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Written by Chris Hopper, Observatory Director July 2006

John Smith Telescope refurbishment

A s you all know I am sure we were successful with getting the £4,600 we applied for from the lottery people. To this end I have begun buying all the stuff we need for the modifications to the Holmbury telescope. Ted Dodman has wired up the dome now with emergency stop buttons in the dome as a safety feature  to stop the telescope in the event of an emergency. This is now all working.

John Smith Telescope refurbishment

I have purchased most of the equipment for the telescope of which three items are outstanding. I have in my possession; the main Starlight Xpress CCD camera and guide camera. Two set of telescope mounting rings, an 80 mm apro refractor telescope (Williams Optics) which will act as our scope for the initial CCD imaging we will do. A set of filter LRGB and narrowband filters, Maxim DL software to process the CCD images. A new JMI motorised focuser and a new computer to run the software and down load the images, also an ATIK manual filter wheel. I have all of this stuff delivered to me apart from the JMI focuser , the narrow band filter and the computer. The computer is being made for us and is expected that the build will start next week. the other two items I expect next week as well.

John Smith Telescope refurbishment

There's a lot of work now to be done with mounting all of this equipment. I have ordered metal to make up the mounting plates etc for the telescopes and I hope to start work on this next week. Last night 25/7/06 Tony Marsh, Tony Questa and myself went up to the telescope to collimate the main mirror. We hoped that this would not need much doing to it and in fact the main mirror didn't. It seemed to be well seated, but it was the secondary that was a long way out. We used a laser collimator and were able to adjust the optics and all seemed well. We tried the scope out on a few objects and the view was wonderful. We had problem finding specific objects because we didn't have a finder scope mounted yet. But we scanned the sky in the area of Sagittarius and picked up Globular clusters etc, beautiful. As you know the optics, I had refurbished, and this was the first time we were able to see the results of that. We were very pleased.

We now have to get AWR Technology down to teach how to drive the new computer controlled drives and then we need to set up the periodic error software to iron out any funnies the may be in the RA worm wheel...

John Smith Telescope refurbishment

So we progress slowly. There is a lot to do and I hope that during the summer months we can get all this new equipment mounted and running ready for the mid Autumn. So if there are any volunteers for help with the work, that would be welcome.  Have a good summer everyone and we will see you all at the new season start in September.

Last updated July 2006 [Back]