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30″ TELESCOPE IS IN!: Summer Update 1 August 31, 2010

Posted by jcconwell in Astronomy, Observatory, telescopes.
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John Pratte and Bob Holme installing the 30" mirror cell

August 17th was a big day for the EIU Physics department and the Astronomical Research Institute (ARI). We assembled the refurbished 30″ diameter Ritchey–Chrétien telescope. Bob Holmes, director of ARI, and an adjunct faculty member of the EIU Physics department, the Physics students at EIU, John Pratt, and your’s truly have worked for about nine months for this day. If you look at some of the past articles in this blog and at ARI’s site you’ll see some of the history behind this project.

30" Primary Mirror in it cell

First the triangular base was installed; then the rotating cradle that is the Right Ascension Axis, and holds the primary mirror cell, was mounted on motors in the base. Next we used a engine hoist to lift in the steel mirror cell into the cradle so it can pivot on the Declination axis . Finally we install the 30″ mirror in its cell. Now most of the heavy lifting is done, but the cage, or tower, that hold the secondary mirror must still be installed.

Jim Conwell and Bob Holmes

Now comes the part where we put a camera on and see if all the optics and mount are well aligned.

But more on that next time…along with first light photos!

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Comments»

1. Bill Wolf - August 31, 2010

This is so exciting! I’ll be excited to see what sorts of images you can get from that wonderful machine.


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