University Lowbrow Astronomers

The Odyssey 2 Continues.

by Jack Brisbin
Printed in Reflections: February, 2008.

On Saturday January 26th, Mike Kurylo, Jim Forrester and me, four wheeled their way to the Peach Mountain Observatory, home of the Big Red 17.5 Inch Coulter Telescope. That crisp cold morning air added a quickened pace to our removal and disassembly of the Big Red Monolith. Mike Kurylo took the rocker box and base home to salvage the usable hardware. We partially disassembled the end cap and mirror cell/mirror from the 75-inch long telescope tube. The mirror was placed in its new storage box and the half inch thick, 21-inch diameter telescope tube was transported to my house for disassembly and disposal. The usable hardware was salvaged and saved for further use.

17.5 inch Coulter at Peach Mountain

The picture above shows the 17.5-inch Coulter telescope at a Peach Mountain Open House. The telescope tube assembly alone weighs 120 pounds. I weighed the tube parts as I disassembled the tube. This does not include the rocker box and base that Mike has.

Mike Kurylo and I would like to thank Jim Forrester for giving up his Saturday morning to open up the observatory for us.

This is not the end of the Coulter telescope, but the beginning of the club’s new telescope that will utilize the Coulter 17.5” mirror and the secondary mirror. Last year at a monthly club meeting a proposal was approved to go ahead with the new telescope. Two tasks that were outlined in the proposal are, Disassembly of the Coulter Odyssey and Cleaning and storage of the primary mirror. These tasks are in the process of being completed.

Primary Mirror

The picture above shows the primary mirror is taped to the mirror cell with duct tape. There were two metal bands around the duct tape to hold the mirror in place. No mirror clips were used. The mirror is actually 17.7 inches in diameter or about two tenths of an inch bigger than stated by the manufacturer. The mirror is about 1.5 inches thick and weighs about 30.5 pounds. The particle board combination end cap and mirror cell weighs 23 pounds. There were about 4 to 5 layers of duct tape rapped around the mirror. I’m currently cleaning off the sticky residue left on the side of the mirror.

I found ladybugs in the tube, mirror cell and secondary holder. Apparently bringing the tube assembly into a warm basement must have revitalized them, because they just appeared out of nowhere and started crawling around.

Secondary Mirror

As you can see from this picture of the secondary mirror, the ladybugs started to get frisky. So I had to dispose of them. The primary mirror and secondary mirror are in good condition, after being stored in the observatory for about 6-7 years.

The Remains of the Telescope Tube Assembly

The last photo on the right shows the remains of the telescope tube assembly.

So, where do we go next? I will be bringing the primary mirror, the secondary mirror and the remaining parts from the tube assembly to the club meeting on February 15, 2008. Interested in learning more? Be there!

See also

Photo Credits


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