Our Star Dome is named in remembrance of a wonderful mare who lived most of her life at Hidden Hollow Orchard near Pewee Valley, Kentucky. Her companion in retirement was Lily of Seabrook Valley who came to Kentucky from Virginia. In their youth, Star and Lily taught young and old riders about horses and life, and their telescope is here to teach everyone about the sky. The surrounding lily garden blooms in the spring.
The telescope seen here is a Takahshi TOA-150 apochromat, an extremely fine refracting telescope that is accessible for direct viewing, imaging with a digital color camera, or narrow-band imaging in Hα. It produces exquisite images of the sky over a flat wide field and with a full aperture solar filter it provides visitors with a view of sunspots, faculae, and solar limbdarkening. Click the image to see the Takahashi Mewlon-300 that may be used in the same dome. The telescope is mounted on an Astrophysics 1200 German equatorial that was a gift to the university from Dan Azari
The color image below was taken from this dome, December 5, 2019, with a Sony α 7R III digital mirrorless single lens reflex camera.
The dome is made from high density polyethylene. Resistant to ultraviolet light and weathering, it light enough to be easily opened and rotated by hand and strong enough to withstand Kentucky weather. The Sky-Shed-Pod enclosure was installed with the help of the Wedekind family (center) and the Louisville Astronomical Society on a single warm day in April 2019. The octagonal foundation was designed and built by Helen Kielkopf (left).