Telescope Time Lapse

So I’m writing a review for what I hope will become my bicycle-transportable telescope. It’s a three-pole dobsonian design made by Dennis Steele of and designed to be lightweight and easily broken down into components for a more compact travel profile. Dennis offers complete telescopes, rebuilds from existing components, and kits for semi-DIYers like me. I went for a kit, and I brought some of my own ideas to the table (well, ideas from other amateur telescope makers…there’s a lot of really innovative and inspirational work out there). I’ll go into the design and construction of the telescope in an upcoming review for Astronomy Technology Today magazine.

I wanted to give readers a sense of what set up and use was like with this scope, and I’ve been meaning to do a bit more with time lapse photography for a while. A simple $30 timer that plugs into my DSLR and a tripod were really all I needed to get started. So I headed down to a punk show at the theater space I co-manage with a buddy of mine, and set up my scope outside on the sidewalk. It wasn’t a good night for observing! It was clear at first but Geneva’s downtown is terribly light polluted. Then, when easily-recognizable Saturn came into view over the buildings, clouds rolled in! But I had fun talking to people and I showed a few people Saturn. Anyway, the time lapse is useful for getting a sense of how the telescope comes together and how it moves. It’s obvious, for example, that the scope, which is about 50 inches tall, is really for seated observing.



3 thoughts on “ Telescope Time Lapse

  1. Nice time lapse. Looks like the crowd showed up as you were taking down. Isn’t that the way it always goes? I will start to read your blog as regularly as I can. Nice work. And thank you for the Kickstarter support.

    • Thanks Mike! I know it looks like the crowd is getting there just as I was packing it in, but in fact the show was over, the band was loading up there gear, and the off-duty detective who was volunteering as security was taking a call to go to a shooting down the street. Just another night doing sidewalk astronomy!

  2. “It’s obvious, for example, that the scope, which is about 50 inches tall, is really for seated observing.”

    Speak for yourself. 😉 As a 5’1″ amateur astronomer, I appreciate those shorter focal lengths for observing on my feet!

    I’ve just recently discovered your blog, so I hope you don’t mind a new comment on an older post. I noticed that in the video, you used a light baffle on the upper assembly, but the truss frame wasn’t shrouded.

    I’m confident you’ve considered this already, but I feel obliged to mention that a shroud not only improves image contrast, it also shields the primary from accidentally dropped objects (like a set of car keys, a flashlight, or even an eyepiece, heavens forbid). You’re much braver than me—I don’t generally let people too close to my scope until I’ve got the shroud in place!

    Anyhow, I’m really looking forward to reading more about the telescope for your Bicycle Astronomy project, when you’re able to post about that. I’ve never built a scope of my own, even from a kit. I’m a bit in awe of people who do!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s