Telescopic Trail Magic

Many thanks to Ron “Star Geezer” of the Lehigh Valley Amateur Astronomical Society for giving me a tour of all the observatories on the club’s property.

Located just off trail, I waved to, and met Ron, while he was giving a tour of the facility to friends. An amateur astronomer, and aspiring telescope builder in my teens, I found the place quite fascinating.

The club is in the process of building a 44″ Cassegrain telescope, the mirror of which weighs five hundred pounds! I was shown the equivalent weight and size blank they formed out of concrete, which safely simulates the mirror. This way they can test the mount and balance of all components in a safe manner before the real mirror is installed.

That single reflecting component was made by the club members themselves, one of them having purchased the glass blank in Germany some fifteen years previous. Now at its third optician, the mirror is receiving the final reflective coating, at a cost of $35,000 USD!

Other scopes included a 17″ Dosonian, an 8″ refractor, and two large Cassegrains, one weighing well over 1500 pounds.

Ron is kind enough to maintain a privy on the property, near Pulpit Rock in PA, for passing hikers. He also gave me permission to pitch my tarp on the property, a privilege I was quite grateful for!

More information about the LVAAS here.

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