Home

Don Westergren lives in San Diego and has an observatory on private property on Mt Laguna, about 45 miles east of San Diego.  The observatory is a 10 ft dome (home made - geodesic foam and fiberglass).  It has a warm control room so observing is comfortable in all seasons, with temperatures from 12°F to over 80°F.  It is at 6,000 ft above MSL.  Skies are fairly dark and often get to 1 arc-second seeing.

I designed the dome back in 2003 and built two of them - the other one is for a friend and located about 20 feet west of mine. They are a nominal 10 foot
diameter, made from 1" thick styrene "blue' foam covered with about 3 layers of 8 oz fiberglass cloth inside and 4 layers outside plus epoxy resin. The base ring is laminated 2 layers of 3/4" plywood. The geodesic design is the classic "Buckminister Fuller" using hexagons and pentagons. Cost for each dome was about $2,000, including motorized fittings for automatically tracking the dome to the scope view. The 30" wide slot doors are manually opened using nylon rope/pulleys. The observatory is not a remote operation - I enjoy going there to "observe".

I didn't "make plans" but rather used a spreadsheet to determine the size of panels and rings. The I just "made them". I have lots of pictures, and it took
two of us about 7 months to make the two domes (plus a bunch of friends for some fiber glassing parties).

I have been doing astrophotography from this site since late 1996, when I bought an AstroPhysics 1200 QMD mount (push-GOTO).  In October 2008 I converted it to the SiTech servo system.  You can see it on my  AP1200 Conversion page.