Thursday, January 27, 2011

Telescopes of Octavian Stanescu

My intention is to collect here some informations about telescopes,amateur telescope making and telescope lore from Romania. 
My aim is to offer a picture about the status of  Amateur Telescope Making  in my country. I dare to add  my two cents here and there because my travel with the Time Machine was a bit longer and I was  whitness and part here of the development of this fascinating hobby.
We start with Octavian Stanescu, nickname Tavi, a veteran amateur astronomer and ATM-er ,living in Timisoara.The city of Timisoara always had an active group of amateurs astronomers and is having a special place as an ATM-ing center.

This picture,made in 1991, is showing from left to right, Tavi ,next is Doru Dragan ,another veteran amateur astronomer who gained the nickname of The Dragon (you will not have an easy life if you start a polemic with him),the son of Doru and Gavril Beches ,an acomplished  mirror maker .About Gavril, (this is the Romanian equivalent of  Gabriel) ,I will come back latter.
The telescope is an alt-azimuthal Newtonian reflector of 280mm aperture F/5 ,miror made by Tavi.The tube was folding down in two parts to fit in the Moskvitch car in the background.

One of the first bigger projects of Tavi was the 380mm  F/4.7 Dobsonian with a Serrurier truss-tube seen at a Star-Party on Semenic Mountain.Octavian is kneeling while colimating the telescope,assisted by Doru Dragan ''the Dragon'' and other two amateurs.
This is a 150mm F/4 RFT Newtonian telescope on a Dobsonian mount with only one side of the rocker-box.Mirrors and mounting by Tavi.He built this telescope specialy for children attending the Star-parties sponsorized by the Astronomy clubs of Timisoara.
Classic Cassegrain reflector,aperture 250mm F=3800mm F/15.2.Mirrors and mounting by Tavi, like for all telescopes seen under this heading.
This is a Nasmyth-Cassegrain telescope of 250mm  aperture F/24, built by Tavi and dedicated for solar observing.This OTA is having actualy two optical sets, for solar observing it is used the uncoated mirror set. Note the elegant stainless-steel tube and the horseshoe mount with clock-drive and slow motions,built to accomodate different optical tube assemblies.

To our knowleadge this is the first Schmidt-Cassegrain made in Romania.Is having an aperture of 120mm,EFL of 600mm, so only F/5,central obstruction is of 40% but the image is aplanatic due to the hyperbolic secondary miror and to the degree of correction (shape) put on the Schmidt corrector.

Next is a short Schmidt-Cassegrain OTA,aperture 250mm F/5.6. Primary miror is open at 2.7.With a three lens corrector,it is intended for an astrograph.

OTA of a Ritchey-Chretien of 300mm aperture,secondary mirror have a diameter of 106mm.The primary miror is having a focus of 850mm ,open at F/ 2.833.
One of the grinding machines of Tavi, rough grinding a 300mm F/4.6 mirror.

The biggest mirror grinded by Tavi is a 500mm miror about which you will find some details below.Please click on the picture to open,to find out about his testing methods and achived accuracy.

Another project finished in February 2011 is a 18 inch F/5.3 mirror.The blank consisted of a huge lens having a diameter of 460mm and a weight of 21 kilograms.

First, a surface of 300mm diameter was diamond generated on the back.After that,the grinding went as usual.

Please see  below the finished mirror of 450mm aperture F/5.3 and of pretty unusual  but favourable shape.

Not bad for a guy who started about twentyfive years ago by grinding on his own a four inch mirror!

Additional information is available on the site of the ''Altair'',one of Timisoara's Astronomy Clubs:
 I did not overloaded this short presentation with technical data,for more details one may contact Tavi at:
(When typing this adress,please write ''at'' and ''dot'' as read).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Exquisite 60mm home-made long focus refractor

On behalf of Silviu aka ''zoth'',amateur astronomer in Bucharest,Romania.
The instrument was first described in November 2010 on ''60mmtelescopeclub'',a great yahoogroup dedicated to small telescope astronomy.

I'm going to tell you the story of a ''new under the stars'' peculiar 60mm refractor.The story started 38 years ago when Silviu at age 12 fall in love with the stary heaven.At that time a 60mm refractor seem to him a huge telescope and it was only a dream,unachievable dream.
Things changed a lot over the years and after owning and building more telescopes, Silviu,already an acomplished ATM-er,saw an opportunity in 2009 to make his dream come true.He designed a 60x840mm classic Fraunhofer objective ,using BK7 and F2 glass.But then he had to face the reality of optical shops who are using tools with pre-determined radii.So Silviu had to adapt his project and re- optimise keeping the eyes on the goal:making of an exquisite small refractor objective.The end result is the actual 60x828mm lens,with a spacing of 0.09mm,anti-reflection coated with a multi-layer broad band AR coating.The non-colimatable Aluminium cell is also designed by Silviu.Like the home-made 1.25 inch and 60mm travel sliding focuser ,the body being made of Aluminium and the steel draw-tube having two internal steps.The tube of the refractor is a re-used Al tube wich housed a 60x900mm lens of ''Alcor'' brand and have two baffles while another two baffles are in the draw-tube of the focuser. OTA have a length of 750mm and weight 1.4 kilograms.
The refractor is riding a TS-AZ Teleskop Service mounting.
The refractor was finished Sunday,fourteenths of November, but the first light happened in September.Oculars used for the first light was PL 17mm/48x;Ortho 9mm/92x;ortho7mm/118x;ortho6mm/138x.The Moon images was gorgeous,no traces of chromatic aberation,similar to Silviu's 80mm ED,very good definition,crisp images,fine details,awesome contrast.One thing noticed by Silviu was that while at 138x the lower light made Moon observation more comfortable,there where no aditional details compared to 118x.Anyway,no trace discerned of any haze due to CA or spherical aberation.
On Jupiter,at 92x,very clean images,again no haze due to aberations,the NEB very clear but hints of some structure and of more belts toward the Northern Pole.Siviu pushed in the 7mm ortho for 118x and he noticed ,very pleased ,festoons in NEB and confirmation of more jovian belts ,much less conspicious and without further details.
One galilean satelite was very close to jovian limb.
In his letter about the first light,Silviu is stating that he made observations of Jupiter through many instruments and from many locations but this was the best Jovian images ever.Not even his 5 inch Mak,very dear to him,did not offered such exquisit images.His conclusion is this:folowing his childhood dream to build a long focus small achromatic refractor was more than worthwhile and is a winner on planetary details.
Description made by me,Mircea, according to details and pictures from Silviu.I will add here only the logo created by Robert Little for the ''60mmtelescopeclub'':

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Testul lui Lockyer

In cartea sa ''Stargazing:Past and Present'', din a carei editie din 1878 citez mai jos , Norman Lockyer ne propune sa testam telescoapele noastre pe o secventa de dificultate crescanda de stele duble si multiple din constelatia Orion. Toate stelele principale ale acestor stele duble si multiple sunt vizibile cu ochiul liber, ceea ce face ca acest test sa fie usor de facut.
Testul verifica atat capacitatea de colectare a luminii cat si cea de rezolvare a detaliilor fine si se adreseaza in primul rand posesorilor de telescoape mici,sa zicem de la 60mm la 100mm diametru, desi una dintre duble este atat de stransa incat necesita, pentru a fi rezolvata in componente , un bun telescop de 150mm diametru.

Am parcurs acest test in dimineata zilei de 10 Decembrie 2010, cu telescopul meu Dobson de 125mm F/7 si am gasit stelele cu usurinta , cu grosismente chiar si de peste 300x , folosind doar cautatorul acestuia de 8x35mm.Stelele sunt toate usor de gasit,fiind vizibile cu ochiul liber,poate cu exceptia stelei 52 Ori care se pierde usor in pacla atmosferica si in poluarea urbana.
Asadar iata secventa de stele de observat:
Delta Ori
Beta  Ori
Zeta  Ori
Sigma Ori
Lambda Ori
52 Ori

Rezultatul testului este unul singur: Lockyer ne spune ca telescopul care da imagini clar rezolvate,fara aberatii,cu spatiu negru vizibil intre componentele chiar si ale ultimei stele duble din secventa,ei bine...''acel telescop nu este unul de dispretuit''.
Ceea ce  inseamna mult atunci cand vine de la un astronom cu experienta,competenta si exigenta lui Lockyer,si,prin asumare,ale tuturor numelor mari pomenite in descrierea testului:Amiralul Smyth,Kitchiner cel ciudat,John Herschel si Struve.
Sublinierile si impartirea in alineate imi apartine si ajuta la intelegerea acestui test.


Star test your Objective Glass

Quotes from ‘’STARGAZING: PAST AND PRESENT’’ by J.Norman Lockyer

London. MACMILLAN AND CO. 1878

Book II,CHAP. XII,page 164-166

‘’The convenient altitude at which Orion culminates in
these latitudes renders it particularly eligible for observation
; and during the first months of the year our
readers who would test their telescopes will do well not
to lose the opportunity of trying the progressively
difficult tests, both of illuminating and separating power,
afforded by its various double and multiple systems,
which are collected together in such a circumscribed
region of the heavens that no extensive movement of
their instruments an important point in extreme cases
will be necessary.

Beginning with DELTA, the upper of the three stars which
form the belt, the two components will be visible in
almost any instrument which may be used for seeing
them, being of the second and seventh magnitudes, and
well separated. 

The companion to BETA though of the same
magnitude as that to DELTA , is much more difficult to observe,
in consequence of its proximity to its bright primary,
a first-magnitude star. Quaint old Kitchener, in his
work on telescopes, mentions that the companion to
Rigel has been seen with an object-glass of 2 3/4-inch
aperture ; it should be seen, at all events, with a 3 -inch.

ZETA the bottom star in the belt, is a capital test both of
the dividing and space-penetrating power, as the two
bright stars of the second and sixth magnitudes, of
which the close double is composed, are exactly 2.5" apart,
while there is a companion to one of these components
of the twelfth magnitude about 3/4 seconds distant. The small star below, which the late Admiral Smyth, in his charming book," The Celestial Cycle," mentions as a test for his object-glass of 5*9 inches in diameter, is now plainly to be seen in a 3 3/4 inch. The colours of this pair have been variously stated ; Struve dubbing the sixth magnitude which, by the way, was missed altogether by Sir John Herschel "olivaceasubrubicunda."

That either our modern opticians contrive to admit
more light by means of a superior polish imparted to the
surfaces of the object-glass, or that the stars themselves
are becoming brighter, is again evidenced by the point of
light preceding one of the brightest stars in the system composing SIGMA . This little twinkler is now always to be seen in a 3 3/4-inch, while the same authority we have before quoted -Admiral Smyth -speaks of it as being of very difficult vision in his instrument of much larger dimensions. In this very beautiful compound system there are no less than seven principal stars ; and there are several other faint ones in the field. 

The upper veryfaint companion of LAMBDA is a delicate test for a 3 3/4-inch,
which aperture, however, will readily divide the closer
double of the principal stars which are about 5" apart.

These objects, with the exception of ZETA, have been given
more to test the space-penetrating than the dividing
power ; the telescope's action on 52 Orionis will at once
decide this latter quality. This star, just visible to the
naked eye on a fine night, to the right of a line joining
ALPHA and DELTA, is a very close double. The components, of the
sixth magnitude, are separated by less than two seconds
of arc, and the glass which shows a good wide black
division between them, free from all stray light, the
spurious disk being perfectly round, and not too large,
is by no means to be despised.
Cartea ''Stargazing:Past and Present'' a lui J. Norman Lockyer poate fi descarcata prin linkul de mai jos,sponsorul  digitalizarii fiind Google:

Atasez ,din cuprinsul vast al acestei foarte interesante carti, doua  ''optick tubes'' ,pentru a intelege cum erau gandite si executate telescoapele   in epoca in care a fost publicata cartea . 
''Optick tubul'' din partea de sus a figurii este al unui telescop Newton de 25cm diametru iar cel de jos  este al marelui telescop din Melbourne de 120cm diametru, construit de firma Grubb din Irlanda.
Telescopul din Melbourne a fost ultimul ''dinozaur'' dintre telescoapele de observator cu oglinda principala realizata din bronz de telescop, ca de altfel si  oglinda sa secundara Cassegrain.Acest ultim telescop a beneficiat si de luxul de a avea doua seturi de oglinzi:un set era in uz,adica ''de serviciu'' in timp ce celalalt set era in curs de relustruire.
Norman Lockyer depicted observing at his large refracting telescope