The OC Dome Project

The OC telescope was kept in a closet in the physics lab. To use it, students had to cart it up stairs and outside the science building. They had to set it up and tear it down every time, which burned valuable observing minutes. The Dome project is to purchase a small prefab unit called a SkyShed Pod to be installed on the roof of the science building. The telescope will be mounted on a computer controlled motorized mount. The advantages are the following:

 1) Reduce the probability of damaging the telescope due to constantly moving the heavy equipment

2) Raises the telescope above street lights and buildings that currently block the view from the ground

3) Safe and lockable storage on the roof will reduce likelihood of theft or accidental misplacement of the telescope and all the accessories like maps, eyepieces, wiring, camera equipment, etc.

4) Reduced setup time will allow for ‘quick peeks’ as the opportunity arises and weather cooperates. This will increase the number of minutes spent observing per student.

 

The location of the telescope pre-dome. Note the nice laptop desk and abundance of frost.

We have found an economical solution from Sky Shed Pod that is made from a tough plastic, resist UV radiation, and offers a large enough covered space to comfortably house our telescope and accessories. The 'Pod' has a dome roof the can be manually opened. The dome clam-shell shape helps divert the wind and block stray light.

We are also going to install a solar powered vent fan to keep the inside from getting too hot. Also, we will have electrical connections to run the telescope and other equipment.

Project Budget--$5600.

Construction

Below is the profile of the Noble Science Wing before installation of the dome.

 

The dome base is a wood deck sized according to the floor plans found on Sky Shed Pod's website. The picture below shows its construction.

One thing to note in the picture-- the deck DOES NOT rest on the roofing surface. It is off the surface by a couple of inches.  The deck is tied to four metal supports that are piers that extend down through the roof to load bearing beams. This will help minimize vibrations.  Also, the deck is level whereas the roof has a slight pitch for drainage.

The platform is sturdy and level. It is anchored to the steel piers and shimmed underneath for added support. Vibration is minimal.

Above are the sections of the dome prior to installation. (And a big shout out to the summer section of astronomy students for being our 'mule team' to bring it upstairs.)

 

Dr. Feuerhelm and Don Leftwich are getting the wall sections ready after successfully assembling the two dome halves.

 

Dr. Feuerhelm, Don Leftwich, and Dave Compton squaring the circle to make sure the pod is true to form.

 

Dr. F., Don, and Dave along with Dave's helpers Annie and Mac apply the first half of the dome. Nearly done!

 

Dave Compton is please as Punch. 

 

The roof-line of the Noble Science Wing has a new bump on it. We hope the dome allows us to add to the research work of the OC science department as well as the architecture.

This Project was funded in part by a generous donation from the Seminole Chapter of the Oklahoma Christian Women's Association (OCWA). Thank You Ladies!!