SkyShed POD MAX 3.8m Observatory Dome
The 3.8 metre diameter POD MAX observatory dome is designed primarily for serious astronomers with large telescopes, schools and public institutions, and for astronomical research, or satellite tracking.
With thousands of SkyShed Roll Offs and SkyShed PODs in use around the world already, owner feedback has provided SkyShed with a unique insight in what is needed for the “ultimate” 3metre plus large observatory.
In comparison to the popular SkyShed POD 2.4 metre model (probably the world’s most popular observatory dome), POD MAX has a higher 1.9m wall which is 140mm thick. The door is 1.73m height with secure locking. See the image gallery for scale renderings of the 3.8 metre POD MAX observatory dome with 700mm RC scope, 16" Cassegrain on Paramount MX mount, and a size comparison with the smaller 2.4metre POD XL3.
Dome control options. The observatory can be rotated and the dome slit can be opened or and closed by motors or by hand. The POD max supports robotic automation, or “pushbutton” rotation via a control-box. The dome opening can be synchronised with the telescope whilst slewing. Most importantly, the dome slot can be closed in the event of a power outage, either manually, or by means of a rechargeable battery to protect your equipment. Of course you may have a large Dobsonian telescope, in which case purely manual operation is all you need.
Equipment storage and workstations. The primary dome is 3.8 metres in diameter, however "POD MAX Bays" will increase the outer wall diameter, depending on the number of Bays, up to 5.5 metres. The ability to place modular “Bays” around the periphery of the main dome is a unique concept developed from the original SkyShed POD.
Support for larger telescopes. Since its primary job will be for astro photography and research, the dome design will be more of a traditional dome opening with a 110cm width. POD Max can support a very large telescope, so you can start off with a small scope and upgrade in the future as funds allow. Ideal for societies or public outreach groups with separate observatory and telescope budgets.
Transport and assembly. The mobility concept was carried over from the 2.4m POD design, and you won't need a crane to assemble POD MAX. The POD Max components can be bolted together for maximum ease of assembly.
The “medium sized observatory checklist”.
When applying for your observatory budget, it’s important to understand the initial setup and ongoing maintenance costs over time. The POD max has some special features, which make it the most future-proof choice and a better investment than any comparably sized commercial observatory now available.
Here’s the “ultimate medium sized observatory checklist” for any individual or educational institution:
Strength and security. POD MAX is quite possibly the world's strongest dome, meets Canadian public building regulations for snow-loading.
Maintenance. Almost zero maintenance, aside from occasional cleaning. High Density Polyethylene construction. Dual skin with inner hard foam core for. No painting required. No recoating every few years. More durable than fibreglass or metal domes.
Moisture and temperature control. Lower condensation than metal, therefore less internal moisture to control. Inner hard foam core blocks infra-red for temperature regulation.
Risk & Security. Can be used without power, in the event of power failure, so no risk of the dome remaining open in a rain-storm.
Security? Incredibly strong, rigid shell with ecomate foam fill. Lockable door. Dome slot can only be opened from the inside.
Installation cost? Very low cost to assemble. Easy bolt-together assembly. No crane required. Designed so 2-3 people can do it! Why not use a decking platform for an environmentally friendly installation method?
Transport cost? Very low cost to transport, due to modular components. Can be transported in a long wheel base high ceiling Transit-style van.
Future-proof? Large enough house a research grade .05 metre telescope or start small as your budget allows.
Public access? Disabled access can be achieved via a simple on-. More than one full-height door can be installed, enabling visitors to file in one side and out the other, past the telescope, avoiding bottlenecks.
Enough space? Add up to 5x Bays around the periphery for computer workstations or equipment storage. The Bays are large enough for one to be seated at a computer workstation.
Can I upgrade later to Robotic Control? Automation can be added to manual version later – there's no need to go 100% automated from the word go, saving your start-up budget for equipment such as a telescope, pier and mount.
Need advice? If you need help planning your observatory and meeting your yearly budget requirements, just talk to us for advice and support. Our objective is to get you up and running quickly and easily with competitive quotes for telescope equipment, mount and future-proof custom fabricated piers. We can help you with sensible budget allocation and a structured presentation.
If you are looking for the ultimate mid-sized observatory, you owe it to yourself not to commit to other designs until you've seen POD MAX.
SkyShed POD MAX Observatory Dimensions:
3.8 outside diameter
5.5m outside diameter with 5x Bays
3.8 dome height
1.73m door height
Wall height 1.9m x 140mm thick
Bays 1.68m internal height
1.1m slot width
7x7m decking provides about 1.5m "walkaround" space when used with the POD Max and 5x Bays
5x5m decking is adequate for the POD Max without Bays.
See image gallery for scale renderings of the 3.8 metre POD MAX observatory dome with 700mm RC scope, 16" Cassegrain on Paramount MX mount, and a size comparison with the smaller 2.4metre POD XL3.
Note: This is a custom-made product to order, and various colour options are available. We expect the POD Max to be available in 3rd quarter 2015 after Beta Testing (presently ongoing through the Canadian Winter) is complete.
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