Observatory Maintenance Page

Dome Treatment with Roofing Asphalt

Since this dome was an experimental design, it was unknown how the Bituwell plates would hold up to the local weather. As of fall 2011, the dome was three years old and still weather tight without any significant problems. I noticed that the Bituwell plates were appearing dry, as if some of the bitumen impregnation has weathered away. In order to keep the dome as weather tight as possible, I decided to treat the dome exterior with roofing asphalt. Below are three photos of the dome: before (left), during asphalting (middle), and the treated dome (right):


Solar Powered Ventilation Fan

During 2014 I noticed significantly more mould inside the observatory than in previous years. I installed a solar powered ventilation fan to increase airflow and inhibit mould growth. The solar fan is mounted inside a PVC pipe and draws approx. 40 cubic meters of air per hour. Since the solar panel sits at an angle over the fan inlet, I had to mount it low on the observatory exterior; otherwise the dome slit cover would contact the solar panel when the dome rotates. I built an enclosure around the solar panel to provide extra protection from wind and rain. The enclosure is just two plywood side plates with a transparent polycarbonate cover. I also added some netting over the fan inlet to keep pests out of the observatory. 


Aluminum Slit Cover Rain Skirt and Dog Fence

After 6 years, the original plastic plate on the dome slit cover required replacement. I replaced the clear wavy plastic with a clear trapezoidal plate. The trapezoidal plate bent to the dome contour without puckering and appears to be an improvement over the original wavy sheet. I also decided to replace the original bottom slit cover rain skirt (above left photo) with an aluminum rain skirt (below left photo). Since my dog likes digging holes next to my observatory, which are generally found in the dark at 3 am, I added a small fence (below right photo).


Beehive in Observatory

During the summer of 2014, a beehive appeared in my observatory. The bees entered through a small gap between the floor and wall, and constructed a beehive under the flooring (below photos). Eventually I had a cool day where the bees were less active and I removed the beehive from the observatory.