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sonof007

Home Observatory UK or PULSAR Dome?

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sonof007    35

Hi,

I would like some input from you kind peopel out there. 

I am considering either a 2.2m PUlsar dome with Rigel rotation unit or an 8ft x 7ft Roll Off from Home OBservatory UK (Although cannot get hold of them at the momnet, assume they are busy or on hols)

I appreciate there are pros and cons for both but would appreciate input from anybody who has either one, or suggestions/recommendations for either.

My wife has finally agreed to a dome so its decsion time, although will not start ground prep until Spring.(some shriubs to move out of way)

My concerns with the Pulsar are condenastion and reading soem people having probs with the rigel drive. and limited viewing when /if I it out in the dome.

My concerns with the HOUK Roll Off are the size for the roll off area required,I have the space but obviusly makes the shed look lot bigger. I understand I will get dew when open but hoping condensation will be lot less when closed and not in use.

Any commenst would be very much appreciated.  Images are examples.

 

7 x 7 Rolls Home Obs UK  2a.jpg

Dome.jpg

Edited by sonof007
add images

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red dwalf    336

if you have the room i would personally choose a roll off roof obsy against a dome one, plus if your sitting in it i`d consider a warm room if you intend to image, makes life so much more comfortable, i have a 10 x 8 with small warm room and would not want to go much smaller myself, the roof does not need to roll all the way off either, mine covers the warm room roof so only sides back just over 7 feet, not the full 10 foot. 

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Starlight 1    719

Just look back in time domes win every time over a roll off roof, cut light down ,cut wind down , I still have a roll off roof but I chance it to a dome  if I can fine a good S/H one that is.

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andrew s    629

I think which is best depends on what kit you have and what degree of automation/remote operation you are looking for. A big advantage of a dome is that you can shut it whatever the orientation of the mount/telescope but the is not likely to be possible for a RoR. A RoR has the advantage of not needing rotation with tracking and if you have a side by side wide field rig not needing careful positioning of the slit. As above they have different levels of light and wind protection.

Regards Andrew

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geoflewis    219

I have just installed a RoR observatory from Ian King Imaging, designed, manufactured and installed by Dave Jackson of HitecAstro. I'm still commissioning it and Dave has been brilliant helping me sort through some initial teething problems (all user errors I hasten to add), so I don't yet know all the pros and cons. The biggest factor for me in deciding RoR v dome was the ease of access. I have lower back problems and using a couple of friends' domes over the last few years was a nightmare getting in and out crawling through the very low door openings especially in the cold when my back muscles pretty much seized up, so the choice for me was easy. My RoR is 12' x 8' including a 4'x8' warm room with a motorised roof that retracts off the 8''x8' observing area leaving the warm room fully covered - not heated, but out of the wind so nice and snug. It has full height doors to gain access to the obs and between observing area and warm room; I even included a drop down hatch so that I can monitor scope slews from the warm room without leaving my laptop - lazy I know...!! I have a lifting pier to raise the scope above wall heights when imaging closer to the horizon, but when imaging nearer the zenith I'll keep the pier down which allows the obs walls to provide some wind protection. Everything is ASCOM controlled including a cloud sensor so in fact I could operate it all remotely, though mostly I'll use it from inside the obs, though in time will no doubt go to bed letting an imaging session run all night, confident that the cloud sensor will issue commands to shut down the observatory (park scope, lower pier, close roof) in the event of cloud cover or rain. I've attached a couple of photos; the neighbours trees block most of the northern horizon, but I still have access to Polaris for polar alignment and everything in the north is circumpolar so I'll get to observe those targets when they pass overhead. My southern horizon from NE to W is mostly clear above about 7 degrees altitude, which is idea. I've taken a few test shots from it, but am now really looking forward to using it for real over the coming months.

IMG_3388.JPG

IMG_3392.JPG

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steppenwolf    4,336

I have had two Pulsar domes over the last 11 years (the first is going strong with a new, delighted owner) and they have been superb. Any glass fibre dome (or plastic/metal dome for that matter) will have an issue with condensation to some extent which is why I have a de-humidifier running in mine to keep all my gear in perfect condition.

A domed observatory, helps significantly with local light pollution, guards against wind buffeting and, in my case, stops dew formation on the optics so I never have to use a dew heater.

The Pulsar automation system works very well indeed - the rotation system always worked perfectly but I did have an issue with the earlier version of the shutter opening system but that has been completely superseded by their totally new re-designed system which I have now installed and this operates flawlessly in my remotely operated observatory.

The advantages of a roll off roof (although I have never had one so this part is guess/hearsay!) is that they don't look like an 'observatory' so they blend better in a small garden, you can view the whole sky at a time and you can more easily have a warm room. From anecdotal evidence, the roof can often cause problems though and fully water-proofing them can also be an issue.

For me, it would be a dome any time!

pulsar_dome.png

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sonof007    35
6 minutes ago, steppenwolf said:

I have had two Pulsar domes over the last 11 years (the first is going strong with a new, delighted owner) and they have been superb. Any glass fibre dome (or plastic/metal dome for that matter) will have an issue with condensation to some extent which is why I have a de-humidifier running in mine to keep all my gear in perfect condition.

A domed observatory, helps significantly with local light pollution, guards against wind buffeting and, in my case, stops dew formation on the optics so I never have to use a dew heater.

The Pulsar automation system works very well indeed - the rotation system always worked perfectly but I did have an issue with the earlier version of the shutter opening system but that has been completely superseded by their totally new re-designed system which I have now installed and this operates flawlessly in my remotely operated observatory.

The advantages of a roll off roof (although I have never had one so this part is guess/hearsay!) is that they don't look like an 'observatory' so they blend better in a small garden, you can view the whole sky at a time and you can more easily have a warm room. From anecdotal evidence, the roof can often cause problems though and fully water-proofing them can also be an issue.

For me, it would be a dome any time!

pulsar_dome.png

Hello Steve, Thanks for excellent reply and info. Is yours 2.20m or 2.70m dome?

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astroman001    1,213

I have a Home Obsy ROR and very pleased with it. Very high quality construction compared with IKI version which a friend has. I considered domes and ROR and because I love being outside under the stars and able to see meteors, satellites  and the milky way, I would choose a ROR every time.

Peter

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steppenwolf    4,336
Quote

For me, it would be a dome any time!

Quote

I would choose a ROR every time.

Fight, fight, fight, fight ............:icon_biggrin:

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sonof007    35

Thanks Guys... I guess really its about personel preference.   I like the dome very much.... but like the Roll off as looks like a shed..... decisions :)    I will keep you posted . Thanks again.

 

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Starlight 1    719

I like my shed as it do not look out of place in the garden the down side is my one roll off front and back so I see East and West with out the roof getting in the way but this take up 24ft of garden,

So that why I like a dome take up less room but it do have a down size it can be seen from the garages and its a big give away on what in it. and will I feel ok leaving my gear set up in it?

So there is lot to think about in dome or shed .

Edited by Starlight 1
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sonof007    35

I opted for the Pulsar 2.20m Dome, paid deposit at the International Astronomy Show. Got work to do in Garden , shrubs to move, base/pier base to build etc so the guys agreed happy to supply after next Spring. Very much looking forward to getting it. :)

 

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steppenwolf    4,336

How very exciting - Spring is an excellent time to commission a new observatory and iron out any bugs without freezing to death in the process!

You won't be disappointed by this purchase.

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Gina    8,764

I think I might well have taken that route if I'd had the money.  But whatever type, an observatory is a real boon to astronomy :)

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sloz1664    489

You will not regret buying your Pulsar dome. It has made life so much easier. I can now image within minutes of the opportunity of clear sky.

 

Steve

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sonof007    35

Thanks People, Really appreciate the feedback and really looking forward to Spring :) I have few questions if you guys/girls can help.

Condenastion: Steve you mention you run a dehumidifier in yours. Some of these have the capability to external draining, by this I imagine you can fit a pipe to them a drain of outside to save emptying the normal water container. Would you consider it worth pre installing a small drain pipe into the base to utilisiese this feature, obviously running the pipe from insiie the dome via a samll conduit pipe simi to the electric conduit, down and under the base to  a few feet away from the exterior underground as a soakway? Do you run your Dehunidifier 24/7, I notice they run automatic depending on the settings. Do you run it when imiging/using the dome open.

I think the new Rigil Pier from Pulsar has a cut out at the top for wires. Should I plan to run conduit from the power point/laptop area to near the centre of the Pier base to enable running cable up the inside of the pier?  I could run a mouse line through to pull cable through as necessary.

On the Pulsar advise for the pier mount it says 1m x 1m x 60cm deep. I am worried this maybe two large within the 2m dome and I may walk on the pier base.  I read on your site Steve that you built your base 24"sq  30" deep, I image you find this fine?

I am planning to build the base circular about 8-10" oversize to the dome. Would it be worth painting this to help with Water penetration/damp using suitable exterir paint or sealer.

I intend fitting DPM and soft flooring in the dome. Any other thoughts be appreciated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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steppenwolf    4,336
Quote

Would you consider it worth pre installing a small drain pipe into the base to utilisiese this feature, obviously running the pipe from insiie the dome via a samll conduit pipe simi to the electric conduit, down and under the base to  a few feet away from the exterior underground as a soakway?

This is exactly what I did - works a treat! Make sure you use a desiccant de-humidifier not a refrigerant type.

Quote

Should I plan to run conduit from the power point/laptop area to near the centre of the Pier base to enable running cable up the inside of the pier? 

I ran conduits for power, network and 'security' through the concrete base but not into the pier region as I wanted that as isolated as possible. I have a small low-level camping table that supports my monitor and keyboard with the PC underneath it and I run all the cables to the pier in that area as I can't walk on it anyway! Can't comment of the pier design with regard to cable run inside it as I have a much older design of pier.

Quote

I read on your site Steve that you built your base 24"sq  30" deep, I image you find this fine?

It's been there 10 years now and I've never seen a wobble!

Quote

I am planning to build the base circular about 8-10" oversize to the dome. Would it be worth painting this to help with Water penetration/damp using suitable exterir paint or sealer.

I didn't do this with mine but it might be worth a punt, I used garage floor pain in my workshop and this seemed to work well so I don't think you have too much to lose although it might be prudent to wait for the natural 'salts' to come out first.

Quote

I intend fitting DPM and soft flooring in the dome. Any other thoughts be appreciated.

I have a loose DPM sheet with a carpet on top - again this works really well.

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sonof007    35

Thanks Steve. Apprecite your advice. Will post few images when work gets underway.

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malc-c    553

I don't think you can compare the two, it's the old apples and pears. Both have their place.  Myself and two friends have observatories, one has a dome, myself and the other guy have roll off roof designs.  In all cases, they achieve the goal of housing the scope and equipment to view / image the night sky.  My friend with the ROR has two piers with four scopes set up on two EQ8's , something that would not be possible in a domed observatory, unless it was of some considerable size.

For the record, my ROR observatory with warm room is now over four years old.  It's never leaked, it doesn't move, and is in a full working order as the day I finished building it.  The warm room is insulated and is quite warm on most nights, although I also have the advantage of remote control via the home network to image from the comfort of the living room.

Someone mentioned condensation  in a dome.  This is often the case due to the fact the typical dome is not insulated and the walls are typically thing when compared to the cross section of an insulated wooden shed type design, and warm up / cool down a lot quicker.

I think the main reasons people choose between the two is location.  My friends domed observatory fits exactly in his garden.  A wooden ROR would look out of place.  In contrast a dome where I live would stand out like a saw thumb and advertise the fact that there is a lot of expensive equipment in there...

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mhard26339    100

Hi Malcom,

I must admit I fully endorse Steve's comments, I have the slightly older Pulsar 2.2M running the Shelyak control system but again with no problems, support from Pulsar has been excellent and their erection service is worth considering ( I erected mine myself without problems but a friend had Pulsar do his and the finish is superb). I use my dome remotely from Spain (long story but outlined in my build thread "New Obsy in Norfolk UK") and after initial frustrations find it superb, I am imaging when a RORO friend is grounded due to wind. IMHO the only downside with a dome is the limited visibility through the shutter but you can't have it all ways, also I did not have the room for the roof to run off to and other systems seemed too complicated. I look forward to  watching the build develop, exciting times!

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sonof007    35

Work has began. Delivery is early June 😁

FB_IMG_1489341020056.jpg

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steppenwolf    4,336

Oooooh, exciting - bet you can't wait for June!

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