It’s … a telescope!!
Certainly there are many milestones in a project like this. The mirror grinding, polishing and figuring all have moments of completion that provide our team with the satisfaction that we are closer to our goal of putting the telescope in the hands of the public to view the sky in a way that they have never done before. Today’s milestone, documented in this photograph that Larry took, just struck me as a birth moment – hence the title of this post.
What you are seeing is the rocker box and secondary cage assemblies integrated for the first time and rolled out into Larry’s driveway for a baby picture, since the “baby” doesn’t fit in his workshop anymore. The much shallower secondary cage is now a simple spider-holder for the secondary mirror mounting, making the secondary end lighter and requiring smaller counterweights overall. The secondary mirror mounting is in place. Eventually the tertiary diagonal mirror will be supported on a spider attached at the level of the top rail of the rocker box, and the 4-inch focuser will be bolted to the small tab sticking up over the same top rail. And, of course, the primary mirror cell and the mirror itself will nestle in the bottom of the rocker box.
There is still much to do, but perhaps we can be permitted a moment to light up a cigar as we look to the future of this infant.