Secondary Mirror Aluminized – You Know What That Means

  Larry McCune and Mark Hillestad carefully disassembled the top from the custom made plywood container for the 9.5-inch secondary mirror, just back from the aluminizer, as Steve Follett looked on. The suspense was heightened because the packaging was so intense, but finally, we got to the interior and – it was a mirror! Imagine our surprise!

You can see Larry reflected in the surface in this slightly shaky image (definitely NOT caused by the mirror).  There is some distortion, and that’s caused by the shape of the surface – a hyperbolic convex surface (fringe images to come from Mark).

The next step is one that we could hardly believe we were discussing – assembling the telescope so that we can star test the primary mirror before it is coated.  After we asked Larry about six times if he really had the rest of the telescope stored in his garage, which he assures us his wife will attest to, he and Mark agreed to get an assembly session together sometime before May 26 with the plan to star test the optical train that evening, if it all comes together as expected. This will be the first time all of the mass of the scope will be in place at once, so besides being a test of our math on center of gravity, it will also serve as a test of whether the drive will move the scope under the final load.

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