All Observa-Dome exposed exterior surfaces are Aluminum. Unlike steel, aluminum will not rust. Unlike fiberglass, aluminum is not subject to UV degradation. We have domes in service today that were built over 50 years ago. Our dome and base rings are fabricated and welded in sections with steel, and not rolled angle or plywood. They are round within a tolerance of 1/8”.

Our classic Bi-parting shutter design allows for fast closure and is watertight in tropical downpours. The cantilever design shutter tracks are completely enclosed inside the dome, and not exposed to the weather. The tracks utilize permanently lubricated sealed ball-bearing V-Groove wheels. Our shutter gear motor is located on the lower shutter track, and no drip pan is required.

Our Intermediate Series dome suspension wheels, with precision ball bearings, utilize a donut-shaped polyurethane tread. This allows for a silent and low-friction movement. Our friction pneumatic azimuth drive system provides not only quiet dome rotation, but more importantly, extremely fast slew rates of up to 25 degrees per second can be achieved.

We are authorized to install and test the ACE Smart Dome, a computer automation package, at our facility. This is ASCOM-compliant, and allows for Observa-Dome control, via the internet or network. This is not a remote door opener.


Observa-Dome Laboratories is designing observatory systems for the advances of tomorrow, with features and technology that will never be rendered obsolete. As the most experienced observatory dome designer and manufacturers in the field, we are tackling the needs of the industry to revolutionize the study of the stars.

Our Observa-Domes are manufactured using advanced computer-controlled cutting and fabrication equipment. We are able to offer any custom-size Observa-Dome, please contact us for any custom inquiries. 

Several popular sizes are listed below with links to detailed drawings.

7.0 Meter Observa-DOME Front and Side Elevations.pdf

We accommodate custom sizes and designs up to 18 meters in diameter and provide flat roof adapters or matching cylindrical bases instead of fixed base angle rings. The bas cylinder uses only a steel framework with aluminum exterior panels and a commercial steel door. We also offer a wide shutter aperture of up to 40% of the dome diameter.

Interior closed-cell neoprene insulation to prevent condensation is available as well as exterior and interior paint for architectural purposes or near coastal saltwater conditions. Additionally, you can depend on us for double skin and insulated construction for severe environmental conditions and dome lightning protection.

We recently installed an Observa-Dome designed to be operational after 170 mph typhoon conditions. Within months, design winds were recorded on site, and the dome remained intact and fully operational. You can ask us for a comprehensive structural engineering and analysis report for specific geographical locations.


Observa-Domes are designed to withstand some of the most extreme environmental conditions, found anywhere in the world. Observa-Dome is the only observatory dome manufacturer in the United States able to provide a detailed Structural Analysis bearing the stamp of a registered professional engineer! Our engineers are licensed in many states here in the US.

Because of the numerous variations of local zoning & building codes found both here in the US, and around the world, structural loads such as wind, snow, rain, and seismic, can vary significantly depending on location. By knowing these criteria beforehand, we are able to design and fabricate our Observa-Dome to meet or exceed conditions found anywhere in the world.

Our engineers develop a computer structural finite element model using STAADPro software as published by Research Engineers International, of Yorba Linda, CA. This analysis software has the capability of computing a wide range of stresses and forces within the elements and is able to produce graphical representations showing stress level contours throughout the model.

Sample 5-Meter Diameter Structural Analysis

You will find Observa-Dome systems in the world’s highest accessible observatories — 14,274 feet above sea level — the lowest areas — 80 feet below sea level — as well as some of the hottest climates and most tumultuous weather extremes.

Whatever you need for your observatory, we are ready to rise to the challenge and build an exceptional dome for you. For more information about astronomy and observatory domes for sale, please contact us today.


Proper installation is essential to successful functionality and use of the dome and we take great care to make sure that each piece is seamlessly installed.

Take a closer look at the installation process and see a small piece of the colossal effort and careful planning required to successfully install this essential piece at the New Orlando Science Center in Orlando, Florida.

Installation Process