I built a telescope last night. What did you do?
Okay, so that’s slightly smug of me. But really, how often do you get to say things like that?
So the whole fiasco with the lens works out like this — I goofed. What I thought was the proper double convex lens (the kind where both sides push outward for those who always get convex and concave mixed up) for the objective end of the telescope (the end pointed at whatever you want to look at) was, in fact, a double convex meant for the eye piece.
What I thought was a perfectly flat piece of glass was, in fact, a very subtly shaped double convex lens that was meant for the objective end of the telescope.
Yes, these lenses came in boxes that were labeled, but unfortunately the printing on one of them was so badly smudged that it was utterly unreadable, so I found myself getting things mixed up.
I had, inadvertently, glued the eye piece lens into the objective end of the telescope, and due to other aspects of it’s ultimate construction I couldn’t simply reverse things in order to make it work. So I needed to find a way to cut it back out without damaging either the lens or the tube, a process I expected was going to be long and painful.
I was wrong about that too. After only a few careful minutes with an Exacto Knife I was able to carefully cut away enough of the glue that I was able to free the retaining tube holding the lens in place without damaging anything.
After that, a careful rearrangement of the pieces (and an email or two with the person who sent me the kit) and I was able to quickly reassemble the telescope into a good working order in just about ten minutes, not including the fretting time I spent double checking every last thing because I didn’t want to screw it up again.
In the end I had a working “Galileo style” telescope. I think I’m not really going out on a limb here by saying that he didn’t use cardboard tubes, but functionally it recreates what he used and I am amazed that he could see anything with it! The field of vision is tiny! I was unable to do much more the verify that I’ve got it working correctly.
I had no intention of staying up until 12:30 AM waiting for moon rise so that I could attempt an observation with something that provides enough light and is a big enough target that I’d stand a chance of seeing something.
So, there it is. One telescope. If you would like to see pictures you can check the link to the photo album on this page.
As I have planed this is the prototype. I built this one so that I could understand the construction and general requirements. I will be attempting to extend what I’ve learned so far from this into creating an even more “realistic” recreation of the telescope itself as well as building, with significant help, a fairly accurate reproduction of a tripod for the telescope as well as creating a decent historical representation of an “astronomical observation” setup as I can.
Ultimately the goal is for me to put a nice setup together and take it out on to the Eric at an event at night to create one of those “teaching in place” moments that I love so much, and then, from there, to create a Kingdom A&S class.
Stay tuned for further updates!