Observa - DOME Laboratories Design Commitment

A company is known by the company it keeps. We keep company with the Stars.

Professional astro-scientists, here in the U. S. and throughout the free world, seem to favor us for the very good reason that we are more experienced than other dome manufacturers. We’ve been building observatory and tracking shelters to meet the exacting requirements of professionals for the past 35 years – longer than anybody else.

But we point with equal pride to having made it possible for schools, colleges, and amateur astronomers to obtain fine observatory domes often despite severely limited budgets. While their domes may have been built on a smaller scale, they were built to the same high standards of quality and precision as those which have won us the respect of professionals the world over.

Very simply, quality products are the only kind we care to offer. It is this attitude, perhaps, which most distinguishes Observa-Dome and its Products from other manufacturers and theirs. Through our ceaseless exploration of new methods and materials, dome design and construction here has evolved from an architectural art to an exact physical science. Thanks to this dedication to continual improvement, we are ever able to enjoy the rewarding feeling that our last dome was our best – and that our next will be still better.

European Southern Observatory16.5 Meter Observa-DOME
European Southern Observatory
La Silla, Chile

Our next dome must be better. The entire observatory system of today must be so planned that it cannot be rendered obsolete by the advances of tomorrow. For this reason, we incorporate features into our designs to keep our domes competitive with anticipated developments. By way of example, with computers and microprocessors already demonstrating capabilities, which today make automation of observatory systems a reality – and tomorrow will make it a necessity – Observa-Dome takes automation very seriously. We make provisions throughout our entire product line for precise point-to-point positioning. And our know-how in the area of servo-operated missile-tracking facilities enables us to offer – at remarkably low cost – electronic solid state integrated circuit encoder systems of the highest reliability.

While we manufacture standard domes ranging from two to twenty-five meters in diameter, we are prepared to construct domes of virtually any size to suit the requirements of particular installations. All of our standard observatory domes revolve a full 360 degrees to permit the pointing of a telescope in any direction. All are equipped with our bi-parting shutter system – easily opened for observation, easily closed for protection – which, over long experience, we have found generally preferable to the up-and-over and clamshell systems.

From long experience, too, we have determined that all-aluminum construction is, in most applications, preferable to steel, aluminized steel, or fiberglass. With only one-third the mass, aluminum disperses heat more efficiently than steel or fiberglass; unlike fiberglass, aluminum is not adversely affected by ultra-violet radiation; unlike steel, aluminum does not rust and requires no painting. We utilize our patented heliarc-welded all-aluminum construction even in our most affordable domes, the Silver Series.

Saudi Arabia National Center For Science & TechnologySaudi Arabia National Center For Science & Technology
Site 3 of 4, Eastern Mountain Range, Saudi Arabia

Our products are designed and fabricated to meet the most extreme environmental conditions imaginable. You will find Observa-Dome systems in the world’s highest readily accessible observatory (the University of Denver’s, Mount Evans, Colorado, 14,274 feet above mean sea level) and in the world’s lowest (at the U. S. Naval Missile Range, El Centro, California, 80 feet below mean sea level).

A recent technological breakthrough in this area is our development of a revolutionary design for larger domes; the combination of a hardy exterior skin, a smooth aluminum inner skin and an integrated box section assembly adds exceptional structural rigidity while providing thermal insulation and positive ventilation.


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.


Equipped with computers and microprocessors, our domes demonstrate the capabilities of automation in observatory systems, technology that will make outstanding new research possible.  We make provisions throughout our product line for precise point-to-point positioning and solid state integrated circuit encoder systems with the highest level of reliability.  With a wide range of sizes, 360 degree directional movement, state-of-the-art technology and the strongest and most durable protective materials on the market, we build our domes to outlast the environment as well as the technology of tomorrow.


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.