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Telescopes in Mongolia

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#1 Tuugii

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 07:33 AM

Hi all,

this year I've managed to get some grant money from the IAU for the development of astronomy in Mongolia. I was planning to spend the whole grant in fixing one local research telescope, unfortunately I couldn't get the necessary support from the government.

So now l am thinking about using this grant for my other project - supplying a small telescope for each public highschool in the country. My grant amount is 4400 eu.(~6.000$), but there are more than 300 public highschools. Sicne I can't provide equipment to every school in a single year, I am hoping that I can figure out a way to bring scopes to at least 50 schools this year.

Taking into account shipping and customs expenses, I will need to have each telescope under 100$. I know I can't get anything fancy, but I don't want a department store level scope. What I have in mind optimally is a 5-6" f/6-8 dobson.

I think my only option is China, not just because it is so close to Mongolia, but almost everybody else (celestron, meade, orion ...) is buying from them anyways. I have tried to figure how things work down there, but there are just way too many options and it is quite hard to decide which one I can trust.

So my questions are following:

1) can anybody tell me which factory in China does Orion buys their dobs?

2) where the quality control takes place? in China before shipping, or in U.S.?

thanks,
Tuguldur

#2 Doug Reilly

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 02:45 PM

Tuguldur,
What a cool project! Let me know if you need someone to go around to all those schools with you and help teach people how to use the scopes. I don't speak Mongolian but it's been a dream of mine to travel there!

I think many Orion scopes are made by Synta. I'm sure there is some QC done at the factory, but ultimately Orion outsources QC to the customer by having a no-questions-asked return policy. So if a stinker gets through they'll fix it on the customer end, usually I think by simply replacing it.

I'm not sure how it would work if you bought direct from Synta.

Guan Sheng Optics is in Taiwan, they used to be Orion's supplier and I think they are the source for Antares and several other brands of newtonians. Sometimes known as GSO.

Good luck with your project!

#3 Tuugii

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 06:55 PM

thanks a lot Doug! and you are very welcome to help out in distributing the scopes. I will write a manual in Mongolian, but ultimately traveling around a little bit and doing mini-workshops is the best way to make sure that the scopes get into a good use. Language barrier is no problem.

I have just checkout GSO telescopes. For 6" they seem to have only f/5 which comes on a eq mount, and the smallest dobson is 8". I afraid the unit price for 50 won't come down to 100$ for the dobson, and the 6" f/5 scope has a bit too wide field...

Do you know if Synta has an official web page?

#4 SkyGibbon

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 07:22 PM

Do you know if Synta has an official web page?


http://synta.en.gongchang.com/

#5 Tuugii

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Posted 22 September 2013 - 05:34 AM

thanks SkyGibbon. I have checked that website yesterday but thought it is not official since nothing seemed to work on it.

#6 Doug Reilly

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Posted 22 September 2013 - 07:32 AM

Probably you will need to email Synta. You might also contact Orion Telescopes in the US, they might be able to hook you up with someone at Synta. Or contact Celestron, also owned by Synta. They might be interested in helping out a project like this. I'd recommend something like the XT6 dobsonian. Or even the XT4.5, if Mongolia has the dark skies I imagine it does...

#7 dpwoos

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Posted 22 September 2013 - 02:56 PM

If it was me, I would start small and not target the whole of Mongolia. In my experience, giving schools scopes is not such a good idea. Nobody knows how to use them and/or nobody has the love of observing to actually make the effort to get them out. Our club does a lot of observing with schools, etc. and we provide a high quality experience - much better than the schools can do on their own. So, maybe think about a project that will have a better chance of succeeding in bringing Astronomy to young folks, even if it is less ambitious.

#8 Jay_Bird

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 03:00 PM

Did you contact "astronomers without borders"

Their version of a collapsible 130mm f/5 Dobson reflector is a nice size and reasonable price, maybe they can point you to local source (I think it's from Sky-Watcher's manufacturer).

They should have relevant experience, teaching resources, and other materials or products...

http://astronomerswithoutborders.org/

#9 Tuugii

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 04:14 AM

thanks a lot for the comments.

I started collaborating with my old friend who is opening the first telescope dealer (celestron) in Mongolia. He will be helping me to find a good supplier in China, as he is going there in few days to visit some factories.

According to him, it seems like it is possible to find a reasonable quality f/6 dobsonian with 4-5" aperture in the price range of $80-120. With the money I will be able to get about 40 telescopes of $115, even more if I end up finding something cheaper.

dpwoos, you're making a very solid point here. That is exactly why I aiming to provide only about 40-50 scopes this year and to see how it goes. For this year I am planning to distribute the equipment only to highschools in Ulaanbaatar, the capital, where schools are in a bit better condition than in the countryside. Also for the same reason I will be creating a detailed user-guide, and a short textbook in Mongolian language. A small workshop for the teachers will also be provided when we hand over the telescopes.

Another thing I haven't mentioned is that this whole project is part my 'campaign' to bring back astronomy into highschool curriculum. So soon after making the purchase I am planning to get in touch with the local ministry of education and talk with them about the possibility of allowing those 40-50 schools to teach some astronomy as part of the standard physics subject starting from 2014 school year.

Jay_Bird, haven't contacted them, but Mike Simmons knows me pretty well. f/5 is a bit too wide, but I will definitely get in touch with them.






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