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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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Tom Clark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: North of Deming, NM
Re: Fiberglassing lessons from a novice new [Re: Scout92]
      #5600393 - 01/01/13 09:51 PM Attachment (102 downloads)

" Where is the darkest place you have ever been?"

"Inside Clark's dome," says everybody who has been there.

Just starting to paint the inside flat black. It will enable the best dark adaption you will ever enjoy. It is far darker than outside…

Edited by Tom Clark (01/01/13 09:53 PM)


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Lynnblac
super member
*****

Reged: 04/06/09

Loc: Arizona
Re: Fiberglassing lessons from a novice new [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5605888 - 01/05/13 01:08 AM

I could not make sense of the picture until I read the text!

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Tom Clark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: North of Deming, NM
Re: Fiberglassing lessons from a novice new [Re: Lynnblac]
      #5606095 - 01/05/13 08:07 AM

Naturally!

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snowboycosmos
super member


Reged: 07/18/12

Re: Building a 24' Dome [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5612813 - 01/08/13 10:18 PM

Tom have been watching your progress from beginning to now and you truly are living the dream. Perfect Skies, Mammoth Scope, Superdome, all of us are there with you at the astronomy village, just not in body but in spirit. I'm afar off in cloudy Scotland and just in from a freezing cold night out in the garden seeing a few blurry stars. You are blessed !

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Tom Clark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: North of Deming, NM
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: snowboycosmos]
      #5622250 - 01/14/13 08:30 AM Attachment (77 downloads)

Finally received the rack and pinion gear and have mounted it to the shutter. As soon as this cold spell breaks the shutters will be mounted. After that it will be time to move the scope to it's new home.

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1965healy
The Snarkster
*****

Reged: 06/23/07

Loc: San Antonio, TX
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5622386 - 01/14/13 10:09 AM

Looks a lot like a wall when it's on it's side. Dang that things huge! So close!

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Taylor
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/10/05

Loc: Owasso, OK
Re: Fiberglassing lessons from a novice new [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5622532 - 01/14/13 11:49 AM

Quote:

Quote:

How do you get your telescope in the dome? I assume it breaks down into manageable pieces.

Mike




Mike, Now the door opening shows up.

Getting closer to finishing the project. Now it is just hanging the doors ahd shutter and trim pieces, and of course lots of painting.

Notice the cloudy skies. One of the winter storms was passing by on the way north to snow all over everyone. So, now you know that we don't have perfect skies every night.




That observatory looks incredible, well done! I can only imagine what kind of views you will be getting through that monster telescope and the clear skies of NM.

I'm hoping to use some of your ideas when my wife and I buy our first house 12-16 months from now.
On a much smaller scale, of course. Probably along the lines of 8-10'.

Clear skies.


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dmdouglass
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/23/07

Loc: Tempe, AZ
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: 1965healy]
      #5622540 - 01/14/13 11:51 AM

Yeah.... and at least 3 beautiful model aircraft flying low providing aerial cover during its storage !!!

At some of our star parties, we have several members who fly rockets during the day. My guess is, that if we could ever talk him into coming....., Tom would fly model airplanes.

How cool is that ??


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dodgerm37
member


Reged: 02/10/12

Loc: N.E Ohio, USA
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5623475 - 01/14/13 09:38 PM

Tom, Where in Ohio were you? I'm near Youngstown, the home of far to many clouds. Bob

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Tom Clark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: North of Deming, NM
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: dodgerm37]
      #5623558 - 01/14/13 10:26 PM

Born in Dayton. Hated the weather.

Moved to FL in 1972. Moved to NM in 2012.


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averen
Vendor Main Sequence Software
*****

Reged: 01/20/09

Loc: Austin TX
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5624201 - 01/15/13 11:13 AM

Tom,
Nice build! I'm sure you're glad to be almost done!

How much resin and fiberglass did you use on the dome and shutter?

Thanks,
Jared


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Tom Clark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: North of Deming, NM
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: averen]
      #5624823 - 01/15/13 05:11 PM

The calculator said that the dome would be 904 square feet, so I purchased a 120 sq yd of 7 ounce cloth. There is some left over. I purchased 10 gallon of resin, and have one gallon left.

I'm very glad to be nearly finished! Ordered the shutter motor from Poly Dome this morning. Will get the shutter mounted soon.

Edited by Tom Clark (01/18/13 08:12 AM)


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Tom Clark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: North of Deming, NM
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5629469 - 01/18/13 08:29 AM Attachment (66 downloads)

This project required a double entry door so the scope, desk, and other large things could be moved in and out. Most pre-built doors are the standard 6'8" high. Interior doors are very inexpensive, but exterior doors are very expensive, and all of them are a foot higher than what this project needed.

Don't forget that a Dob is going into this dome and the walls are only 6' high so the scope can view nearly to the horizon. When the last time I built doors the local lumber company had a sale on 1x12 lumber so I bought some and ripped the material on my table saw. This time I just purchased 1x4s since there doesn't seem to be as many sales going on - in spite of the bad economy. The material was purchased in 12' lengths so there would be little waste.

Once the doorway was framed in the boards for the door were cut to size and laminated with overlapped joints. This photo shows the door partially assembled before the 1/4" plywood was glued on.

Edited by Tom Clark (01/18/13 05:04 PM)


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Tom Clark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: North of Deming, NM
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5629475 - 01/18/13 08:33 AM Attachment (60 downloads)

The doors are built slightly larger than the final size, then trimmed to size after the plywood skins are glued on. The outsides of the doors were fiberglassed just like everything else for weather protection. Doors built like this are a bit heavier than normal, but they are very strong.

Next project is to put up the plastic dome overlap that will cover the opening between the dome and the walls.


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Tom Clark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: North of Deming, NM
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5634145 - 01/20/13 11:30 PM Attachment (61 downloads)

It took awhile, but painting the inside is finished. The shutters should be going on soon.

For any astronomer who has fears of climbing ladders to reach the eyepiece of a large telescope, consider building a rolling staircase like this one I just finished. It is an updated version of the one I used in the old observatory for 10 years. Thousands of people - from 6 to 86 years old to have used it safely for observing. The handrails make the experience very safe.


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Bob Myler
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: St Louis, MO
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5635937 - 01/21/13 11:17 PM

Looks like the inside of a newly refurbished Yerkes!

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Tom Clark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: North of Deming, NM
Re: Building a 24' Dome [Re: Bob Myler]
      #5636389 - 01/22/13 08:37 AM Attachment (58 downloads)

Not quite! However, I did get the idea for my ladder from Yerkes. Years ago years ago I wrote an article on Yerkes, and the docent was telling me about their 100 year old wooden ladder and all the famous astronomers who had stood on it over the years. I had Jeannie take my photo on that ladder while imagining all the ghosts of astronomers past standing around me.

Later when I was considering purchasing a steel rolling staircase for my dome, (that I would have to modify to suit my needs) I remembered that wooden ladder from Yerkes that had lasted a hundred years, and designed my own.

The Yerkes dome is around 100 feet in diameter, and the whole floor goes up an down. What an engineering feet that was!


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stmguy
sage


Reged: 10/11/12

Loc: Western NH
Re: Building a 24' Dome [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5636411 - 01/22/13 08:51 AM

I also was out Yerkes years ago, what a piece of engineering. It's hard to get a grip on how big that telescope is from pictures, you really have to stand beside it. We designed the floor of the McGregor observatory at Stellafane to have the floor go up and down but I think liability concerns put the kibosh on it.
Norm


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Building a 24' Dome [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5636544 - 01/22/13 10:08 AM

Tom, what an awesome job on your dome! That will give you a lifetime of enjoying the night skies!

That ladder is pretty fantastic, also!


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1965healy
The Snarkster
*****

Reged: 06/23/07

Loc: San Antonio, TX
Re: Building a 24' Dome [Re: csa/montana]
      #5636609 - 01/22/13 10:34 AM

I'm saint til he paints the floor black, then I'm getting a little black tent and moving in! I'll wear my ninja outfit, I'll be invisible!

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