2016 schedule

Sun 11:30-12:00
Theatre 106

Upgrading the 30-inch Telescope at Linden Observatory

Rob Horvat

Western Sydney Amateur Astronomy Group (WSAAG)

In 2012, the 30-inch telescope at the Linden Observatory was essentially idle and, literally, collecting dust. Famed supernova hunter and Linden Trustee, Bob Evans, remarked: “the 30-inch telescope needs somebody to love it and to use it”. WSAAG had the expertise and the manpower. In any case, we have had a long-standing, productive relationship with the Linden Trust and Bob was confident that we could look after the telescope. So, WSAAG became caretakers of the telescope. The 30-inch would require a lot of attention to make it practical and safe to use.

Essentially, it had been just manually operated and a visual observer's tool. Our goal was to turn it into a goto/tracking telescope for visual use and one that was also capable of producing reliable video for events such as occultations. As a manually-operated big Dobsonian, it was never intended to be an imaging scope. After 18 years or so, the 30-inch primary mirror was also in dire need of a re-coat and the secondary mirror was in poor condition. Re-coating of the primary and replacement of the secondary would bring the scope closer to its full potential.

This is the story of the upgrade of the 30-inch telescope, the problems presented, the compromises and the solutions and how WSAAG members, with the support of the Linden Trust, have made this into one of the best telescopes around for use by amateur (or professional) astronomers.