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A Scope on a Scope on a Scope


Above: This is the 8" refractor we mounted on the side of the 30" September 30, 1997.
(click on pictures to see larger images)

The 8" F12 refractor from the decommissioned Elmcrest Observatory at Powell Gardens had been resting in my garage since a year ago and you could tell it was really getting LONELY stored next to my little dobs. It was going into photon withdrawal and had to be helped. So, Nick Ruess had a great idea! Let's mount it next to the 30" on those wings we installed. That way we will have the 8" to use while the 30" mirror is off being refigured by George Allen and then resilvered.

I hauled the whole works out to Powell Observatory and Nick, Tim, Ron and I installed it on the 30" It only took a short time to do, because the holes lined up perfectly with the rings. That Nick really plans ahead.

8+6We counter balanced the 8" with the 4" and a slab of steel Nick brought with him. It was perfectly balanced. Then we did some test driving. First we looked at Jupiter. What a view!!!!!! Jupiter was awesome at about 300X and sharp as a tack. We could see the red spot very clearly and lots of color in the surface details. This is a much better view than we get right now with the 30". We tried a green filter and it brought out even more surface detail. Awesome!!!

tim Then we turned to M57, the ring nebula, and using the 9mm blew up the image until it almost filled the field of view. The neatest thing about using the 8" is you don't have to climb that tall ladder. You can actually sit down, prop your feet up, and gaze until you lose your senses. What a way to do astronomy. Clearly it redefines the term "armchair astronomer".

Then we observed M11, M72/3, and M2. All wonderful!!!! What a great scope. I can get very spoiled by this bad boy. No more rotating the fork!

8+6The plan is to hook up the autoguider on the 6" and do astrophotography through the 8" or even the 4" or both simultaneously. We need to complete the box to improve rigidity of the mount and offer more surface for more telescopes and piggyback mounts for astrophotography. That way we will not be fighting over use of the dove tails during big events like Hale Bopp or SL9. We could even teach an astrophotography class and have each student mount their own camera and take simultaneous exposures. What a tool.

The other nice thing about it is that people who cannot climb the ladder can now enjoy just as good a view as those who can. Safer, easier, quicker. Even people on crutches and in wheel chairs can observe now. I like it so much I won't really miss the 30" while it is out of commission. We estimate that will be from around November 1 through February. But, who cares, now.

Come on out to the observatory and check it out. Click here to get a map to Powell Observatory.

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PS:The title of the background music if you are hearing it is "Stairway to Heaven"