Resurrection of the old newtonian scope as a dob

Back when I was in about first or second year of Secondary school, I sold my Tasco 60mm alt-az telescope and I sank all of my savings at that point and then some into the purchase of a new and shiny telescope. It was manufactured in Scotland by Solis Scientific, and hte ad was placed in Astronomy Now. The primary mirror was 222mm in diameter and 1250mm in focal length, came with 25mm and 18mm eyepeieces and a 2x barlow. The mount was a reasonable pier mounted German equatorial with manual slow motion controls. It got great use for a good few years for seeing such things as Stephan’s Quintet, the spiral arms of M51, and the solar panels of Mir. When I went off to UL it fell into a bit of disuse, then my parents moved house and the mounting was uprooted and the scope went into storage in the bedroom.

So yesterday I went on a mission to get that scope back into service. I didn’t want to re-use the german mount as it was more than a little shaky and poor at damping vibrations. I decided to build myself a Dobsonian mount for this scope after looking at a few options such as re-tubing it and obtaining a better german mount. Given that this scope is an exercise to see if I will get enough use from a larger scope again to see if it’s worth saving up for a 10″ lx200 or similar over the next 2 years.

I went to B&Q and a few other places, getting a worktop offcut, a sheet of MDF, some castors, boxes of screws, and a few tools that I didn’t have such as a wood saw and a surform. I built up the altitude bearings by hand from 2 sheets of scrap mdf I located at home, cutting rough circles out with the handsaw and smoothing the 4 circles by hand with a surform. These I have strapped to the tube, it works quite well actually. The azimuth bearing is a centre bolt with 3 castors. It’s not butter-smooth but it’s good enough given it took 4 hours from shop visit to first light.

I can safely predict there will be no breaks in the cloud this week – typical for a ‘new’ telescope and the first star session!

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