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Building a 24' Dome

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#151 Tom Clark

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 07:57 AM

This is the first photo taken with the shutter all the way open. Mike Lockwood and Bob Noneman brought out the refigured and recoated 42" mirror, and also a used 90volt variable speed DC motor to use on the shutter. That solved all the existing problems. After a few adjustments to the rollers, they got the door working as it should. I had been fighting it for a couple of months, and it took them a couple of days…

It pays to have younger, sharper minded friends! Now we can get the 42" installed and ready to go. More photos to follow.

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#152 Project Galileo

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 10:43 AM

Congrats on getting over the speed bump. Your progress is beautiful. I can imaging the buzz and excitement around there while you install the guts of your observatory.

#153 dmdouglass

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 12:59 PM

Seeing the pitcture (above) with the group standing in front, gives a whole new perspective to the size of that building. And..... probably to the size of the scope that is being configured inside.

Wow !!!!

#154 BluewaterObserva

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 02:42 PM

I am getting excited looking at it.....
I still get warm and fuzzies thinking about the first time I got stars to focus on my .8 meter.
If you have a 1st light gathering, my astronomer wife and I would love to be there for it.

#155 csa/montana

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 10:30 PM

That is most impressive! A really beautiful Dome; Congratulations! :bow:

#156 Tom Clark

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 09:20 AM

4/5/13 A date that will be remembered for awhile. After 8 hours of hard labor, (not counting the last 6 months) the pieces of the 42 were moved from the garage to the dome, resembled, hoisted into the air, the newly refigured and recoated optics installed, a rough collimation, we had first light at 10:48 PM. We observed a few objects for an hour, and then went to bed exhausted.

Present were the dome slaves Mike Lockwood, Bob Noneman, Steve Coe, Jeannie Clark, and myself.

More later…

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#157 BluewaterObserva

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 01:45 PM

Thanks for the report... Gives me tingles and I'm not usually easily tingled. It will be interesting getting your impressions of the refigured / recoated optics

#158 Tom Clark

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 08:24 AM

Thanks to everyone who has followed this thread and posted positive comments to encourage us to get the job done. As anyone who owns an observatory knows, they are never finished - you will keep on tinkering forever. However, this project is basically finished.

The scope is working far better than it ever did before. Mike Lockwood is a perfectionist who wants me to change out my old sling for a cable sling, so that is on the list of projects to do. The skies here in the New Mexico desert have such wonderful transparency compared to what we used to call our 'underwater observing' back in Florida that our observing will be like starting over. However, for now it is time to take a rest from the construction frenzy and rest a bit.

We had a small first light party 4/6. Present were Jeannie and I, Mike Lockwood and Bob Noneman, Steve Coe, and Lon Shelton. Lon helped me so much with the dome construction. The night was not good as the SQM was only 21.3. (A storm was blowing in from the west. Best night so far has been 21.9.) Still, the observing was the best the old 42 has ever provided. We will be inviting many friends over in the near future and will write some observing reports.

We have new neighbors moving in here at the New Mexico Astronomy Village to help build out the neighborhood. If you are getting ready to retire to better skies, look us up.

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#159 csa/montana

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 07:51 PM

:bow: :applause: :applause: :applause:

Got to say, I think many of us have followed your thread with great interest 7 anticipation for your first light! A huge congratulations on a beautiful job, well done!

#160 Mary B

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 03:19 PM

Great project and observatory, wish it was in my backyard!

#161 dmdouglass

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 07:21 PM

Did anyone catcch Tom's post above where he was talking about the condition of his skies ????

" The night was not good as the SQM was only 21.3. (A storm was blowing in from the west. Best night so far has been 21.9.) "

I chuckled when I read that. Bemoaning a 21.3 !!!!!

Many of us who travel to dark sky sites are looking for anything better than a 21..... I have a 18.5 here at the house, and that is "cheating" !! Step away from my obs, and the numbers go down quickly.

Bemoaning a 21.3 !!! Tom.. I think you are spoiled !!
And I know you will enjoy every minute of it too....






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