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April, 2011:

150MM CF Newt Rebuild

I decided to rebuild my Celestron Omni XLT 150 Newtonian scope using a diy carbon fiber tube. Carbon fiber is much lighter and stiffer than the stock steel, not to mention I won’t have to refocus as the temperature changes since carbon fiber has effectively no thermal expansion. I used one layer of carbon fiber sleeving from Soller Composites for the core of the scope, one more layer in the focuser area for additional strength, and then two layers of 2×2 twill wrapped around the whole thing. I used West Systems epoxy for the resin. For the mandrel I got an 8″ sonotube (used for pouring concrete posts) and cut it to fit the same dimensions as the stock tube. That way I can use the same mirror cell and end cap. After the epoxy cured it was sanded and sealed with PPG ECS sealer and Glasurit 22 line paint. I picked a Mercedes green from the 70’s for the tube and a darker Mercedes green for the other pieces (mirror cell, rings, end cap, etc).

Here are some pics of the build:

Star Trails

Milky Way from Vallecitos

This was an experiment with stacking images from a fixed tripod. The stacking software aligns and rotates each image so the stars line up, hence, the foreground is blurred because it’s rotated. This is maybe 45 minutes worth of 30 second exposures from a fixed tripod, cool huh.

Taken with a Nikon D60

Mount Laguna Meadow HDR Pano

HDR Panorama of Anza Borrego Desert from Mount Laguna