Completion: 2000

The observatory is my dissertation from architecture.
The layout is based on the oval shape of contour lines and the triangular supporting monoliths, the placement of which is subject to a suitable observation point – the dome.
At the beginning of the project I went for consultation with the astronomers from Valašské Meziříčí, Kleť, the Petřín observatory and especially fromOndřejov.
Mr. Ladislav Křivský spent the most time with me and gave me very important recommendations regarding the necessary functions and tasks of an observatory.
First I had to find the right location for observing the stars and the Sun.
Thus I looked in the climatological and hydrometeorlogical maps and compared other recommended criteria. That is how I found the Vlastec hill in the Křivoklát area.
- The advantage of the “People’s observatory,” that I wanted to design is the location.
To pique the public’s interest about that which goes beyond us. Another reason, the main one, is the frequent observer’s luck in celestial phenomena, which are only visible in the given place where the observatory is located.
In 1998 Ondřejov astronomers observed solar eruptions that are allegedly only visible once in a hundred years. These eruptions were not observed anywhere else in the world.
Thanks to these facts I became more convinced that scientific and popularised observatories scattered throughout the land are necessary.
Vlastec Hill is located about 10 km from the Berounka River, in an area of old medieval castles such as Točník, Křivoklát, Žebrák and Krakovec.
I also came to a partial idea about the observatory in connection to this strong atmosphere.
The Vlastec Observatory is physically similar to a castle in many of its functions.
The first courtyard is flat with a lawn reinforced by local stones. Its territory is defined by two arms, two water drainpipes, two walls. They are the roots, two guard posts. Climbing plants in the arms – flower pots, climbing the concrete façade, thereby evening out the temperature differences between day and night that arise.
There is a rough stone tile on which it is possible to drive a heavy lorry. 
It is a space that divides the space in the direction of the three towers or three staircases.
The vertical communication and its shape are given by the triangular cross-section of the column that has a separate foundation because it only bears the telescope or coelostat. Thus it is separated by dilatation. 
The foundation is in a sand-cushioned bed, which absorbs any shocks in the ground or the building.
The monolith is built up with walls at a distance of 10-30 cm that bear the dome, elevator and stairs.
The main division of the building runs along the axis.
The north wing is for the public, the south for scientists.
Such a layout is mainly accommodating to the scientists primarily for the reasons of the Sun’s movement across the south side of the observatory, where the state of the sky is easier to control. The professional workplaces and accommodations are located here.
On the first floor there is a photo laboratory, library, club room and a room with computers that are connected to CCD cameras.
The cameras transmit the momentary visual information from the sky.
On the second floor there is a restaurant and exhibition spaces.
There is a carpentry and mechanical workshop in the north wing. Special devices such as spectrographs, meteoritic radars, telescopes and parts of telescopes are often made on-site in observatories.
Each place has its observational advantages and its more refined specialisation will develop after the observatory goes into operation.
A diesel generator, which is on standby for when there is no supply of electricity, is located at the entrance in the west wing. Neither solar nor wind energy is sufficient during a long-term power failure to move large domes.
There is a backup battery for the computers to ensure an instantaneous restart.
Ing. Lenža from Valmez pointed out the necessity of backup power supplies to me: “When there is a power outage that makes it impossible for them to observe a phenomenon visible only once in a lifetime, astronomers will throw themselves from a window.”
The only room in the axis of the building is the hall. The hall goes through two floors and is useable as a social, lecture or projection space.
A seismic concrete bunker is embedded into the ground. It is accessible by the stairs from the east tower.
We can take three stairwells or the elevators to get to the roof terrace that fulfils the function of a roof, park, viewing area and rest space on the level of the treetops. The green areas regulate the air temperature, so it prevents the air from shimmering when observing the sky.
The east dome – the Sun tower, is to the east of the observatory. The telescopes inside it are configured to observe the Sun. Astronomers mainly observe the Sun in the morning, when it is at its most visible. Inside the dome there are three refracting telescopes for parallactic montages.
The first, with a diameter of 250 mm, observes the Sun’s photosphere. Another telescope with a diameter of 200 mm monitors the chromosphere and the last, with a diameter of 200 mm is a telescope that is focussed on protuberances in the corona. Thus it is a protuberance coronograph.
This is for the observation of the various spheres around the Sun with each sphere showing different physiological characteristics, observable by specially-modified telescopes.
Next in line for daytime observances is the south tower. The Sun turns around the south tower from the morning and if it is not overcast it is constantly observable.
The coelostat is located in this tower. A coelostat is a system of two or more mirrors that send an image of the Sun through a hollow monolithic tower to the solar chamber. A multi-camera spectrograph is located in the chamber.
This obtains the spectrum of solar eruptions and their direct impact can immediately be photographed on photographic plates.
Spectral and meteoritic whole-sky cameras are also part of the south tower. They monitor the daytime sky during the day and the nighttime sky during the night. Thus at night it is possible to observer meteors that fly over, for example. Each camera is pointed at a different position. Together, however, they see the entire sky of our hemisphere. Thanks to this configuration of the cameras, it is possible to calculate the paths of the meteors as they fly over and their speed in the solar system.
The last suspended tower is the north tower, the tower for the public. The telescope in it has no specialisation like the others. This telescope also works on the basis of parallactic montages. That means that its axis points towards Polaris. The earth axis on Vlastec is at an inclination of approx. 49.5°.
The telescope has a lens with a diameter of 250 mm and is used for daytime and nighttime observations. And photometric measurements are performed here.
The central dome is dominated by a telescope with a diameter of 1000 mm. It is more suited for nighttime observations.
All of the domes have a moveable hydraulic floor.
This is here instead of the classic astronomer's ladder. The hydraulic floor makes it easier to observe and to adjust the telescope in the path of the given celestial body on the clock mechanism. Thus one person is capable of operating the dome.
Each dome has three hydraulic cylinders that are anchored in the three upper points of the load-bearing walls. An equilateral wall with a triangular layout bears the rest of the dome.
A ramp leads to the dome, which allows wheelchair access. The ramp, from the topmost elevator station, is made of steel mesh, in order to allow snow to fall through. The ramp is not covered, again for thermal reasons.
The elevator cannot go all the way up to the dome because it creates weak tremors.
Metal spikes, on which segments of cloth tarp can be fastened, jut out from the small domes.
The observatory is connected to the Hydrometeorological Institute's network of meteorological and climatological stations.

Observatory on Vlastec Mountain

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