BACK FROM THE WINTER STAR PARTY
... AND THE PERFORMANCE WAS ALL I COULD HAVE HOPED FOR
Wednesday afternoon, February 6, I arrived at the site of the WSP where Mark Beale had brought down his recently purchased 10" D-K, No. 4. It had been set up on an Astrophysics mount since Monday and I had been given some very encouraging observing reports, so I was immensely excited to look through the instrument myself. I had never been to the WSP and was anxious just to see how great the skies really were, especially the legendary steady seeing. The object of the trip was to put the telescope in an environment where the optics could be tested to the limit, given it the acid test, and show just how good it really was. To put it simply, I was not disappointed. The companion to Sirius was the first try and it showed up immediately, a tiny little star just outside of the monster glow of the primary. The Trapezium was next; six stars, each an Airy disk surrounded by an undulating ring. Mars, at about 11 arc seconds, showed surface detail easily and Saturn was amazing, showing not only the Cassini division but the crepe ring entirely around the visible portion of the ring and across the face of the disk. In the morning hours Epsilon Bo÷tis, Struve's Pulcherrima, was stunning in its gold and blue. And all this while listening to the lapping of the nearby seashore in 70 degree temperatures.
The curved secondary spider vanes worked very well. There were no discernable spikes. The curved spider was one of the experiments with the telescope and I was gratified to see just how well it worked - it really was like looking through a refractor.
The curved spider
Packing for the return trip. The OTA weighs 29 lbs.
A comfortable fit in the back seat
First and Second Observing Report
My goal over 2007 was to develop prototypes and begin production of both 10" and 12.5" Dall-Kirkham tube assemblies. These D-Ks are not compromise or general observing f/12 instruments, they are true long-focus two-mirror systems using a spherical secondary and ellipsoidal primary and designed specifically for visual or photographic lunar, planetary and double star work. These telescopes have f/4 primary mirrors and an effective focal ratio of 20. The central obstruction is at a full physical size of 25% and my unique baffling system allows for an unvignetted photographic field.
Now, in 2008, the 10" models have been successfully produced and tested and I am anxiously looking at completing the 12.5" prototype.
And there are other things also in the offing over the next couple of years.
More to follow as things progress ...
Me at 18