Product arrived sooner than expected. Kit was well packed. All parts arrived in good shape.PolyDome's attention to detail and precision is evident in how quickly and trouble free construction phase went. My only critique is making sure the documentation is up to date for items like how to install the brush seal Dome operation has been very reliable and smooth. All in all.. Well done to the folks at PolyDome !!
I finished construction of my Explora-Dome about seven months ago. This is probably the best astronomy based purchase I have made in a very long time. The purchase and shipping process thru OPT went very smooth and trouble free. It only took six weeks for my building and dome to arrive. The Explora-Dome construction was actually a pleasant experience mainly due to the well thought out design of the structure. Even with that being the case I had a few clarification questions during the construction process and PolyDome responded very quickly to my emails and phone call. Working at a leisurely pace, I was totally completed with construction in seven days. Of course construction times will vary with each individual so I will state I am an avid DIYer to help you gauge my comment. If you have experience putting together a metal storage shed this will be a similar experience. The finished product is superb. The dome rotates smoothly and with less effort than one might think. I was going to automate the dome but since it operates so well manually I have changed my mind. I find that I am observing quite a bit more frequently now that I don't need to set up and tear down the scope each session. I walk in, turn on the scope, open the shutter, rotate the dome, and enjoy the views. When I am done viewing I turn off the scope, close the shutter, and lock up the building when I leave. The Explora-Dome does a great job of providing an idea observing environment. The ten foot-six inch round building has plenty of room to install small to moderate sized furniture for your observing gear and books. I have a pier-mounted 8 inch Newtonian on a GEM centered within the structure so there are no tripod legs for me to contend with. You will need to plan your furniture layout accordingly if you plan to use a tripod or a large scope (12+ inch OTAs. The Explora-Dome slot has a pretty good viewing width in that it takes about an hour before I need to nudge the dome to keep the viewed object in the eyepiece as the scope tracks it. I decided on a dome structure to prevent the neighborhood lights from interfering with my viewing. I realized later that the dome does well at keeping me protected from the winds that can cut right through you on those cold winter night sessions. There is also the nice benefit of not having unwelcome critters invade your viewing area. As with most, I did a lot of research prior to making a decision on an observatory. If I had to do it all over again I would still choose the Explora-Dome ten foot-six inch round observatory. For me the price was reasonable, the operations and maintenance has been trouble free, and my observing experience has improved significantly. Anthony