Sunday, February 20, 2011

Telescopes of Laurentiu Alimpie

 Laurentiu,which is standing for Lawrence in Romanian language,is an amateur astronomer and ATM-er living in Timisoara. He built his first telescope in 2003. This was an 8 inch F/6 Dobsonian with main and secondary mirrors from Orion Telescopes in USA. The optical set being bought and carried to Romania by Alin Tolea. Altough moved to USA  long time ago ,Alin ,an avid amateur astronomer himself,did not forget felow amateur astronomers from Romania and is helping us in many ways.

The first incarnation of the 8 inch F/6 Newtonian telescope,named  ''Darkmatter'', used a PVC main tube and a playwood Dobsonian mounting.
Note the fan for cooling the main mirror, the handles,the eyepiece shelf and the Herschelian position of the focuser.
The telescope had an 11x50mm finder built by Laurentiu from pieces recovered from a scrap binocular.

But this telescope was too heavy. The complete optical tube alone  weighted 20 kilograms (44 pounds) due to the tick PVC tube , the square tube box and altitude trunions.

 Laurentiu decided to rebuild his telescope using stainless-steel sheet for the tube ,wich now weight ,completly equiped, 10  kilograms,an important weight reduction for convenience in handling,transportation to dark sites and for  faster reaching of thermal equilibrium .

The ''optick tube'' was entirely rebuilt. Because it become obvious the telescope cannot be used from the ''orange'' downtown of Timisoara ,the new tube was made shorter.

And components was not just moved from one tube to another tube,the OTA was entirely rebuilt.

Let see some more picks.

The new main mirror cell ,home-made of Aluminium,showed face down .
When the picture was made ,wood spacers was used instead of the springs between the T cell and the three L brackets going to be bolted to the main tube.
Note the flotation mirror suport made of the three rectangular levers.

The new secondary mirror suport,the spider being made of Aluminium and wood.

Tube rings and cradle to attache the tube to an equatorial German mounting.

The main mirror is attached to the six-points flotation cell by RTV silicon bond,shown here while curing.

This is the new Newtonian telescope,named ''Starcruiser'',on an EQ5 equatorial german mounting.

I would say: ''Astrophoto,watch out,somebody is looking after you'' !

Next of Laurentiu's instrument was this 60mm F/15 refractor,named ''Viespea / the Wasp'',intended to be his guiding telescope for large scale astro-photography endeavour.

But, as we see in this picture taken at a Star-Party held  June 13-th  2010, at Tormac-Timisoara,the Dobsonian mount was not abandoned, the 8 inch F/6 Newtonian being a versatil telescope  used in both configurations,as equatorialy mounted or as  Dobsonian.

Laurentiu is also paying attention to his accesories.He enjoy using his Baader  Hyperion,Plossl or Orthoscopic  eyepieces but  he decided to use coma corrector to improve extra-axial image quality.Consequently he designed the ring adapters seen below.

This rings,with heights of 6mm, 14mm and 28mm are allowing the use of Baader MPCC coma corrector with 2 inch and 1.25 inch oculars and they are accordingly provided with M48 and T threads.

The 14mm ring and 28mm may be used also with the modular Baader Hyperion oculars to obtain additional foci by altering the  configuration of already existing oculars.

For astrophotography ,Laurentiu adapted this 110mm F/4 Newtonian by changing the 35mm secondary miror with a 60mm one;and changing the 1.25 focuser with the 2 inch Crayford focuser ,home-made of ofcourse by him.

Please note the insteresting hexagonal rings for the guiding telescope - I let you guess who made them and where.

This is a refractor , called  ''Cassino Royal'' , built around a Surplus Shed 70x500 mm object-glass . The instrument get his '' a la James Bond'' nickname from the anti-perspirant can of which the dewshield was made.

The astrographic combo consisting of the 110 F/4 modified Newtonian,the 70x500mm ''Cassino Royal'' guiding refractor on the EQ5 German equatorial mounting.

The device mounted in the refractor's focuser is the home-made auto-guiding camera.

The auto-guiding camera was obtained by integrating in a dedicated body  a Philips SPC 900 NC webcam,modified ''on open heart'' by one of Laurentiu's friend.

The last of Laurentiu's projects I am aware of is the refurbishment of this old surveyor tripod.

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