My Telescopes

I am including some information that those of you who are familiar with astronomical telescopes may find boring. Please skip this material. It is for those who may not have your knowledge, and don't know where to look to find it.

My first telescope. This one I made in 1950. It is a 3 inch refractor telescope.
My First Telescope

This is how a refractor telescope works:
Refractor Telescope

Here is the second telescope I made, still a 3 inch refractor, with better lenses, and an equatorial mount. This allowed me to track the stars or moon with one motion of the telescope. This one was made in 1951.
My Second Telescope 

Here is the third telescope I made in 1953. It is a 6 inch newtonian telescope (reflector). I walked around that barrel for six month grinding the reflecting mirror, then took the finished mirror to an amateur astronomer who first surface silvered the mirror for me in his vacuum chamber that he built. He built the chamber specifically to silver hand ground mirrors. A first surface mirror has the silvering on the front of the mirror, as opposed to a bathroom mirror, which has the silvering on the back surface. First surface silvering reduces distorions in the reflection. A parabolic's deeper, more complex figure focuses all incoming light rays to the same point, so images appear crisp and sharp without any of the distorting effects of spherical aberration. Because the reflection comes from the front face there are no 'ghost' double images as would be caused by normal 'looking glass' mirror. These mirrors have to be silvered extremely accurately, that is the coating must be uniform (same thickness on each part of the mirror).

With this one I could read a newspaper headline at a mile. Of course, the Denver Post newspaper my brother held up a mile away, had 96 point headline type! Want to see what 96 point type is?


My Third Telescope

Here is how a Newtonian Reflector Telescope works:
Newtonian Telescope

And finally, here is the telescope I own today. It is an 8 inch Celestron Schmidt-Cassgrain telescope. It has a wedge mount, and a clock Right Ascension drive.
 My Celestron Schmidt-Cassgrain Telescope

And no, I didn't build this beauty. I bought it, along with many lenses, and accessories.

Here is how a Schmidt-Cassgrainian telescope works:
Schmidt-Cassgrainian telescope

To see a picture of the set-up I use to do sunspot photography, go to:


To see a picture that I managed to make using my telescope and new scope camera, go to:


To see pictures of the new eyepiece camera and setup, go to:


© by Keith L. Smyth, 2004