in the shadows behind every man’s success, there
sits a woman. As is the case this time as well, Audrey helped me lay
the cloth and saturate it with resin while working on the
dome, the dome wall and surrounding roof. Large amounts of resin had to
be mixed at times with hardener
and the cloth had to be completely saturated and
air bubbles rolled out with an iron roller. Time was very limited in
order to prevent a batch from getting hard before it was properly
applied. Without her help the work would have been so much more
difficult and would have taken much longer to complete.
This photo was taken from part way up the stairway looking through the dome floor opening. This opening would later be the hinged portion of the floor allowing entry into the dome. This was a beautiful warm day as I finished the wood working phase of the dome wall. This wall and the dome floor is completely insulated with rockwool insulation.
Taken from Emley’s Hill to the west of the observatory. It shows The Twillingate Astronomical Observatory in the little community of Gillard’s Cove. The highest point on Twillingate Island is the large hill in the upper left portion of the photo and is called the Top of Twillingate, so you might say that the observatory is at the bottom of the Top of Twillingate. It may be surprising to note that despite the hills, the view of the night sky is not very restricted.
This photo reminds me that I had a long way to go although at the time I was quite happy to have finally got started. It shows the ten foot diameter ring built on the floor and approximately half of the vertical ribs secured to the ring on the floor and the hub at the top. Spacings on the ring were equally marked where each rib was fastened and corresponding markings were made on the hub showing where the top of each rib was to be fastened. It is surprising how very few ribs I was able to get from a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood. The ribs were later doubled up on the outside edge of the rib to allow for a thicker edge when the sheeting phase started. At least an inch was needed where two pieces of sheeting came together. During the construction of the framework , or the placement of the vertical and the lateral ribs there were no nails used. I used deck screws and pre drilled a portion of each hole.
This is a picture of the completed dome after it came from the shed where it was constructed. The dome had to be tipped up on to its edge in order to insert the shutter on its rail. After the shutter was in place fiberglass blocks were glassed into place to prevent the shutter from coming off at either end. The piece of blue tarpaulin to the right covers the hole I sawed in the shed with a power saw to make enough space to get the dome through the door. Audrey and I put the dome on temporary rollers and made a crude track. With this arrangement the two of us were able to very easily roll the dome out of the shed in a position on the track where the boom truck was able to pick it up and place it on its flat bed for transportation to the observatory. The water to the right is the Atlantic ocean.
This is an image showing all of the vertical and horizontal ribs in place. Part of the sheeting is also under way. The sheeting could only be done in small sections covering one rectangular section at a time. At this phase I must admit I didn’t know how spherical this dome would be when it was completed since I had not done any project of this design before. There were lots of measurements and plenty of angled cuts.
This photo shows the dome on the flat bed in front of the observatory. The two foot wide extension at the bottom of the dome was made larger than the dome itself. This was to allow that portion to pass down outside of the dome wall until the shoe of the dome, the visible ridge, to which the 45 pairs of rollers were attached, came into contact with the top of the dome wall on the observatory. At the bottom of the shutter opening two weather blocks are in place that make contact with the shutter when it is closed, preventing weather from getting into the dome . There are also two similar weather blocks at the top of the shutter opening that make contact with the shutter when it is closed.
A view of the dome securely in place. You may notice a four inch wide rubber band fastened to the extreme bottom edge of the dome. This gently makes contact with the outside of the dome wall and helps prevent any weather from going up under the dome. Before weather can get inside it has to move in a very narrow space over two feet up before it reaches the rollers and then another eight inch weather block that also covers the rollers on the inside, which prevents anything from getting inside the dome. The black box mounted on the roof is Newfoundland's camera #3 of the North American Camera Fireball Network of MIAC (Meteorite Impact Advisory Committee).
This photo shows all of the drive system except the fluid
control valve. The black object to the left is a combination unit
consisting of a two hp electric motor (only the top of it is visible)
from which a flexible metal tube containing a power cord travels to the
power switch. The other feature of the combination unit (again
only top portion visible) is the hydraulic fluid reservoir with the
filler cap visible. The last feature of this unit is built and placed
within the reservoir and this is the hydraulic pump from which two
lines come and travel to the control valve (not shown).
The expression on my face might indicate that in addition to the gears turning in front of me, one might hope there are some turning as smoothly in my head, even though they sometimes feel out of sync or jammed completely!