Homemade Dobsonian at 2010 Golden State Star Party
With the weather getting warmer, the stargazing season is once again here. If you’ve considered buying a telescope but don’t have the budget to splurge on one, another great option is to make your own telescope.
The Randall Museum is beginning its Dobsonian telescope making series tonight. John Dobson, after which the Dobsonian is named, popularized the use of the Dobsonian telescope and was an integral part of making larger scale telescopes accessible and affordable to the general public. He founded the San Francisco Sidewalk Astronomers in the 1960’s and the group has flourished in making astronomy more accessible to the public — even from one’s sidewalk.
The Dobsonian telescope is a relatively simple, low cost alt-azimuth mounted Newtonian telescope. In this class you’ll learn the step-by-step method for grinding and polishing the telescope mirror, building the mount, and assembling a complete telescope. Once done, you’ll be able to see a variety of celestial bodies including the rings of Saturn, the moons of Jupiter or the Orion Nebulae. The class runs ten weeks and costs between $300 -$400 dollars for materials. Purchasing a telescope of the same size would probably run you 2x the cost of making it on your own.