•2011/03/08 • Comments Off

Thank you for visiting. I hope that my forays into telescope making and amateur astronomy can somehow assist others in their quest to learn more about this wonderful hobby.

– Jason Hissong

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Meteor Burst Communications and the Perseid Meteor Shower

•2014/08/13 • Leave a Comment

Meteor Scatter at N8XELooking at the forecast, I knew this evening would not be a night to enjoy the annual Perseid Meteor Shower visually.  Plus, a nearly full moon would wash out all but the brightest meteors.  So what does one do in this situation?  Try their hand at Meteor Burst Communications!

Many may not realize that you can bounce radio waves off of the ionization left over from meteors that burn through our atmosphere.  When you see these visually, it is the green “afterglow” that is left behind.  The brightest of meteors leave a very distinctive trail.  There are many more that are not seen visually, but the short burst can still be used to effectively communicate.  With computers with soundcards, and the appropriate software, signals can be transmitted and received on a semi regular basis. The government has been using it for a while now in remote locations in Alaska and amateur radio operators use it to communicate long distances via VHF frequencies.

So to make lemonade out of lemons, I was able to enjoy the Perseid Meteor Shower even when it was cloudy.  I was able to contact a station in Massachusetts and Minnesota.



•2014/07/22 • Leave a Comment
First Light With the New Mirror Box

First Light With the New Mirror Box

After a couple coats of Rustoleum paint, I assembled the mirror box and tried it out for the first time.  I was worried that the truss poles would be too short because the truss seats were farther apart than they were when I used three struts.  I discovered that my concern was unfounded.  All my eyepieces came to focus.  The balance was slightly off, but nothing a few pounds on the mirror box would not fix.

I am glad that I have gone with a classic mirror box with eight struts.  The new configuration is solid as a rock, I can use a shroud without having to use something to keep the shroud out of the light path and I can use my mirror cell.  I will post some more detailed pictures of the finished mirror box and telescope soon.

Stellafane Dobsonian Plans

•2014/07/16 • Leave a Comment
Stellafane Dobsonian made by Ken Slater

Stellafane Dobsonian made by Ken Slater (photo credit: Stellafane)

During one of my idle moments at work, I was browsing the Stellafane website, which I have not done in a while, and discovered that they have made an excellent set of plans for making a classic Dobsonian.  The adjustable cradle is especially nice.  I plan to build an 8″ scope for my friend this way and also may build a 6″ scope which I have a few of them laying around.

Getting closer

•2014/07/14 • Leave a Comment

Once I received the new struts and ball socket joints from Moonlight Focuser, I cut them to length and attached the ball joints to the ends.  I then attached the socket joints to mirror box and adjusted them from three socket joint sets to four on the upper assembly.  Test fitted everything and it makes a nice solid unit.

Test fitting of struts

Test fitting of struts

After a trip to the hardware store, I then attached the mirror cell to to the mirror box.  I used a combination of threaded standoffs and washers to center the mirror cell.

Mirror cell attached

Mirror cell attached


Mirror Box Top

Mirror Box Top

More mirror box work

•2014/07/10 • Leave a Comment
Attaching the bearings

Attaching the bearings

Trying out the mirror cell

Trying out the mirror cell

Today I worked on attaching the old bearings to the new mirror box. Looks like it works pretty well in the existing rocker box.  However, I noticed that the clearance between the center pivot of the rocker box and the corner or the mirror box is pretty tight (about 1/4″ of an inch).  So I will not be putting digital setting circles in this thing until I build a new rocker box.  I also did a quick check on centering the mirror cell in the mirror box.  As you can see, the mirror cell was built for a smaller mirror box, but I will make it work with some metal standoffs!

Active July Sun

•2014/07/09 • Leave a Comment
Active July Sun

Active July Sun

Lots of activity on the sun today.  Using the Smartscope adapter borrowed from the club, and my iPhone, I took a couple of snapshots of ol’ Sol using the PST.  Lots of sunspots and filaments.

The Sculptor Galaxy

•2014/07/09 • Leave a Comment
Exposure Details 6x300s
Takahashi Sky90/Paramount ME (iTelescope.net)
Focal Length 850mm
Focal Ratio F3.4
Camera SBIG ST2000XMC One Shot Color Camera
Binning 1×1
Comments Processed with Maxim/DL V.5.0 and Adobe Photoshop CS2.

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