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Portable Telescope & Observatory StarBubble ™

Shelter Systems‘ lightweight, portable telescope and observatory StarBubble astronomical domes are designed to protect astronomers and their telescopes from light, wind and dew. StarBubble telescope and observatory domes are freestanding and can be turned or moved easily. They are constructed with our white on the outside/black on the inside, light-blocking covering. This woven, ripstop covering will exclude all light from the interior of the observatory dome except for the opening for your telescope.

Shelter Systems’ StarBubble line was developed to developed to provide maximum interior space with a minimum footprint. We have taken our standard StarBubble™ and added an additional ring of poles and covering at the bottom, which creates more height with a smaller footprint. The walls actually come in a little at the bottom, like a bubble, so the diameter at the ground is about a foot less than the widest part of the dome. The StarBubble Dome has one door that is tall enough to enter without bending.
StarBubble Domes are adaptable to suit your needs. Two window flaps with Velcro closures are provided for your telescope and single panels or large sections can be removed and replaced when needed. The window openings are not cut by us nor are the window flaps installed. This way you can put them where you need them. We provide you with Velcro that is backed with sticky tape and two 3′ x 3′ window coverings of the White/Black so you can place the windows where you want them. Large sections of the roof can be remove. In fact the whole top if needed.

The dome is freestanding and can be moved or rotated very easily about your telescope (wind permitting). You can easily unhook the dome from its stakes and rotate it to one of 12 different positions and then re-hook the dome to its stakes. You can also unhook your dome and then lift and move your dome to expose your telescope. Note: once unhooked, your dome is very easily grabbed and carried away by even the smallest of winds. Read carefully our Wind Warning.

World’s Strongest Dome Tent Since 1976

Shelter Systems’ Geotensic Domes are known for their lightweight construction, large amount of light transmitted in, strength, and portability. They are made of a strong, tear resistant fabric and non-puncturing tarp fasteners, and are guaranteed leak proof.

Easy set up


The 10′, 14′, 18′ and 20′ StarBubble Domes can be set up by most people in less than 30 minutes without tools. Insert the interchangeable poles into factory-attached connectors spaced evenly over the cover. The poles bend slightly when inserted, tightening the cover into a wind- and waterproof shelter. The cover is freestanding, requiring no guy lines and can be moved into the desired position or location without disassembly. The StarBubble can be taken down in 5 minutes: just remove the poles and roll up the covering.

Sturdy design

Shelter Systems’ StarBubbles are stronger than any other structure made of the same materials. Because of its curved shape with no corners, there are no weak points. Our patented structure is drum tight, waterproof and wind-resistant. Shelter Systems’ Domes have the poles on the outside with the covering suspended under the frame via Shelter Systems’ own Grip Clips™ tarp fasteners, such that the frame and the covering are not in direct contact. Because the covering is under constant and even tension, the tent will not flap or shred in high wind, poles cannot rub against the covering, which would eventually wear holes in it, and water and leaf debris cannot get caught in dips between poles. The shingled panels of our Domes overlap each other by 6″, making the structure very strong and completely leak proof (we have a leak-proof guarantee for all of our domes). The shingling design allows the structure to breathe for excellent air circulation and so moisture is driven out by vapor pressure, preventing condensation. Shelter Systems’ patented Grip Clips™ tarp fasteners are used to join the dome’s cover to the pole frame and to fasten the shingled panels together. Grip Clips remove the need for sewn seams or grommets that puncture the cover, which would allow rain to enter.

Durable materials

The Covering is made wholly of a superstrong, tear-proof, white multilaminate woven ripstop film which will not rot or mildew. It is UV stabilized to withstand up to 3 years full sun exposure and treated with fire retardant. The fabric is a super strong, high tensile strength, rip-stop, completely waterproof, mildew resistant, and cannot be torn by hand even after it is cut. This US made, proprietary material is the finest material we could find to make our tents from.
The Poles are of high quality US made PVC that is admirable for its strength, resiliency, long life, natural UV stability for a long sun life, and its strength to weight and cost ratio. The poles we use are Class 200 PVC tubing.
Shelter Systems’ Patented Grip Clips that we use to join the domes cover to its poles are molded of a UV stabilized resin blended specifically for it high strength and durability.


Shelter Systems StarBubbles are reliable and affordable shelters. Our waterproof design does not require a rain fly and the particular geometric shape utilizes material efficiently. The high performance covering is affordable and the design and tarp fasteners used mean our tents are labor efficient to build.

Venus Dome


A Shelter System
Shelter Systems’ StarBubble Domes come complete with poles, 12″ long high-quality Durapeg stakes, guy lines for use in strong winds, ventilation tubes, spare parts (Grips Clips and pole connectors) and a complete Shelter Systems’ Instruction Manual. Our manual gives details about floors, site selection, anchoring, cooling, winterizing, and stove installation. Shelter Systems offers accessories to enhance functionality and versatility of your Dome, including sunshades, floors, porches, mosquito net doors, and more.

Shipping and storage

All Shelter Systems’ Domes are shipped by UPS and pack up into compact packages that one person can handle, take as baggage on a plane, transport in a car or store in a small space.


You get a lot more volume for your money as you go up in diameter. When you step inside the 18′ dome after being in the 14′, the 18′ feels twice as big. The 20′ feels twice the size of the 18′. This is because the extra feet in diameter extends out in all directions (including up) creating a large increase in volume. Since the surface area of the covering does not increase as rapidly as the volume, the larger domes are less expensive for the space you get. Our drawings effectively illustrate the different sizes we offer.

All StarBubbles™ are Special Orders and are non-returnable

Size (Diameter) Diameter Height at max. Doors Weight
10′ StarBubble™ 9 ft. 8.5 ft. 1 35 lb.
14′ StarBubble™ 13 ft 11 ft. 1 55 lb.
18′ StarBubble™ 15.5 ft. 13 ft. 1 80 lb.
20′ StarBubble™ 18.5 ft 15 ft. 1 95 lb.