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Telescope Making

Over the years I have been interested in designing and building telescopes and optics.   These projects have included making optics, various dobsonian telescopes, and a 14.5″ RC f8 telescope for CCD Imaging.  My current telescope project is rather massive in scale compared to previous designs.  I am now in the middle of designing and building a 24″ f8 RC telescope and supporting Fork Mount.  The design is shown below in concept form as envisioned back in 2007.

The instrumentation that I plan on using for the 24″RC will include a Secondary Focus System, built-in Instrument Rotator, MMOAG Off-Axis Guider, Apogee U16M-HC CCD Camera, and an Apogee 50-7S filterwheel.  Below is a Field of View (FOV) comparison with U16M camera (4096 x 4096  9 micron pixels).

Here is an updated photo on the progress of the Optical Tube Assembly (OTA).  Shown below is the camera instrumentation mounted to the Backplate assembly, which is mounted to the lower steel truss assembly.  Also shown in the photo is the Instrumetn Rotator system.  All this has now undergone testing and is in the final stages of cleaning up the system wiring and interface to the instrumentation.  Also completed is the primary mirror collimation adjusters.  The Backplate Assembly is actually a composite structure made up of aluminum, fiberglass honeycomb nomex and steel — all designed for light weight support of the Primary Mirror and associated instrumentation.

Field of View (FOV) comparison:  Full frame with FSQ-106;  Small box shows FOV with 24″RC :

Lower Fork Mount Assembly

This project has progressed in its development, with many of the structural elements already fabricated for both the Fork Mount and the Optical Tube Asembly (OTA).  The photo above shows the newly completed Wedge and Mount assemblies as mounted on a “mock pier” in my shop.  Next in the construction line-up is the Fork assembly.  When completed, this 24″ RC telescope will be installed and operational at my JMSM Observatory, located in southern New Mexico.   An interesting aspect of this design will be its construction of high-tech composite materials, such as carbon fiber and honeycomb nomex materials.  Shown below is a peak at the 24″ Primary Mirror (with its proud owner) for this telescope — waiting for its final resting place in the soon to be completed OTA.

Since this web site is under development, much of the content is yet to be added.  Check back for more images on the status of this project and images of other telescope projects of years past.     Clear Skies!    -Mike Sherick

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2 comments to Telescope Making

  • Mike,
    I was a little lost here. I had become so accustomed to your previous site. This one is great too. I enjoyed the web cams of your observatory, telescope and weather deatails though. Maybe you’ll add those elements again. I still want to visit your observatory and home some day–I just have’nt had the time yet, but I will some day. I cant wait to see the new RC when it is installed.

    Anyway, we are having our annual Easter sunrise service at lake Casitas tomorrow at sunrise. It will be gloriious as it has been for the past many years. The church I attend (OVCC) coordinates this public event. In fact we just arrived home after moving all the tables and chairs out to the lake.

    Praise him!
    Jeff Bennett

  • Yes, the optics are for a 24″ f8 RC. I hope to have it operational sometime this year.

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