Mitchell's Telescope Making Website

Check out My Telescope Making Projects!


My Equipment: 

     The images on this site were taken through a 4.5 inch and an 8 inch telescope. The 4.5" is a Tasco Luminova. My second, larger telescope was an Orion 8" intelliscope. Both telescopes I bought with my own money.

     My First Telescope was a little 20mm table top refractor that came with a little book I got in like the 4th grade. Surprisingly, even with a low 20 power and only 10 mm of clear aperture (there was an aperture stop in it) it gave excellent low power, wide field views of the moon.

     My Second Telescope was a little department store 50mm refractor that I bought on clearance for $15. It was only good on the moon. This scope really got me into astronomy when I decided to hold up my digital camera to the eyepiece, just to see what would happen, and got my first every picture through a telescope. It was a horrible, unclear, undetailed picture on the half-phase moon. You could barely tell it was the moon, except you could see one of the seas and a crater or two. But it was still MY picture that I had taken through a telescope.  

     My Third Telescope was a Tasco 4.5", this was my first real telescope, and it was very well made. It was a lightweight equatorial. I also think I might have gotten a lucky one of a batch or it was just a high quality telescope. Even though these scopes have a bad reputation. It gave excellent images on planets. The first view of Saturn and the Moon took my breath away.  But it really didn't have the light gathering power I was after. I sold this scope after a little less than a year to fund my other projects and scopes. 

     My Fourth Scope is an 8" Orion Intelliscope Dobson. With the electronic object locator hand controller finding objects is still not a snap, it doesn't always put things right in the field of view, after aligned on two stars, and I have many tall trees in my yard to get in the way. It does help me learn the sky, I can find many objects myself now without the controller. The 8" too gives excellent views, and the planets that I have seen so far are good under my fairly dark skies. It also reveals bright galaxies and nebula, open clusters are amazing too. But it still doesn't quite have the power to resolve globular clusters. I am looking to seel this scope.

     A friend has given me and old Edmunds Scientific 6" F/8. From many years ago, probably 30 years old! It is one of the classic Red Edmunds scopes on a German EQ mount (well it has been repainted bashe; you can see the brush marks so I assume it used to be red). THE MIRROR TESTED 1/25 WAVE!!! I have heard similar reports from others; they knew how to build these scopes! It is one of those "rock solid" scopes. Sadly I may also sell this to fund other projects. 

     Well I'm not really using commerical scopes anymore, because now I'm building my own telescopes! My first is a 6",  I built everything myself including grinding the primary mirror. The only things I bought stock were the secondary, the spider, and the focuser. I'm more into making the mirrors so I'll buy these parts which are very nice to complement my excellent mirror. This scope is done and produces EXCELLENT images.

     The main reason I'm making my own scope is so I can make even bigger ones later, to the size where they can't be bought perhaps. I have done a few mirrors and plan on doing more, larger ones.

     My ultimate dream plan is to build a 48" before I'm really old. I'm sure I will have to make MANY, more mirrors in between the 6" and a 48". I can guarantee many people out there think I'll never do it, but hey, think of how many adults quit on their first mirror. I started when I am 13, many people don't start till they are much older so I already have a jump start. Just keep watching as I make more, and bigger, mirrors.

A MUCH more reasonable goal is to finish a 16" while I'm in high school. Currently I'm in my sophomore year of highschool and the 16" project is next on the chopping block.

  

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