I have always wanted a planetary telescope but then again there’s the problem with money, so I decided to make a perfect planetary scope by myself and this is how I did it.

First you need an old scope or a set of mirrors, in this case I used an old scope that I got from a member of our astronomy club. For me who am more into constructing and repairing it was with an aching heart that I started to dismantle the old scope.  Then I started constructing the new scope by cutting a tube for casting concrete into the appropriate length (in this case I did not know the exact distant between the mirrors because what I was building was not a Newton telescope) in this case a calculated guess had to do.


After cutting the tube I reinforced it with a ring in front and painted it with an epoxy resin to make it durable light and water-resistant (the same material that I used on the dome) followed by 2 layers of ordinary white car paint.

After cutting and preparing the tube I looked to the rear and the mirror cell holder, the old was a very heavy casted part so I decided to replace it with a light weight copy. As i am improving my scopes I always try to keep down the weight on the components involved because a lightweight scope can be mounted together as a duo.

The mirror cell holder was turned in my lathe and a flan was made to accommodate the edge of the tube to ensure a perpendicular fit.

I then drilled out 3 holes in the back of it to allow air to pass through the scope to cool it down faster.

Then I painted it black.

After the paint was dry I mounted the mirror cell.

So after the mirror holder was completed I put it away and turned to the secondary mirror holder, as his was going to be a classic Cass grain with Nesmith focus it had to have two spider holders, one for the secondary and one for the tertiary mirror.

So making both at the same time seemed as a good idea. I decided to make all details from scratch and begun with the holder cell.

This vas made of a very durable polyurethane plastic that I turned in my lathe (see photo)



Telescope repair

“I have always admired people who are capable of making solutions of problems that other people can’t even imagine”.

This was what an old fellow astronomer said when he gave me his old schmit Cassegrain scope. The scope was a relic from the fifties when the color on the scopes was all but white.4_3044
Time had not been kind to it and it showed its age but it was well used and proven in combat.
It was an old American Criterion from the late fifties, a time when things where made to last for ever.
I really wanted to bring it back to its former glory, but since the color on it was gray (actually partially hand painted with silverpaint)I opted to paint it black and white to blend in with my other scopes.
I went along with the idea and started dismantling the scope.
First I removed the cradle arms, since the scope was to sit next to my Newton I did not need them so I stored them away.4_3041
Picking the scope apart was the easy part. The mirrors and the corrector plate vas put into a protective box and amazingly they were in mint condition so I did not have to restore them in any way. And on with the job I went.
When the telescope was dismantled I first sand blasted the back and spray painted it black.
I then moved on to the finder scope, this is a real beauty with nice crosshairs.
But this too was gray, so I masked it and sand blasted it too,
This is a really easy vary to remove old paint but don’t use too much pressure.
The paint was sprayed to; white on the tube and black front and end parts it turned out much better than I anticipated.
I also sandblasted the support rings for the finder and painted them black.
After these parts were ready and put aside I turned to the tube itself and due to the fact that it was a sonotube I could not be sandblasted so I used a spray filler used on cars and sprayed 2 layers and then polished the surface until it was really smooth, I then spray painted it white .
Having completed the outer surface I masked it off and painted the interior flat black.
Now the only remaining job vas to reassemble the scope and it went together as a dream.
The result is a telescope from the early fifties looking as a new one and working just as well and it now resides beside my 10 “ star finder with pride.

It’s just sad that my friend never got to see what I did to his scope. 4_3043
But perhaps he is sitting somewhere up there watching who knows.