Flamsteed Astronomy Society

Telescope Workshop with Tony Sizer

September 17, 2007

ROG Astronomer Tony Sizer led us through a telescope workshop in the lobby of the Peter Harrison Planetarium.  The workshop was aimed at people with some experience of using small scopes and wanting to get more out of their kit, or thinking about upgrading.

Tony began with a look at getting the most out of binoculars including the importance of properly-aligned optics and choice of equipment with a suitable exit pupil for night-time work.  He demonstrated an interesting tripod-mounted mirror to use binoculars in a comfortable viewing position.

Moving on to telescope mounts, Tony reviewed the pros and cons of different types, and the critical importance of good sturdy mountings like the EQ5 and EQ6 especially for astro-photography.  He explained the procedure for aligning an equatorial mounting to the pole star and discussed the advantages of GPS-aligned GOTO mounts. 

There  was some discussion about the use and value of setting circles to find targets.  Tony explained that setting circles on small telescopes are not very accurate and in any case, quite complex to use to find a target by RA (right ascension).  

We moved into the Peter Harrison Planetarium for an interesting session on celestial coordinate systems.  Tony explained the theory of Dec. (declination) and RA (right ascension) and demonstrated their use in the sky in practice.

After a refreshment break Tony concluded with a discussion about care and maintenance of equipment:  how to look after mirrors and lenses.  He demonstrated the procedure for collimating a Newtonian reflector, required to be done on every outing for accurately-aligned optics.  Some members decided to stick to refractors!

There was then time remaining to browse the selection of equipment brought-along by members.  We were able to poke and prod a wide range of types and discuss ‘glads and sads’ with their owners.

A very agreeable evening!


ROG Astronomer Tony Sizer led the workshop

David and Iain discuss Gaby & Mike’s EQ114  (pics: Mike Dryland)

Roger, Sue, and Adrian prodding another EQ114

Peter’s refractor — I wonder where the bits went which fell out?

The Flamsteed Dobsonian— just upgraded by Eddie. “Well it definitely flew in there somewhere”

Rob’s refractor — Don’t ‘alf hurt when it falls on your foot