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Home > SkyShed POD observatory dome > SkyShed POD XL3 2.4m Observatory Dome

SkyShed POD XL3 2.4m Observatory Dome

SkyShed POD XL3 2.4m Observatory Dome
Price: £2995.00
Incl. VAT 20% ( £499.17 )
Add 3x Black Lined Bays
Product code: POD-XL3
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The POD Xl-3 with 3x equipment bays

The SkyShed Personal observatory dome is the most fully featured and easiest to set up dome on the market. It offers the ample equipment storage space, and can be moved with little effort. The POD affords secure, waterproof and windproof protection for you and your telescope whilst observing or imaging. The POD combines the features of traditional slotted observatory domes and roll-off shed observatories without the constraints and construction time, making it ideal for the amateur astronomer who wants to spend time imaging or observing, with minimal fuss and complication.

Easy setup & Portability. Six wall sections and four dome sections nest together, taking up less shipping space and weight than conventional domes. In fact, they're even portable enough to take to star parties, and POD customers do this! First time assembly takes less than 2 hours, subsequent quick assembly at a starparty for example, is even quicker once rain seals and wheel tracks are bolted in place. The product is 2.4m in diameter at it's widest point. Everything required to assemble your POD is provided in the kit, except for bolts or augers to secure the POD to the ground, which are freely available. It can be assembled easily with normal tools compared to any other dome product. A step-by-step DVD guide is provided with every POD. You can view the SkyShed POD assembly setup DVD online, at the bottom of this page.
See the whole the sky! Unlike conventional domes the POD in it's standard form offers a 180 degree wide angle view of the sky for more visual enjoyment, allowing you to see objects in their context and chat with fellow observers over the side. Another advantage of the POD is that the dome doesn't need to be constantly rotated as your telescope tracks the sky, and movement is only needed every few hours. Opening up your dome just before sunset also gives you faster telescope cool-down with greater air circulation. For customers who want to shield out intrusive light - from say a neighbours security light - the POD visor is the perfect accessory. The POD visor fits inside the dome, and can be opened or closed as required in seconds, with a variable width opening from 31 to 81 inches, you can choose how much of the sky you want to reveal. The Visor is perfect for shielding out wind too. The images below show the visor in open and shut position from inside the dome. The POD is the only observatory dome which offers this flexibility.
By offsetting your scope from the centre of the dome, or using an equatorial mount (which is naturally offset), you can achieve zenith viewing. For customers with a large telescope, the optional PZT (POD Zenith Table) accessory enables you to slide the dome back, allowing the telescope to point beyond the zenith.
Customise your POD. Colour combinations are available for the dome in white, tan and light grey. Walls are available in white, tan, greenand two shades of grey (see opposite colour charts and photos). We recommend a lighter colour on the dome, for less heat retention, and a darker colour for the walls, which also looks great. Additional inset wall panels called POD Bays offer vastly expanded equipment storage space, ideal for computers, accumulator batteries and eyepiece cases. You can upgrade your POD to 3 Bays or even Shelving systems are available for the Bays as an optional extra - they can slide out to bring your laptop or star chart closer, for example. No other dome product has this flexibility. Bays nest into each other for shipping, therefore ordering 3 Bays with your POD can cost a lot less than ordering Bays individually as they take up almost the same volume. That's why we usually offer the POD package with 3 or 5 Bays. The Bays and walls let you save space, and our Altair SkyShed 8" telescope piers free up even more floor space whilst offering a more rigid mounting surface than a telescope tripod (see opposite). The Altair SkyShed pier is available separately in your choice of height and is the easiest to install pier design on the market. Imagine never having to polar-align your telescope mount again!
Protect your equipment. Your POD can house a large scope like an 11 or 12" Cassegrain. In fact - some customers are already using 14" fork mounted Schmidt Cassegrains on our 8" piers. The POD door is designed with a weatherproof seal, and a lock. The observatory dome also has a locking system so it cannot be opened from the outside. The dome material is made of high density Polyethylene giving a wipe-clean surface with a low friction feel. It's extremely tough and durable, almost impossible to stain, and features temperature and UV resistance. It's also resistant to scratches and cracking, absorbing shocks very well - unlike thinner, single walled plastic designs. For the ultimate in strength and heat blocking, you can order black lined bays. This modification stops infra red heat entering the POD and therefore heat build-up in very hot climates. A cleverly designed ventilation channel allows air to circulate under the dome, which doubles back, eliminating dust and moisture ingress. The dome can be easily fixed to the ground for use with a tripod mounted scope, or preferably bolted to a raised decking kit, which allows better ventilation with cool air able to flow under the decking and up through it into the POD.
Altair Astro Observatory PierThe Altair-SkyShed steel pier can be installed to eliminate vibration for longer exposure CCD imaging. The Altair-SkyShed Pier is constructed from 8" diameter, 6mm thick steel tube. The pier head any fins are made from 6mm laser cut steel with an extremely tough, gloss black powder coat. 4x 16mm steel metric bolts are used for levelling the pier head and the pier head can be rotated too. This makes the Altair-SkyShed Pier the easiest-to-install and most innovative pier design on the market today - becasue it can be adjusted after installation. Each pier is supplied with 4x L-Bolts and a template for installation into soft concrete, or 4x straight bolts for installation into existing hard concrete surfaces using construction epoxy as per your preference. If you install decking as a base for your POD to raise it off the ground, the pier is best installed in such as way as to protrude up through the decking without touching the wooden slats (about a half inch gap is fine) thereby isolating the pier from vibration caused by people walking on the decking. To the left is an example of the pier base protruding through the wooden decking without touching the deck at all. You can walk about on the decking without disturbing your telescope during an imaging run if you use this simple approach to installation. Altair-SkyShed piers have a standard hole pattern on the adjustable pier-top which allows you to use the Altair TMS pier adapter range, which fit most popular equatorial mounts on the market, including the EQ6, HEQ5, EQ5, CGE-5, CGEM and the iOptron iEQ45.

Check your scope, mount fit & pier height. You can check to see how your scope fits into the POD with this nifty piece of software designed by POD customer Ian Shatwell. The file is available on the SkyShed POD UK user groupInstructions for download: Simply join the user group, click on “Files” in the left-hand navigation, download Observatory.exe, and double click to run it on your PC. You can enter your scope and mount size, even your counterweight length, and slew the virtual telescope around in real-time to check your sky view, finding the best offset position for your mount. Very useful for big Newtonians & refractors.


Join the SkyShed pod EU user group to exchange tips with other POD observatory owners.


POD Reviews:
Astronomy journalist Steve Barnes wrote a review in Canadian Astronomy Magazine SkyNews. Read the SkyShed POD review. Read the Insight Magazine article about the POD Observatory and it's role in science & physics education for UK Schools. We're also proud to announce we've our first POD in a UK School, and we've just delivered a POD to Jodrell Bank Observatory.
Watch the POD Assembly Video on You Tube: 
For those of you who are about to receive PODs and would like to get a jump on the assembly video, you can view an online abridged version of the setup DVD you will receive with your POD. The video will show you just how easy it is to set up your POD. View video: Part 1 Part 2 ,Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9   


POD Wall & Bay upgrade options:
Upgrade: Benefit: Image: Extra Cost:
Black Lined POD Bay Increase in strength, IR blocking and improved insulation. This upgrade isn't essential for cool countries like the UK.
Click to enlarge image.
£75 per Bay
POD colour options: (note walls & domes can be different colours)
Colour: Dome: Walls & Bays:
Discovery White
Lunar Grey
Midnight Grey none
Forest Green none
Desert Tan

Plan your observatory with POD Dimension graphics.

The SkyShed POD Customer Gallery. All sorts of telescopes are shown here including large
SCT's on equatorial mounts. Please send pics!
A POD installed on decking and a refractor. We recommend at least 3 POD Bays
(XL3) and a pier for more leg room.

21 people 
just kind of hanging aroundin a POD Remember to Keep your POD locked when not in use, or this could happen to you.

POD Beta testing presentation with sound and video, eerie red lighting, and shadows too.
Join the SkyShed pod EU user group to exchange tips and experiences with other POD observatory owners.

 The POD is easy to transport, and will fit easily into delivery a van or small trailer. Customers often bring their own van to pick their POD up at our premises to save on shipping costs - and for a cup of tea!


POD UK Delivery options & price: You can either pick your POD up at our warehouse with prior appointment or we can have it delivered to you at £1.70 per mile from our postcode NR11 6ER according to Google maps with default settings. To work out your delivery price go to Google maps, search for our warehouse postcode above and click on "directions", then type in your own address. Mileage will display on the left hand side. Please note delivery dates need to be pre-arranged with us and Saturday deliveries are not available. For Europe please contact us.

Ordering your POD: Please contact us to order your POD. You cannot order this product online because it is made-to-order in Canada.



Customer feedback

Customer Reviews

  • Author: Ted Muller
    This is one of the best observatory concepts ever and not only does it look larger in real life than in the pictures but it's incredibly tough, in fact indestructible is putting it lightly. The dome is easy to rotate and my scope is ready within a few minutes of opening the dome. The instruction DVD is easy to follow but make sure you watch it to get things in the right order and use the pause button. Installation requires two adults or one adult, and or an impatient teenager.

    My advice is not to cut the seals until you've installed them. You need to order the Lexel sealant and I used about one and a quarter tubes, so had quite a bit left over. I installed mine on decking as advised with the 8" pier (another excellent product) and I'm confident I can move my whole observatory quite easily if I move further out from the city.

    Delivery and dealing with Altair Astro was easy and all my questions were fielded quickly. My telescope has never been used this much, and be warned you may decide on a better telescope before long! Enjoy!
  • Author: Marcus Allbright
    My Pod arrived 3 months after ordering it although I paid about a month before actually receiving it. A minor mishap with a damaged seal was resolved quickly and easily and altogether I've enjoyed the product and meeting Ian and Nick from Altair who are a pleasure to deal with.

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