Panorama of Cloudcroft High School as seen from the main street (James Canyon Highway, NM HWY 82)
Door is 5'8" tall, and top of door is 7'6" above observatory floor.
Note chain along bottom - will make it easier to motorize for dome rotation. This is the rear view...showing two vertical tracks that guide the shutter as it's opened.
Chain along bottom of dome periphery.
10-inch square steel, 33 inches tall...might be good for a pier?
12 1/2 inch round steel, 51 inches tall.
View of top/inside of dome, showing 8-foot wide slit and chain for opening slit.
Closeups of slit opening device (chain, sprocket, and shaft)...does not appear to have a gear reducer.
One of several wheel assemblies (and adjustment plate) that allow dome to rotate in azimuth.
Multiple views of the 'wedge' for the Meade telescope. This device will convert the scope from alt-az to equatorial orientation.
Threaded rod and handle are used to change polar axis elevation.
Note 1/4 inch diameter pin that is used to adjust azimuth pointing of the wedge to allow for polar axis alignment.
Recommended pier heigh: 45 1/2 inches...assuming that a typical high school student has an eye height near 60 inches, and when observing an object in the sky on the equator and meridian.
(From NM Tech, similar dome) Upper left: The whole dome on wheels. The box just to the right of the light fixture is the dome rotation mechanism.
Upper right: The dome rotation housing. You can just barely see the cog wheel that rotates the dome.
Lower right: The rotation motor exposed. You can see the chain wrapped around the dome and the cog wheel that is engaged with the chain.
Lower left: A close up of the cog and chain.
Upper left: Close up of the gear chain under the cog wheel.
Upper right: The rotation housing closed up again.
Lower right: The dome shutter or slot. The shutter opens in two parts. The top part is cranked open and the bottom part slides to the right on the two wheels that you can see just below the handle.
Lower left: The shutter opening mechanism. This currently a hand crank affair.
Upper left: Close up of the shutter opening mechanism. The aluminum rod hanging down turns the gear on the left which turns the gear on the right. The second gear rotates a cog gear that is engaged with the bicycle chain that runs down the center of the shutter.
Upper right: In this image the hand crank has been stowed against the north side of the dome. The shutter opens from the left.
Lower left: Shows the bicycle chain that is used to raise the shutter.
Lower right: Another view of the bicycle chain.
Upper left: The two parts of the shutter partially open seen from the outside. Notice the two gray wheels on the bottom part of the shutter.
Upper right: the two parts of the shutter partially open seen from the inside.
Lower right: also from the outside.
Lower left: The wheel well and wheel that the bottom of the shutter uses to open and close.
Upper left: close up of the upper shutter drive mechanism. The gear on the left could be replaced with a motor to open it under computer control, if needed.
Lower left: Shutter locking mechanism. You are looking at the base of the shutter area. See the metal bar sticking straight out. It is a lever is supposed to engage some locks on the sides of the shutter.
Middle right: Locking mechanisms of the right side of the shutter. By moving the lever in the lower left image one way or the other you pull on the wire straps wrapped around the levers and lock or unlock the shutters to the dome. I have seen this on a number of domes and it never works very well. The tension adjustments are critical.
Example of a pier mounting flange (connects to concrete floor) for a 14-inch Meade SCT.
Example of a top mounting/adapter plate for a 14-inch Meade SCT that connects the top of the pier to the base of a 'wedge.'
Concrete pier has been poured, and we figured out the direction of true north (magnetic compass, street map, etc.) so that the wedge can be attached to the top mounting plate. In a few days we hope to have a cleanup day...getting close to operational!
21 Oct - cleanup/work day! Moving parts greased, area cleaned up, etc.
Lots of frozen bolts...penetrating oil, tapping with a hammer, and other tricks got most of them loosened.
Fiberglass dome - preparing the surface for some patching (bondo).
Interior fiberglass layer needs patching too.
With the shutter and door open...lots of light reaches inside the black dome...easier to work.
The horizontal door and vertical shutter now move over the full range of travel...but more adjustment and lubrication are needed for easy movement. (At least the entire dome rorates easily on its large casters.) The vertical shutter, when open (moved to the rear and down low), is a heavy weight...with no counterbalance. We may have to add a garage door spring as a counterbalance device to make it easier to move.
Thanks to the healthy turnout for cleanup day! We're much closer to operational status!
The pier's four pairs of push-pull screws were adjusted...the top plate is now level and ready to accept the telescope.
Indoor test of drives - they work! This is an LX-50...not a GOTO scope...need to hand push to the target, then use the motors for coarse and fine centering.
Handpad is very simple: four direction buttons, and one button that toggles between speeds of 32x, 16x, 4x, and 2x for centering the field. Declination drive is a tangent arm.
Motor bracket (again) now that I've looked at the AC gearhead motor...it makes sense. Top aluminum strap/band holds one end of the motor. Four bolts hold gearhed drive tang in place at bottom of picture. Four electrical connections required: two neutral's, and two hot's...allows reversing direction of motor from control panel near door.
Closeup of four electrical connections for the shutter/slit motor.
Alfred Medina tested the motor (runs just fine at 29 RPM) and labeled the connections.
Motor control panel. One switch is for dome lights, but most important is the motor control (open, off, close).
Fuse holder shown on upper left of box.
12 amp, 120VAC cartridge fuse needed for motor control panel. This one fuse is good...but we should stock up on a few more.
Here's the connector at the end of the motor control panel. We may have to modify this to a different plug arrangement...perhaps a typical 120VAC male plug...and only power the shutter motor, not any dome light circuits.
10-inch LX-50 test mounted on pier for the first time. Everything looks like it should work for the grand opening next week!
Grand opening! Twilight shot taken before the crowds came. It was a successful event, and we look forward to doing more of them!