I was one a dozen or so from our club, The Astronomical Society of Greater Hartford (ASGH), to participate in a mirror making workshop this past Winter. For 10 or more weeks (January 8th through mid-March) we meet every Saturday morning in Dick Parker's basement in Tolland Connecticut. (Dick won 1st place for optics with his 12.5 inch scope at the 1998 Stellafane competition.) Bob Royce, another self proclaimed "TN" and mirror maker assisted and advised the class.
In all, we produced 10 very good mirrors from 6 to 14 inches in aperture. 5 of these were on Breezy hill this year at Stellafane, and 2 won prizes.
I have wanted to grind a mirror since I was in junior high school, where I read ATM1. I am very happy with how the mirror came out and the scope performs. Thanks to Dick and Bob's expert guidance, the optics are very close to diffraction limited! I was actually able to split Ursa Major 78, a double star with 1.5 arc-seconds separation. The views are even more impressive. Too bad the optical competition was rained out this year at Stellafane.
However, it was not a total loss. Friday night on Breezy Hill, the night was clear, the seeing good, and all night my peers who had come from all over the United States raved about the views through my scope! It was for me one of the single personally satisfying experiences of my life.
I can't wait for next year! Hopefully, I will have finished my next project to bring with me, a 10 inch f4.5!
Back to the Home-Made Telescope Gallery