Have you dreamed of your own observatory but felt it was completely out of your reach? Observatory domes can be prohibitively expensive, and often fall into them when I win the lottery category of dream acquisitions. Not so with the Explora Dome! The folks at Polydome have made the dream of your very own observatory within reach of most amateur astronomers by offering a well-made, fairly lightweight dome that can be tricked out as little or as much as you want; right away or over a period of time. This allows you to build or buy a building first, and the dome next, and then add automation as your budget allows.
The Explora-Dome is roto-molded as a one piece-unit from UV-stabilized polyethylene that is a minimum of 1/4" thick. This material was chosen for many reasons. It is much less expensive than constructing a dome of fiberglas and has better impact resistance than aluminum, steel, or fiberglass. This knowledge means you will feel much more secure when it starts to hail outside! Speaking of weather, snow and ice will have a tendency to slide off of the dome due to the slick polyethylene surface (its similar to Teflon). Add the fact that the dome is made of one piece of material and you have an observatory dome that will hold up to all kinds of weather.
The Explora Dome has a two-door shutter system. This system is visually documented in the additional images section. The lower door flips open and acts as an entry point should you decide to use the dome while you are building a structure. The upper shutter slides back to display the stars overhead. Automation is available optionally for the shutter, as well as for dome rotation.
8’ Explora Dome Specifications
- Dome Diameter: 97"
- Dome Height, Including Skirt: 54"
- Dome Height, without Skirt: 48"
- Door Width: 29"
- Minimum Material Thickness: 1/4"
- Dome Exterior Color: White
- Dome Interior Color: Black
Note: Another specification that relates to this dome is the minimum height your building should be if you want to stand comfortably inside your observatory. This is 48", which would make the max height about 8’, not counting transitions, etc. We also recommend a building with a lockable steel door.
The ExploraDome 8’ Dome Only Kit is for astronomers who plan on providing their own building. This kit includes the 8’ dome, a wheel track ring with aperture bracing, aluminum mounting ring with deluxe wheels for quiet and smooth rotation, door opening stiffeners, lower door latches, an upper shutter rope pulley system for opening and closing the larger of the two shutters, a rope for closing the lower shutter, retainer ring sections, and a brush seal, which seals the dome to the building.