Stargazing & Bikepacking

Not-so expensive astronomy and some bikepacking stories

ATM part 1: getting the big tube in the small hole

This will be part 1 of many more, I guess. I was generously given an 8″ dobsonian telescope a few years ago. Since then I had a view nice looks through it but mostly it gathered dust.

A while back I decided to have a little less money ‘stuck’ in telescopes and I went on to sell most of my gear. All that’s left of a nice collection of eyepieces is the Meade S5000 20mm eyepiece. That and an 8″ F5 DIY dobsonian telescope from the eighties.

The dobson was in a sorry state and I planned on fixing it a long time ago already. Now that time has come. Part 1 of the fix-er-upper consists of lightening the load, so to speak. The whole telescope was quite heavy and I already removed large pieces of the wood in the rockerbox. I think I managed to shave of a nice 2 kilograms of wood.

Lighter rockerbox

Semi-lightweight rockerbox ^_^

Also the OTA was made of PVC and that’s quite heavy material. So I aranged a cardboard tube to replace it with. The tube was kindly donated to me but had to be fitted into the existing rockerbox.

Cardboard tube. For free!

Yesterday I my mate Dave made the necessary adjustments to the rockerbox and now it is time to start finishing the paintwork on the rockerbox and also paint the new OTA.

Dave working on the rockerbox

Dave working on the rockerbox

I decided on the color scheme of the latest Explore Scientific dobsonians: the az-platform will be yellow, the rockerbox itself will be black and the OTA dark grey. All matte paint.

Fast drying spraypaint (and cheap as well!)

That’s Part 1. The next part will consist of placing the optical train, that’s the primary and secondary mirrors and focuser. The 80’s spider vane has already been replaced by a Destiny spider vane. The r&p focuser was taken of an old Meade LXD75 6 inch tube. Also a Telrad finder will be added. Never used a Telrad before… Finally 5V (USB powered) dew-protection will be added.

(and after that a full aperture solar filter, barrow-wheels for easy local transportation and maybe even a Arduino or Raspberry Pi-based push-to system…but I’ll tackle that when I get to it)

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