BRUCE MILLS-'scope stuff

The Eyes Have It!

Some 'Scopes Old & New

Here, in this crossed X eye stereo is one corner of my kitchen, cum telescope repository which illustrates, on the right ; the skeleton tubed 10" Dall-Kirkham Relay telescope. To the left of the 'D-K' is the Takahashi FS-Sky90 upon a very recently acquired Takahashi NJP Temma11 eq. mount.  Below that -if you can make it out- between the tripod legs- is my original self made 6" f4 richest field reflector . The small one in the foreground is a Takahashi FS60c with f.l. extenders on a Tak. Teegul SP11 eq.mount.

This is a stereo pair, and to fuse the two images into 3-D relief  you have to cross your eyes and float them together.

Easier for some perhaps is this below. It maybe that you may have a set of red / blue viewing spec's lying about that fell out of a comic years ago. Anaglyph stereos are never perfect, with ghosting to some degree always present. Still, it's close.




10" Dall-Cassegrain built in 1958 by the late Ken Brierley-F.R.A.S. a great telescope builder and past president of the Manchester Astronomical Society.  This was a long time in the building by Ken,and is likely his magnum opus.I have a small pile of correspondence/sketches from Dall relating to this project dating from 1954 to 1959. With hand figured optics by Horace Dall and a relay lens system within the baffle extending out from the main mirror,also by Dall, to lengthen the focal length and erect the image as in Dall's own telescopes.  In the light path on the backside of the mirror there is also an iris diaphragm. Known,perhaps wrongly,in the USA and most of the world as a Dall-Kirkham system and manufactured nowadays most notably by Takahashi and a few other specialized makers.  Alan Kirkham's name was added after the then editor of Scientific American asked him to cook up some math to prove Dall's optical design. It would seem he never thought to ask Dall himself,Kirkham being nearer to hand.  It sits on a Cooke of York equatorial mounting,and looks to overpower it,but with the correct counterweighting,I seem to recollect,was nicely balanced and adequate. The photo's here I made just for this page. The telescope had not been out of the house for years,and was unbalanced as you can see.  I took the focuser off to use on a Maksutov I was building.  Bad move.

The Cooke mounting,which was originally weight driven,was put onto its original hollow,(for the weights) elegant cast pillar in my backyard as and when clear nights appeared. Ken,who used to live high up on the hillside used to leave everything outside on a concrete pad behind his barn under a couple of plastic bin liners tied down with bungees. However at it's new home in my back yard next to the park in the village here I was more circumspect and lugged the Cooke in the house after times,leaving only the pillar under a bin liner. The pillar lasted about three years before some rapscallion/s uprooted it from it's plinth and took it I know not where.  It has an old quartz controlled synchronous motor drive turning a worm and sector wheel of some 700'odd teeth.  I have recurring visions of upping the spec' and making it into a carefree imaging platform,..somehow.  AWR,it seems,will be the place to go to get this sorted out.

Above : Ken Brierley with his newly created 6" F4 Astrograph and guidescope . About 1980 . Crossed Eye Stereo from a slide taken with a 'Stereo Iloca'.

Below : A colour anaglyph version .



How many times over did I read Henry Paul's chapter on the creation of his filter  to let pass only the Hydrogen Alpha line of the solar  spectrum in ATM vol. 3 all those years ago,and ruefully conclude that perhaps this was one TM project that was beyond my cloddish skills?  The probability of there ever being a procurable,useable,affordable subangstrom Ha 'scope then was beyond my imagining.  Wonderfully,about a decade ago a Welshman called David Lunt created a company on the Isle of Man to manufacture,with a totally different design such devices.  A few years ago he upped sticks and moved it all to Arizona where they're made today.  Pictured here;  Coronado's 'Maxscope 40' hydrogen alpha solar telescope with additional SolarMax 40 etalon pre filter and 'T-Max' tuner screwed on the end to bring the passband width down to <0.5 Ångström from the standard <0.7 Ångström.  On top of a tiny Takahashi Teegul Sky-Patrol 11 equatorial mount,and Gitzo tripod.  Perfectly suited for picking up and travelling,I took this setup on a 'bucket n'spade' jaunt to Turkey in early May 2005 and enjoyed two weeks of uninterrupted Sol viewing.  I was fortunate also in that the sun was being extraordinarily lively at the time.  Prominence,flare,plage,spot and filament were revealed to me with a clarity and detail that I have yet to experience again since my return home and the  capricious skies of Britain.   The equatorial wedge pictured was machined especially for that trip,and is cut to the latitude of Turkey's south coast. ..Yes,you're right,not a lot of use over here in England.

November 2006.  SOLD ! ..I have actually just let this superb 'scope go in a part trade for  the Takahashi Epsilon180 f2.8. 



One way I suppose of torturing the little Sky Patrol!  It can take it though. I have all sorts of extra tubes for the Sky 90 and the focal length extender 'Q'.  It's quite versatile and often touted as a near perfect 'grab n'go'scope' I've found that most times,because of all the adaptors and bits, it takes longer to set up and get going with than the 20".  I'm not going to go hiking with the '90' so it struggles for attention from me.  As a visual observer I have to declare that three and a half inches doesn't quite do it for me.  Wasted on me probably, better perhaps if I got a focal length reducer and took up imaging with it,something I've wanted to get going on most of my astro' life.



  Rare straight through model.  One of the first pairs to be imported into the US in 1991 and sold by Texas Nautical.  I bought them off a Floridian in 1998.  Nothing is flimsy with these fine bin's with which I've had the most astro fun imaginable. After I worked up the parallelogram mount,and cradle/yoke with the Gitzo head,viewing was transformed.  Perfectly poised,without a trace of backlash or jitter they float in the air majestically and move to a whisper. The long overhang allows viewing from near enough lying on the ground and up.  I fancy that were I to be gifted a pair of the big Fujinon X150's the first thing I'd do would be to bin their alt./az. mount and scale up this mounting.




With this set up I bagged most of the 110 Messier objects. Well,in actual fact the count is really only up in the high 80's. I still get lost in the Virgo cluster of galaxies,and whilst I feel I've seen them all there,confusion still reigns for me when I get to ticking off the numbers.  So,yes,..way to go!  My furthest south is '-30 something Dec.' in Ophiuchus,M62.  Although I've bagged the 'higher up' M's I can't seem to bottom out Sagittarius at culmination whatever I do.  A lot to do with where I observe from;53.33N and 2.00W,leaves me with about a degree and a bit to scrape my south meridian for the lowest of the 'M's'.  Do'able?  Has anybody done it from this far north?  I'd like to think so,but most likely not.

How to improve an Intes MN 'scope...

Easy : replace the Russian focuser with a Starlight Instruments 'FeatherTouch'  focuser. 

My only experience with a finished Intes 'scope has been with the Intes Micro MN56 Maksutov-Newtonian  I have. An optically splendid well built telescope, with several drawbacks as Intes cheaped out on some of the mechanics. Such as small fragile rolled slot head screws at the collimation points on both the primary and secondary. The sec. screws particularly are wretched things as the slots are tiny and are an invitation to an accident with the beautiful corrector plate. Replace with Allen screws as soon as possible all round and you'll nearly have a world class telescope.

To make it second to none near enough, chuck the Intes focuser which is a thing to torture any sensibilities, and load it with the FeatherTouch. The only snag being that, aside from the money to purchase the FT, an adaptor will have to be conjured up. A couple of hours on the lathe and I had one. Two of the tinest Allen headed set screws hold it in place as on the original focuser, plus three small set screws hold the FT into the adaptor. ( I didn't have any short enough to bury in the adaptor so I used three that are far longer than needed . I hope to get around to doing the job properly some day ) Anyway, ...transformation !

UNFINISHED PROJECTS,..loads of'em....

...amongst which is this 6" F12 MAKSUTOV-CASSEGRAIN

After many a year of beginning "great schemes", amongst which are model rotary and radial aero i.c. engines, and lately,a ramjet.  I have to own up to the fact that many of them never get finished.  This Maksutov began life as an Intes MK67 Optics set that I bought from off Markus Ludes around 1999.  I spent a great deal of time chasing up raw stock to machine up the cells.  It was a massive hassle finding an offcut of meaty thick walled 7" dia. al. tubing.  Also it was absolutely on the limit of my lathe's capacity.  Still, I managed to do a nice job of the threaded front cell and retaining ring and adjustable rear cell styled on Warren I.Fillmore's Maksutov from his early 1960's notes about his endeavours.  For some reason I got shaky about making a proper baffle tube for through the main mirror,and doing a proper focuser,-  I swiped one from off the Dall-Cass.,-it was far too big to allow proper use of a diagonal for comfortable viewing.  I discovered this after a deal of metal hacking alas,with the consequence that the focuser's now good for nothing very much.  I did learn a little about messing with carbon fibre as I made the tube from a carbon cloth and balsa sandwich.  That exercise reinforced my natural disinclination to fool about with epoxies,probably to the extent of "never again!"  This one awaits a time when I'm not interested in anything else much to finish it.  I often wonder if that time might ever come.