Telescope Making Class

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Plans for any future telescope making classes are on hold due to the current difficulty of obtaining good quality telescope mirrors at a modest price. 

This is largely due to Corning’s decision to no longer manufacture Pyrex glass.  There are other types of glass with low expansion characteristic’s similar to Pyrex (some even better) but they are notably more expensive.

You are still welcome to contact Bob Horton (see below) if you are interested, but we do not know when or if we will schedule another class.

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Explore the Night Sky with a Homemade Telescope

Have you ever wanted to explore the realms of the night sky? Would you like to view other worlds in our Solar System or see the majestic glories of the deep sky objects? Ever thought of owning a telescope to view celestial wonders?

Now you can have that telescope you’ve always wanted and see these night sky wonders. The Vermont Astronomical Society has put together a telescope workshop to assemble a telescope from a kit. You can easily assemble a powerful 6″ F/8 Newtonian Telescope at this workshop. No prior knowledge of telescope building is required. This telescope is far optically superior to the “typical box store telescope”. This telescope is not a toy but a powerful, portable instrument capable of revealing the following celestial wonders:

Solar System: See the Moon’s craters, valleys, and mountains; the dramatic phase changes of Venus; the polar caps of Mars; the nightly changes of Jupiter’s moons and colorful cloud belts; and the glories of Saturn’s ring system.

Deep Sky Objects: Split colorful double stars; resolve the gem like galactic star clusters; see the wispy shapes of distant nebulae; and observe galaxies millions of light years from Earth.

Welcome to the VAS Telescope Workshop!

The first order of business is to collect the fees for the workshop so that we can order the mirror kits and purchase the materials for the tube and mount. I’ve set the price at $340 for the whole kit minus any eyepieces.
For those of you that wish to also have us purchase eyepieces for you, we will work out the details at a later date. Estimates of about $160 for the eyepieces or about $500 for the whole scope kit with eyepieces.

If you can get a check made out to the VAS for the workshop fee sent to me at your earliest convenience, then I will order your mirror kits, which will take about 3 weeks to arrive. While we are waiting for the mirror kits, I will be purchasing the rest of the wood, tube and hardware (nuts, bolts, glue & screws) needed to assemble the telescope.

I’m anticipating that the first assembly meeting will probably occur sometime in February and we should be able to complete the scope in just a few weeks (4 maximum). There will be some homework involved, like applying flat-black paint to the inside of the tube and a color of your choice to the outside. The following is a rough plan of what each meeting will involve:

Week 1: Build Mirror Cell & Azimuth Base. Cut & Paint Tube (homework).
Week 2: RTV Mirror & Diagonal to Cells. Attach Spider, Focuser, and Finder.
Build Tube Cradle.
Week 3: Assemble Rocker Box. Attach Mirror & Diagonal to Tube.
Week 4: Finish & Tune Assembly. Telescope Collimation & Operation.

We will also have to work out a good date and time to hold the workshop meetings. I’m anticipating that each would last 2-3 hours and could even be done during weekday evenings. Let me know if you have any preferences. I will be arranging a location over the next couple of weeks.

So, send your check, made out to the VAS, to:

Robert Horton, VAS
43 Joey Drive
Colchester, VT 05446

Please indicate in the memo portion of your check that it is for the
Telescope Making Workshop.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at any of the following:

Work Phone – 802-769-5797
Home Phone – 802-879-7802
Work Email – rshorton@us.ibm.com
Home Email – rhorton16@comcast.net

Grant moneys may be available for qualified educators.