Monday, July 24, 2017

Peter and his 14" Kit . . .

Peter, in Canmore, Alberta, Canada is assembling one our kits. This one is a 14". Here's what Peter has to say so far (Note: Looking greater Peter):

Hi Dennis: 

Here's the assembled rocker box. The sides weren't quite square after I put them together so I lined up one of the sides to the bottom board, screwed in that side and used my large clamps to square up the other sides with the bottom board. I then put the rest of the screws in and all is now nice and square. 


Tom's OTA -- Almost Complete . . .

The mirror box. Note the black anodized struts. All aluminum, except
for the mirror cell, will be black anodized or powder coated.
This telescope has the Easy Transport Telescope option
Note the bottom half of the struts, about 21" long for
this F3.92 focal length. Nice 'n small!!

And with the Intermediate Ring in place. This
not only allows the struts to be one-half the length
but adds some rigidity to the assembly.

The "top half" of the struts.
Add the top ring, with focuser, spider and
secondary, and the OTA is virtually complete.

The total strut length is 42.5"

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Star-B-Que and More ...

Your truly and Linda with my 13.1" F4.5
with Swayze Optics mirror.
 A delightful evening of bar-b-que and astronomy at Ostahowski Optics in Anza, California. In case you may not be aware, Terry Ostahowski was the optician behind Discovery Telescopes for many years.

Check out his website here.

OTA for Tom's 12.5" F3.92....

Tom's OTA components are nearing completion. 

The spider is a Destiny 3-vane curved-vane, Moonlite 2-speed focuser
and Dobstuff 6-point flotation mirror cell. Nice!!

Will and his 13.1" Telescope . . .

Hi Dennis: 

Here’s a glamour shot of the scope at Pinnacles National Park.  We actually moved to a less scenic location, but with better horizons, for observing.

It was a fun night.  Even though it’s a bit past prime time for spring galaxies, my first target once it was sufficiently dark (after some nice views of Jupiter and especially Saturn) was M51.  Interesting coincidence, the “pinnacles” that give Pinnacles its name come from a volcano that erupted 23 million years ago…just about the same time the light we’re seeing from M51 started its journey.  The arms were apparent, but the northwestern sky at Pinnacles is the worst direction to look in terms of distant light domes.

I spent the rest of the night revisiting favorites among the milky way from Scorpius and Sagittarius up through Cygnus.  Nebulae looked bigger and brighter, and clusters richer with stars, than I’d ever seen them.  I spent a fair bit of time just panning around with a nearly 1.5° field of view provided by a 31mm Baader Hyperion Aspheric, with more detailed views provided by 20 and 11mm eyepieces.  My highest power eyepiece is a 6.7mm yielding about 223x, which I used on the planets, tracking was very easy at that power and I’m sure it could have done well at considerably higher powers if conditions and targets warranted tracking down a Barlow.

Incidentally, I have somewhat figured out the meaning of the circled “-2” on the side of the Coulter mirror.  It definitely has to do with the actual (as opposed to nominal) focal length (, although it’s not clear to me what the units are…definitely not inches but might be % (

Take care,

Bob's 16" . . .

Bob, from Princeton, New Jersey, sent along a photo
of his 16" telescope (ETT with strings) setup in
his garage. Now, to get the telescope under the stars!!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Will's 13.1" Telescope with Travel . . .

Hi Dennis,

The storage/travel struts arrived today.  Now I have a 13” telescope that is very stable and smooth but easily packs away into a small hall closet, pretty nice.  There’s even room for jackets to hang above the telescope.  The full length struts are on a shelf above.

The forecast for Saturday’s dark sky trip is looking good, too.  :)

Take care,