Shahin Shahr Observatory is known as the first observatory in Shahin Shahr and the most advanced amateur observatory in the country. The observatory was designed and constructed in 2014-15 by IPTEC Co. The dome of this observatory is a cylindrical type which has 5.2 meters diameter, and its movable structure has a weight about 2700 kg. Its shutter type is symmetric crosswise slider with a width of 1.8 meters. This dome has the widest shutter in Iran and can utilize a telescope with a 1.5-meter diameter mirror if it builds in the desert or mountain sites. Additionally, its angular aperture has a range from zero to 111°.
In order to increase the accuracy of the dome rotation, the monorail technology has been utilized for the first time in the observatories of the country. This system transfers all vertical and lateral loads on a precise circular rail by five wagons (bogies) fastened to the main part of movable chassis of the dome.
The driving system of this dome comprises a 1.5 kW servo motor and a planetary gearbox with 1:25 ratio. The system is capable to rotate the dome synchronously with the telescope at different speeds. The transmission system of this set is an interior spur gear that has a 1:36 ratio. By considering these two ratios, the dome can be rotated at very low speeds (Auto Tracking). This dome is the only dome in Iran with a gear power transmission system that can meet all the needs of an observatory dome for high power precise rotation. This spur gear system is made of a very durable, lightweight, and lubrication-free polymer which leads to reduce inspection and maintenance.
It should be noted that at all phases of the design including the dome structure, the power transmission system, or the monorail system, according to necessity and importance, mechanical calculations and precise engineering analysis have been performed on the critical components of the dome, as some examples illustrated in the following figures. The most critical weather or geological conditions such as storms or earthquakes also has been taken into account in the design of the dome. Using the most advanced and up-to-date softwares, IPTEC group has simulated conditions such as facing with a storm at a speed of 80 kilometers per hour and applying its results to the design process of the structure.
Appropriate seals have been used in all moving parts of this dome in order to prevent the entry of dust and humidity into the dome. Also, 10 to 20cm empty spaces between the exterior and interior shells of the body and ceiling of the dome and its shutters have been filled with glass and rock wool insulation which cause the least energy transfer between inside and outside of the observatory.
Supported by its state-of-the-art intelligent software and hardware control system, the Observatory’s dome can operate in a full-robotic manner and synchronous with the telescope, or even more important can be controlled through the Internet.
The observatory’s lighting system, using modern LEDs, can be controlled in both manual and automatic modes, which can illuminate the interior wall of the dome with white and red light. According to the measurements accomplished during the design of the observatory, the dome and shutter structure was constructed so that no light from urban sources could enter the observatory space and interfere the telescope operation.
The main purpose of the construction of this observatory is to create a permanent and useful base for those interested in teaching and learning astronomy. Since this observatory located in a suitable position among the observatories built in the urban space, it can provide a qualified platform for doing astronomical researches. It is hoped that by launching this observatory, we could to take a small step in developing and disseminating astronomy science.