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Domes and Snow

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#1 my-spot

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 09:47 AM

I'm planning to build a remote observatory a couple hours from my home and I'm about 80% settled on a dome. However, I obviously will not be able to clear the snow off. I can just imagine dumping a pile of snow on the scope when opening the slot.
:foreheadslap:
Any Thoughts?

#2 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 10:20 AM

Generally, it will slide right off and not accumulate, if the dome is made of a smooth material. We had one substantial snow since I got the dome and it only stuck a little at the transition area between dome and track, and right around the top. Depends a lot on the design.

#3 rimcrazy

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 02:09 PM

It always melts on the south side and if need be you just rotate 180 to get the other side. Not an issue.

#4 Mirzam

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 05:52 PM

If you can heat the interior it will melt off faster.

JimC

#5 T1R2

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 05:57 PM

a push broom will also help if you get a step ladder, just pull it right off

#6 MHamburg

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 08:58 PM

Get one of those snow rakes for the roof that comes with an extension pole.
Michael

#7 JJK

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 09:26 PM

Get one of those snow rakes for the roof that comes with an extension pole.
Michael


If by remote, the OPer meant imaging via the internet from his home several hours away, a snow rake won't work.

#8 Galaxyhunter

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 10:30 PM

Get one of those snow rakes for the roof that comes with an extension pole.
Michael


If by remote, the OPer meant imaging via the internet from his home several hours away, a snow rake won't work.


Not unless it had a reeeeeeeeally long handle :lol:

#9 JJK

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 10:52 PM

Get one of those snow rakes for the roof that comes with an extension pole.
Michael


If by remote, the OPer meant imaging via the internet from his home several hours away, a snow rake won't work.


Not unless it had a reeeeeeeeally long handle :lol:


Well, of course.

#10 tim57064

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 09:42 AM

+1 :lol:

#11 Aquarist

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 11:02 AM

If you can heat the interior it will melt off faster.

JimC


My thinking as well. I am considering adding a network controlled heater to turn on when it snows and turn off remotely.

#12 MHamburg

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 07:53 PM

Duh! But of course.
Michael :foreheadslap:

#13 my-spot

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 11:32 PM

The good news is a plan to trial everything for a year or so in the back yard before moving it all to the dark site. Hopefully I'll be able to work out if snow is an issue or not.

#14 John P

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 06:47 AM

My clamshell has a great gel coat and snow slides off very quickly. I suspect as it's a remote operation type, you could rotate it a bit and allow the motion to help get the snow off. I open each half of the clam shell separately to accomplish the same thing.

#15 TCW

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 12:13 AM

Might I suggest a camera pointed at the outside of the dome so you can check the snow before opening? Other than that a good heater would melt the snow from the inside if that is an option.

#16 TCW

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 12:18 AM

Put a really big motor on the dome rotation and crank that sucker up to a couple of hundred RPM and the snow will be history! :dabomb: :dabomb:

#17 mclewis1

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 09:51 AM

While not appropriate for the OPs requirements (not a dome design that can be easily automated for remote control) my POD does illustrate what happens with dome material that snow doesn't easily stick to.

This is on a relatively warm morning (just above freezing) after an overnight snowfall.

The PacMan Observatory ... :lol:

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#18 rodney

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 10:27 AM

Frank,

Great posts from the others. The IP camera on the building is a terrific idea. Since you will be automated, turning the dome remotely will help in getting the snow off easily enough. As a dome vendor I can attest to the durability of the products on the market. If you keep your slotted opening facing in a Southward direction most of the problem will be eliminated by sunlight.

As few years back a dome owner installed a 12 volt heat strip on each side of his shutter opening. Similar to Dew Strips and such. I can not find his article, but he used heating elements off mirrors on pickup trucks. Disassembled the mirror and used the elements. I do know he was not as remote as you plan to be, and he did have some form of controller. He ran everything over a Tight VNC connection. And he lived in Northern Canada.

#19 rlandsboro

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 10:45 PM

There is a company called Warmquest in Utah that specializes in snowmelt systems for roofs, floors, driveways, etc. Their heat mesh products have a controller that is activated by both temperature and moisture sensors. So the weather has to be below freezing and have precipitation before it turns on. They might sell you the controller and you might be able to let it turn on a heater inside the dome.

There are other companies also. Thier common focus is "snowmelt".

#20 tadpoletoo

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 02:48 PM

Hi Frank, Here is my Sirius dome located about 250 miles NW of you. This is about a weeks worth. Depending on temperature and wind speed sometimes it will not build up quite so much. We have not had a clear night in quite some time and thats the way it is in a lake effect area, but the rest of the year I like it! Dave

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#21 tim57064

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 12:46 AM

Those wasps must be hibernating by now huh? LOL :)

#22 tadpoletoo

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 06:48 AM

Yes they are but those pesky snow fleas look like they will be around for a while. At least they don't bite or sting!

#23 my-spot

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 09:39 PM

Hi Frank, Here is my Sirius dome located about 250 miles NW of you. This is about a weeks worth. Depending on temperature and wind speed sometimes it will not build up quite so much. We have not had a clear night in quite some time and thats the way it is in a lake effect area, but the rest of the year I like it! Dave

I have done some imaging not too far from you in a beach parking lot in SBNL. Nice-n-dark...
:question:
Now my real question is, what happens if you try to open the slot with all of that snow up there?

#24 tadpoletoo

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 08:06 AM

Hi Frank, Our club GTAS holds public outreach programs at that very beach several times a year. On my dome when the snow falls , it works its way into many places and some of it freezes, so the shutter will not open. To remedy this I broom it off and clean out the track and manually rotate it so the sun , if it happens to shine before the next snowfall, can melt it enough to be useful. My experience is that this is not the place for seeing the night sky during the winter months, but the rest of the year more than makes up for it! Dave

#25 CarsRfun2

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Posted 25 December 2013 - 10:53 AM

You think you have problems?

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