Telescope Workshop - 20th April 2023
“I love all these grown up toys!” This was the comment coming from inside the cafeteria at Mycenae House as I walked past with my rather heavy telescope mount to setup for our workshop. I had not anticipated how much effort was involved in taking this mount from the car up a flight of stairs and then to our assigned room. With my weekly workout completed, I started to setup in our meeting room. Mike Meynell, Tej Dyal and Clive Inglis were already setting up their respective kits and Mark Jeffery was assisting with logistics.
This was our first telescope workshop since the pandemic and was organised by Clive Inglis with Mike Meynell taking charge of the presentation and format. Mike wanted to make this an interactive session so that participants could get a chance to get up close with the various types of telescopes, mounts, accessories and to engage in discussions.
As the start time approached, we had six different types of telescopes and mounts setup with various accessories including different types of observational eyepieces, DSLR cameras and CCD cameras.
Mike started his presentation by giving a definition of a telescope and outlining its functions in terms of light gathering, resolution, magnification and focus. He went on to describe the two main types of telescopes, firstly refractors which uses lenses to form an image and secondly, reflectors which uses mirrors to form an image.
The pros and cons of each type were discussed and the participants were taken through various equations which could be used to derive parameters such as Dawes Limit, Magnification, Field of View and several other items.
Participants were also treated with an overview of Mike’s dedicated Solar scope which allows viewers to safely view and track the Sun. However, we were also provided with details on how one can take an existing telescope and make a DIY solar filter to safely view the Sun.
The focus was then on Telescope Mounts and participants were taken through the differences between Alt Az, Dobsonion and Equatorial Mounts. We had each of those mounts on display and Mike showed their respective operations, movements and accessories.
There were explanations on how to do Polar Alignments and we had a real time demonstration on how to collimate a reflector telescope. Mike also addressed the question of how one will know when a reflector telescope requires collimation.
We had break sessions in between the talk where members were able to have a close up view of the telescopes and also speak with Mike, Clive, Tej and myself about our respective kits and ask questions.
Given the responses from the participants, I can say that this turned out to be quite a successful workshop that was informative, engaging and enjoyable. Many thanks to Clive for organising the workshop, Mike for presenting the material, Tej and Mark for assisting on the day.
Pictures from the event (by Bobby Manoo):