A Few Helpful Hints On How To Build a Telescope
The typical reflecting telescope comes in many different forms, and you can distinguish between commercially made telescopes and those that are the product of amateur telescope making. No doubt, the commercially made telescopes have some of the best optics available, but the need to make a telescope by hand can also provide a viable alternative. Learning how to build a telescope is an art in itself and it requires that the final work be done by hand.
Use A Six-Inch Mirror, Or An Eight-Inch Mirror, Or A Maximum Ten-Inch Mirror
You may well wonder whether amateur telescope making is possible and if so, how does one begin? For the mirror, use a six-inch diameter mirror because smaller than that, the mirror will be much harder to create as well as it will show less of the night sky. An eight-inch mirror would be ideal and ten inches should be the maximum.
There is no real focal ratio that can be considered to be the best. You need to check on how you plan to use the telescope that you are making, and planetary viewing is different from Deep Space objects, with each being quite exclusive. As a beginning in amateur telescope making you can settle on f/5 which would be ideal for deep space viewing, while f/10 would suit planetary uses. As a compromise, you can settle on f/7 or f/8.
For testing the optics that the amateur telescope maker is creating it may be wise to use a Foucault tester, which anyone can make using just a saw, drill, hammer as well as screwdriver and a soldering iron. As an amateur telescope maker, you can also make use of automatic telescope making software, which can prove to be a fast as well as good method of testing your mirror. You can use the Ronchi Testing software to help you get a good mirror.
At the very least, learning how to build a telescope means having the complete knowledge about telescope basics, magnification and aperture, and buying telescope making books that can help amateurs learn how to get started. Amateur telescope making means knowing all about mirror grinding, mirror polishing, mirror figuring and parabolization.
You would also need to know about telescope testing, the Ronchi Test, how to assemble the telescope and know more about software that can be used to design as well as test the telescope. And, for the more advanced maker, you would need to know about the Kutter Schiefspiegler, Yolo Telescope and Tom Waineos' Grinding Machine.
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