Chippingdale Observatory

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Copyright© 2010


At the start of 2010 the much loved and used 350mm F5 Newtonian reflector was taken out of the observatory and sold off to make way for the installation of a larger 505mm Newtonian reflector.

The mirror for the new telescope was taken from an existing Dobsonian mounted scope I already had that simply wasn’t getting enough use.

At F3.7 the larger mirror actually had a very similar focal length to the outgoing instrument. The Beacon Hill fork mount had originally been designed to accommodate a 20” upgrade at some future date.

(From very early on in my astronomical ‘career’ a 20” Newt & 6” Apo had been my dream!)

I commissioned friend and fellow Deep Sky observer Rod Greening of Cambridge to design and build a tube and mirror cell to allow the larger mirror to be used and to fit onto the existing mount in the observatory.

The mirror had been crafted from BVC, a black man made glass substitute from Canada by master optical designer and engineer Es Reid of Cambridge for me 3 years previously.

The 505mm Newtonian with its fast mirror is used primarily for deep sky observation and fitted with a Watec 120N+ deep sky video camera. This set up gives the ability to go incredibly deep with my observations; my current estimation is the set up has the ability to detect objects down to 18- 19th magnitude.

This telescope is fitted with a JMI Crayford focuser to which I have added a Skywatcher motofocus controller.

Mounted onto the back of the big reflector is a 150mm (6”) F9 triplet refractor made in the 1980’s by Superscopes of Bedford (now defunct). The objective was designed by Es Reid and crafted by John Owen. This telescope delivers exceptional images despite its lack of modern optical coatings.