Best Home Backyard Observatories Review

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SkyShed POD XL5

SkyShed POD XL5

RoboDome

RoboDome

ScopeDome-V3

ScopeDome-V3

SkyShed POD XL3

SkyShed POD XL3

Over the past few years, most astronomers have added more and more technology to their backyard telescopes. With additional technology, telescopes have now become powerful scientific instruments. However, even with all the extra innovative technology, only a few people use these instruments.

This is because it takes a lot of time to assemble and tear down all the equipment after use. Moreover, life has become more hectic, and most people in the astronomical community seem to observe less than they did in the past. Most astronomic equipment sits unused in the garage or a corner of a room. 

Having all this fantastic technology and a lot of investments in the telescopic equipment sit unutilized can be very unpleasing. Fortunately, there is a perfect solution to this problem.

Backyard home observatory definition

What’s required is a home observatory ( place or space or cottage) designed to let you view the sky in the backyard, field, or even at the rooftop of your garage. It’s a permanent and mobile solution to house and operate your telescopic equipment whenever you want.

Here are the top 4 best home observatories that offer unmatched protection for you and your telescope while observing and imaging.

Technical Innovations Robodome Robotic Observatory TTRD1M

RoboDome

If you are looking for an excellent dome that can help you do your remote astronomy at an affordable price, then this unit is for you. Technical Innovations Robodome Robotic is an outright robotic observatory designed to let you use your telescope anytime you want from the comfort of your computer.

It measures 50″ tall and is designed to shelter your telescope for remote observing. This dome can accommodate telescopes as large as a Meade 10″ LX200. The package features a fiberglass dome with an excellent base and one shutter, all hardware and motors needed for rotation and shutter movement.

Remote Work

Technical Innovations Robodome Robotic features Digital Dome Works (DDW) Hardware and software for (remote) control. The software is open-source to let you make any modifications to fit your own needs. For instance; You may want to link to the DDW control program through a software interface from your Linux or Mac operating system. By using the DDW, you will just have to set up your telescope once, and DDW will park its position. You won’t have to do the complex start-up procedures every day.

The dome is shipped while fully assembled and is well-designed to allow you to control it with your computer on a network or internet site. It comes ready for your GOTO mount and telescope and is prepared for CCD or video imaging.

Battery Included

What you will love most about the dome is that it’s surprisingly affordable. You don’t have to break a bank to purchase this observatory. The battery included in this observatory will be a lifesaver during unforeseen power outages.

While it’s built for the professional with a pleasing oval shape, the Technical Innovations Robodome is priced for the amateur. This unit is one of the best domes that can allow you to watch birds, wild game, surveil the coastline, and shelter non-water-proof video equipment. It’s motorized for full 360 rotation.

When it comes to aesthetics, TTRD1M looks terrific as it comes with a dark blue interior color and a white exterior color.

Specs of RoboDome Robotics TTRD1M

Dimensions:25” x 40” x 50”
Construction MaterialFiberglass
Diameter40” x 50”
Dome Shutter DesignTwo-Piece Nesting Shutter
Dome/Roof Movement:Electronic
Exterior Surface TreatmentWhite
Freight:Yes
Height of Riser or Wall25″
Height of Shutter Opening5″ past zenith
Max Interior Height4″ 2″
Number of Shutter Rollers:6
Number of Shutters:1
Observatory ShapeOval
Required Closing ForceElectric
Required Opening ForceElectric
Required Turning ForceElectric
Riser Ring or Wall IncludedYes
Roller Diameter2″
Roof TypeHemispherical Dome
Shutter Operation MethodElectronic
WarrantyOne Year Limited Warranty
Width of Shutter Opening24″
Weight105 pounds
instalation of ROBODOME ROBOTICS

Installation of TTRD1M

You can easily install it by bolting the base to a space of about 14 square feet or on any flat roof accessible for installation, including an office building, home, or garage.

If you have access to a concrete pad, raised deck, or a tower, you can also install it there.

For mobile use, you can put the dome on a travel, cargo, or equipment trailer.

If you need to make any adjustments to your telescope after installation, you can always reach inside.

When you need full access, you can simply remove the dome from the base in a few minutes.

Nonetheless, you should carefully read through the instructions and view any pictures provided before you begin the construction.

Price

The Technical Innovations Robodome Robotic costs $5,955. The package includes the dome and shutter, base, motors and hardware for shutter and rotation, and DDW hardware and software.

Buying Advice

When buying the Technical Innovations Robodome Robotic, you will want to keep in mind that this dome is great when the scope setups are not changed frequently.

If you do lots of equipment changes, then the dome is probably not your best option.

Furthermore, there are additional charges for packing and freight, which will depend on the destination. You will also need to purchase a computer if you don’t own one already.

The Technical Innovations Robodome Robotic is shipped directly from manufacturers who offer a one-year limited warranty against defects and failure.

History of Technical Innovations

Founded in 1991, Technical Innovations has provided amateur astronomers and schools with an affordable, permanent observatory.

They focus on helping astronomers and observers optimize their ability to view and record objects and events in the universe.

Since its establishment, Technical Innovations has produced over 1,200 high-quality, affordable fiberglass domes.

With the ever-evolving technology, Technical Innovations has advanced their products and has significantly developed in the line of observatory automation equipment.

Customer support is their number one priority, and they make every effort to answer all customers’ calls to resolve any question, concern, or problem. 

Pros of Robodome Robotic Observatory

· Allows several users to use a single instrument

· Helps you to observe without being exposed to the wind and cold

· High tech equipment

· Secure against leaks

· Excellent teaching tool for robotics and astronomy

· Ideal physically disabled observers

· Suitable for beginners and experts

· Requires little or no maintenance

Cons

· Additional costs for purchasing computer and cables

· The operation may appear slow as the graphics are transmitted from the dome to the user.

ScopeDome V3, 3m Diameter Observatory Dome

ScopeDome-V3

The ScopeDome V3, 3m Diameter observatory, is among the latest and modern innovations made by the ScopeDome Solutions Company.

This ScopeDome version has a large internal space enough for your equipment and allows you to move inside freely when observing and imaging.

If you want to mount your telescope permanently in its own strong and quality dome, then the 3m version dome is here for you.

It’s made of polyester laminate that will guarantee you maximum protection from environmental conditions.

The dome’s inside is made of supporting materials to increase the dome’s longevity and stability. The joints are designed to ensure no water finds its way into the dome.

The dome rotates freely without any problems, thanks to the rollable base resting on 16 plastic rollers.

You will be thrilled by its simple but great design that makes assembly and transportation easy even to tall buildings.

It has a wide observing slot of 1m, which will enable you to have unobstructed views even with larger telescopes. The design of this observing slot allows an unobstructed view up to the zenith with a telescope.

The dome’s outside is made of a beautiful finish that is not only appealing to the eyes but also reflects away a lot of heat and light, keeping the dome at the right temperatures.

 Installation

This dome is easy to install due to its simple design. Moreover, it’s assembled and tested in the industry before being dismantled and packed for transportation.

An installation guide is included in the package to refer to if you run into problems during the installation.

The manufacturers also can offer assembly services, providing you with a dome that is ready for use.

Depending on your locality, you may need to obtain a permit from the administration before installing the dome.

Price

The ScopeDome 3M v3 observatory costs at least € 6,400 with taxes included. Other optional accessories like the dome shutter motor, Arduino Card, cloud/rain sensor are essential but come at an extra cost.

Buying Advice

Before buying this dome, it is important to take note of the recommended accessories and your budget. A good example is the ScopeDome Entrance door and the ScopeDome Motor Drive for rotating v3 and 3m diameter observatory dome. These accessories are not included in the buying price indicated above but are important.

History of ScopeDome

ScopeDome Company was founded in 2008. Today, it’s among the best manufacturers of fully automated astronomical domes in the world. Their domes are used by both individuals and research institutions.

Specs:

Dimensions: 3000 mm X 2400 mm X 2760 mm

Construction Material: Glass Polyester

Diameter: 3000 mm

Dome Shutter Design: Two-Piece Nesting Shutter

Exterior Surface Treatment: White

Freight: Yes

Height of Shutter Opening: 1500 mm

Max Interior Height:  2400 mm

Number of Shutters: 1

Observatory Shape: Spherical

Roof Type: Hemispherical dome

Shutter Operation Method: Automated

Warranty: One-year Limited Warranty

Width of Shutter Opening: 1000 mm

Weight: 440.925 pounds

Pros

  • Strong and durable
  • Large internal space
  • Protection against environmental factors
  • Wider View from the Zenith
  • Excellent design

Cons

  • Expensive

SkyShed POD XL3  

SkyShed POD XL3

The SkyShed POD XL3 is a high-quality home observatory solution that comes at a low cost. With its innovative design, this dome is built as a perfect alternative to expensive observatory solutions.

In terms of longevity, the SkyShed POD XL3 can last for decades. It delivers secure, waterproof, and windproof protection for you and your telescope while observing or imaging.

The SkyShed POD XL3 combines the features of traditional fitted observatory domes and roll-off shed observatories without any constriction and construction time.

This makes it an ideal observatory for amateur astronomers who want to spend time observing with less fuss and complication.

Six wall sections and four dome sections case together, taking up less shipping space and weight than regular domes.

The SkyShed POD XL3 is very portable that you can even carry it when going to a stargazing party. 

It offers a 180-degree wide-angle view of the sky for unmatched visual enjoyment, allowing you to see objects in their scenery and chat with fellow observers over the other side.

Another fantastic thing about SkyShed POD XL3 is that it doesn’t need to be rotated continuously as your telescope tracks the sky.

Installation

The SkyShed POD XL3 is one of the most fully-featured and easy to set up domes you can find in the market.

First time assembly will take less than two hours as you only have to bolt the rain seals and wheel tracks in place. And once you bolt them in place, subsequent setups will be a breeze.

Everything you need for the installation is included in the kit, except for bolts or augers to mount the POD to the ground.

You can easily install the POD with normal tools using the step-by-step-DVD guide provided in the package.  

Price

The SkyShed POD XL3 costs $ 3,195. The package includes a POD dome, 3 POD wall panels, one door, assembly hardware, and an assembly DVD.

Buying Advice

When buying the SkyShed POD XL3, you will have a wide range of colors, insulation, and lining options to choose from.

You may want to add extra POD Bays or wall panels, like the Ecomate Insulated wall panels, to your original POD shipment as it will be cheaper than shipping them separately.

These wall panels are hardened to add incredible strength to the already strong wall panels. They provide insulation that keeps the interior cooler when it’s extremely hot outside and keeps the dome warm during winter.

However, you cannot choose the discovery white as your wall color if you plan to add wall insulation.   

History of SkyShed Observatories

SkyShed Observatories has been creating observatories and winning hearts around the globe since 2003. They have supplied SkyShed POD domes in over 30 countries across the globe.

SkyShed Observatories is dedicated to ensuring customer satisfaction and helping astronomers observe and image while their instruments are safe.

Specs

Dimensions: 338cm x 295cm x 243cm

Construction Material: Polyethylene

Diameter: 338cm x 295cm

Dome Shutter Design: Two-Piece Nesting Shutter

Dome/Roof Movement: Manual

Freight: Yes

Height of Shutter Opening: 22″

Max Interior Height: 89″

Number of Shutters: 1

Observatory Shape: Oval

Riser Ring or Wall Included: Yes

Roller Diameter: 2″

Roof Type: Hemispherical Dome

Warranty: One Year Limited Warranty

Width of Shutter Opening: 44″

Weight: 430 pounds

Pros

· Easy to assemble and dissemble

· Extremely durable

· Excellent customer support

· Lightweight dome

· Advanced locks for extra security

· Provides a 180-degree wide-angle view

· Allows full 360 rotation

· High-quality materials

· Reasonably priced

Cons

· The sealing near the hinges can leak sometimes

   SkyShed POD XL5

SkyShed POD XL5

If you are looking for an observatory that combines top-notch performance and ease of use, then this POD is for you.

The SkyShed POD XL5 is a well-made POD designed to keep you and your telescope safe when observing and imaging.

It uses the finest American made, highly UV resistant Polyethylene that makes it super strong.

This dome allows full 360-degree to let you view and track objects in any direction. You don’t have to paint the POD as frequently as it will retain its color for decades.

The air transfer located right below the dome ensures excellent ventilation while still offering maximum weather protection.

SkyShed POD XL5 can accommodate about two or three adults, and they can comfortably use a tripod-mounted telescope.

Installation

It’s very easy to install the SkyShed POD XL5 on the ground, on a deck, or on any flat surface.

All the hardware you need for installation is provided in the kit to ensure that the assembly process is effortless.

When installing this POD, ensure to start with a reasonably level base for more stability.

You will also want to renew the sealing along with the domes segments, especially around the hinges, every 12 months to avoid leaks. 

Price

The SkyShed POD XL5 costs $3,395, and it offers great value for the money. The package includes the POD dome, 5 POD bays, one door, assembly hardware, and assembly USB.

Buying Advice

If you want to shield out intrusive light, such as from a neighbor’s security light, you will want to purchase a POD visor. The POD visor fits inside the dome, and you can open or close it in a few seconds.

The visor is also a perfect accessory for shielding out the wind.  

If you already own an observatory, you can still purchase the SkyShed POD XL5 to move around or go to your favorite star party. It makes a great addition.

Specs

Dimensions: 116” X 133” X 89.6”

Construction material: Polyethylene

Diameter: 116″ X 133″

Dome Shutter Design: Two-piece nesting shutter

Dome/Roof Movement: Manual

Exterior Surface Treatment: White

Freight: Yes

Height of Shutter Opening: 22″

Max Interior Height: 89″

Number of Shutters: 1

Observatory Shape: Oval

Riser Ring or Wall Included: Yes

Roller Diameter: 2″

Roof Type: Hemispherical dome

Warranty: One-year Limited Warranty

Width of Shutter Opening: 44″

Weight: 480.6 pounds

Pros

· Affordable

· Durable

· Built with quality materials

· Withstands strong winds

· Lightweight

· 360-degree rotation

Cons

· You need to renew the sealing along the dome segments to avoid leaks.

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