A public outreach venture serving Southern California
The Bellcroft Observatory was built in 2008 at the private residence of Richard Stember the founder of Scopes-4-Schools, Inc..
The 6 foot diameter dome was selected to house the observatory's Meade LX200 10 inch SCT. The telescope sits atop a custom made aluminum pier anchored to a cement footing poured 32 inches deep into the ground. A Meade super wedge orients the telescope toward the north and allows for imaging without field rotation.
The observatory accommodates 2 - 3 observers comfortably. A built-in workstation holds a monitor and a laptop with room to spare for spreading out star charts and books.
The observatory's rotating dome was first fabricated from aluminum struts arranged in a geodesic dome then later replaced with a Technical Innovations dome.
The observatory sits at top of a hill (at approx. 900 feet in elevation), 1 hour south of Los Angeles in the city of Lake Forest. The horizon is visible from the observatory to both the south and west. On clear days (through a telescope) it is possible to see ships on the ocean, the LA Harbor and the Palos Verdes peninsula over 35 miles away!