After a couple of years struggling in and out with the heavy Losmandy G-11 mount, Meade 10" Schmidt-Newtonian telescope, counterweights, guide scope, cameras, table
and all the other miriad bits and pieces that are required to take long-exposure deep-sky images, I decided enough was enough!
Added to the sheer task of carrying and setting up the equipment, I live in a very flat and windy place, often meaning that the
capture of well-guided, good quality images is impossible. This can be very frustrating, so I decided that a proper observatory
was the most important investment I could make to get the quality of results I think I can achieve with the equipment I have.
All the usual designs, such as run-off sheds, sliding roof sheds were considered, but the ultimate type of observatory is surely
the rotating dome design, especially in such a naturally windy location as this. After deciding on a dome, I researched several
ways of dome construction, and even considered purchasing a commercially built dome. I soon realised that off-the-shelf domes larger than three
metres in diameter were many thousands of pounds, so I advertised for a second-hand dome in the astronomical classifieds on the internet, and
it was through one such wanted advert that I was contacted by Roger Phelps and Keith Venables.
Roger and Keith have constructed two superb domes in Somerset and Surrey respectively. They have used fibreglass for
the 3.2m domes, and suggested that I used the mould that they had constructed to build the 12 fibreglass sections required
for the complete dome. After visiting Keith's observatory in Camberley, I decided that this was definitely the way forward.
Bob Anderson, from Ontario, Canada, is also building a similar dome. You can see his progress here...http://www.tpo.ca/Building_the_Dome.htm