Cedar run

The Observatory

Ever since Karen bought her telescope, in 2002, she has wanted a place to shelter it and block out offending lights. in 2008 we were able to tackle that project. We looked for affordable domes--something that up to a couple of years ago was an oxymoron. After settling on the Exploradome we began planning for a project that lent new meaning to the expression "some assembly required".


Cable Trench

The first thing we had to do was run wiring for power, phone, and security across the yard. Although a ditch witch makes trenching easier, in no way does it make the task easy. It took us two days to dig the trench, run almost 1500 feet of wire and conduit, and then fill in the trench.

After that, it took another couple of days to complete connections from the garage into power and the house.


Tripod Base


We were going to pour a concrete pad for the observatory but finding someone to do that small a job and not tear up the yard was difficult so we decided to build a triangle to give the scope tripod a stable base. We used a four foot equilateral triangle made of 2X8 lumber and then hand mixed concrete to make the pad. We ran a conduit through the pad for power and USB so Karen does not have to trip over wires.




We then used 2X6 lumber and lined up the floor system to make the deck planks level with the tripod base. When we got done, we had a 10 by 19 foot deck--enough for the observatory and a front porch to place a table for solar-scope viewing.




The final phase was to build the observatory. The dome came pre-assembled but not much else did. Although the manufacturer says they can assemble a building in four and a half hours it took us close to that many days. In the end we learned a lot and felt very accomplished--oh, and a little sore.