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By Stephen F Tonkin

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Rather than two knobs, one knob per lower spar tube is likely to be sufficient to firmly lock each tube into the mirror box. All things considered, the project is a success. 00. 00 could have been saved from the project. In addition to owning a real-time window to the deep sky, the project generated a feeling of accomplishment. There is also a sense of satisfaction from using simple tools and economical materials to make an instrument capable of viewing reaches of the universe as they appeared millions of years ago.

They shape glass, trace rays, and formulate equations, all in search of an optical ideal that might never achieve solid form. For me, the "quest" is for the ultimate planetary instrument. As an observer, I find few sights as thrilling as Jupiter or Mars, resplendent with the kind of detail that can only be glimpsed when telescope and atmosphere are equal in perfection. While there is little a telescope maker can do to ensure atmospheric steadiness, there is something that can be done to ensure telescopic perfection.

A little experimentation quickly reveals the importance of a low-profile focuser. Indeed, it is virtually impossible to keep the secondary reasonably small if a standard rack-and-pinion focuser is used. Such a focuser often stands more than 4 inches tall and would require a secondary mirror nearly twice as large. 58 in across really work? Yes, but there is a catch. With such a small secondary, only the onaxis rays will be deflected to the focal plane. What this means in practice is that any object that is not perfectly centred in the eyepiece will not receive the full benefit of the objective's lightgathering and resolution capabilities.

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