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January 05, 2009
Special Interest Groups (SIGs)
Amateur Telescope Making
[NOTE: Participation in Special Interest
Groups is limited to MAS members only. For information about
joining the MAS, please visit the membership
page at www.mnastro.org/membership.]
The ATM SIG is an informal, loose-knit group of MAS members who are
interested in amateur telescope making. Some of the members are active glass
pushers, others are only contemplating building a scope and probably won’t
grind their own mirrors. Anyone with an interest in ATMing is welcome to join.
The SIG exists for three main purposes:
1) To encourage and facilitate amateur telescope making (ATM) in
Minnesota, and provide workshops, demonstrations and other resources toward
2) To create a venue for members to obtain guidance and support
during their telescope-making endeavors
3) To swap and share stuff, and possibly acquire supplies in bulk
The Amateur Telescope Making SIG brings
together MAS members who are interested in making telescopes. Whether you are a
complete novice or a seasoned expert, you will find good company in the ATM
SIG. Some of us are deep into it, and others are just thinking about it. All
kinds are welcome.
One word of advice: if you’re like me, and you
have spent many years thinking about building your own telescope, stop thinking
about it and DO IT. It’s not as difficult as it seems at first, and it’s never
boring or tedious. Yes, there are many steps, and yes, many of them are
non-intuitive. But learning about the various techniques and why they work is what makes it fun.
We at the ATM SIG stand ready to help you – or
at least point you in the right direction.
Upcoming Meetings / Events
ATM SIG meetings occur on an as-needed basis, generally for a specific purpose –
like demonstrating a Foucault tester or viewing a member’s project.
Watch the ATM SIG mailing list for details, or contact the SIG coordinator
for an update of planned meetings.
The ATM SIG was formed in July 2002. Since then SIG activities have been
limited to a number of email conversations. However, several SIG members
seem to be making progress on their projects. If you’d like to post an update
here, please put it in the body of an email message and send it to the SIG
SIG Members Web Sites
If you have a useful ATM related website that you’d like to
share with other SIG members, please contact the SIG coordinator.
Useful Resources on the Internet
LINKS, LISTS & VITAL RESOURCES
SOFTWARE & TOOLS
Willman Bell sells most of the best current ATM books. Another good source is
University Optics, whose prices seem to be slightly cheaper. Check the ATM Resources
page mentioned above for a more complete list of ATM books.
(“The Dobsonian Telescope” by Kriege & Berry. Kriege is the founder of
Obsession Telescopes and Berry is one of the Granddaddys of ATMing. This
is an outstanding book.)
(“How to Make a Telescope” by Jean Texereau. This book is a bit outdated
and kind of strangely organized, but it’s still a key authoritative source
on mirror grinding techniques.)
Increasingly people are building their own machines to take some of the elbow-grease out of glass pushing. Here are some resources on the subject of grinding machines.
E-mail Discussion Forum
The purpose of the forum is to facilitate communication among
members of the SIG.
To join the group, visit http://www.mnastro.org/forums
and follow the instructions. A link to an archive of all messages
sent to the original email based listserv is available by pointing your browser to http://lists.mnastro.org/pipermail/atm/.
For more information regarding this Special Interest Group,