Friday, 9 November 2012

Pop's Telescope

When I was young I didn't realize that it was unusual that my Dad built our television set.

In junior high our family moved into a fixer-upper. There was never a handyman, carpenter or contractor on site. Just my parents. Yet major roofing, plumbing, tiling and electrical projects got done. Along with digging out a basement and building an addition. And later a gazebo for my wedding day.

Outside our home in San Diego is a two-man wooden kayak that Dad built. It is a work of art. We are often stopped, while paddling on Mission Bay, so admirers can take a look at his craftsmanship.

So it came as no surprise that we celebrated his recent milestone birthday with a telescope viewing night. Using the telescope he built. From scratch. Even grinding the glass after building test plans and marking graphs to ensure it would be 'ground to perfection'.

Ground board leveled with equatorial platform sitting on rollers. In the process of pulling
out the mirror box so that it can be rotated 90 degrees and set back into the rocker box.

The cover on the mirror box is removed so that the accessories tray is exposed.

Once the tray is lifted out, it is possible to get at the Upper Transport Assembly carrying the diagonal mirror
supported on the spider vanes. The mirror is protected with the circular cover at the bottom of the mirror box.

Upper Transport Assembly (UTA) removed showing the mirror cover
which is protecting the mirror while the UTA is assembled.

To install the trusses, the corner clamps in the mirror box are installed
(labelled with matching dots for easy assembly)

The aluminum truss tubes are installed in the corner clamps. The UTA
is off to the left, ready to be installed after the mirror cover is removed.

Truss tube clamps being installed to ready the UTA for assembly at the top of the telescope.

UTA carefully placed on the truss tubes as the mirror cover has been removed.
The tubes are rotated to seat them in the clamps and then the 8 clamps are tightened.

Looking down into the mirror box showing the 12.5" diameter mirror that has a 2" hole cut
in the middle for a future project. Internal surfaces are flat black to keep down stray light.

Final assembly with finder scope mounted on the left of the UTA. 2 C clamps as
counter weights. The eyepiece holder is on the far side of the UTA and not pictured.

We lined up last Saturday night and took turns looking at Jupiter and its four main moons.

Ooohing and aaahing.

But I thought it was considerably more impressive checking out the actual telescope.

Happy 75th Birthday Pops!


  1. No wonder you're so clever! You come by it genetically! And can we talk about your beautiful skin???

  2. What a lovely ode to your Dad.

    This explains everything. . . including your attendance at an innovation seminar.

  3. Incredible!! What a tribute. :)