewhere in the Garden work groundwork could begin. Thanks to a nice few weeks in in March/April I was able to get a good start. Next Job was to mark out the rough outline of the base.

Pier Base

Seperate Base for Rigel Pier

The Telescope was to mounted on a Rigel Pier that was going to be bolted to a sold concrete base that is sepearte from the Dome base to avoid any vibration. This base measured 60cm square, 75cm Deep.

Dome Base

Giant Hula Hoop

I made a giant ring from 6mm Ply the exact circumference required to give the base its 2.40m Diameter. This was screwed together and carefully positioned. Once I was happy everything was central it was a matter of digging out the soil and securing the circular shuttering in place.

Getting There

All Shuttered up

With the Soil all removed and shuttered all in place it was all startingh to take shape. An off cut of Rubber/Felt Carpet underlay was to be wrapped around the pier mount, which was wrapped with plastic to ensure the Pier mount remained totally separte from the domebase itself.


Cable Management

Don't forget the Dehumidifier Waste

I used plumbing waste pipe buried in the ground to enable power cables to be run into the Dome and for running cables from the desk area to the pier Mount.

One of the pipes is used as for the Drain pipe from the Dehumdifier which is in the dome 24/7.

Getting On Now

Hardcore

With a hardcore layer all completed the work of mixing up Ballast/Cement could commence.

A third of the way around and all looking good.

Base Completed.

Almost there

5 Hours later and the job was almost complete. Weather was good and things had gone exact to the plan.

Electrical Preparation

Armoured Cable

Armoured Cable was run underground from my Summer house to the dome. The elctrics all being completed and certified  in accordance with regulations by a local electrician. The Dome base was now complete.

THE BIG DAY

6th May2017

After all the hard work the installation day finally arrived.

The guys from Pulsar did a great job completing the installation in  about 3 hours.

Pulsar did a great job on the insatllation day.


Weather  remained kind

The Final Piece

The Desk

Custom Built

The next few weekends I spent time building the desk and boards for the lighing and sockets.  Electrical work was all completed and I was almost ready to go.

The Finishing Touch

Carpet Tiles

A damp course membrane sheet was fiitted and then Black carpet tiles layed onto this to finish the job.


Completed

R2D2 Ready to go.

All that remained was getting things working, The software  talking to each other and ironing out any teething issues ready for the Winter nights. 

Although the Dome is fully alarmed nothing of high value is left in the Dome when not in use for obvious reasons.


I am very pleased with the dome and the service from Pulsar is excellent. 

One day I may decide to fit the Shutter Motor to enable the dome to be fully automated should bad weather interupt an imaging session but for now I am very happy.