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[cpastro] This weeks club meeting Wednesday 20th October 2021

Updated: Oct 25, 2021

Hi All

This week we had Ted talking about his observatory.

By James Vincent

17 members present and 14 virtually, making 31 in total.


Jim said next week we have a club members observing roundup meeting, participants should contact Jim if they need help with arranging their talk.


Mike introduced Ted for his talk “Teds observatory”


Ted said the great wind of October the 16th 1987 destroyed his greenhouse right next to where he positioned his 6 inch telescope for observing. The greenhouse was the furthest point away from his house and he decided to build an 8 foot observatory in its place. Retrospective planning permission was agreed at the council offices over the telephone but not in writing.


Building started in March 1988 pegs where hammered into the concreate base where the greenhouse had been and the search for hard core began.


Ted travelled to Vacuum coatings at Walthamstow where he looked at a 10 ft Dome and then travelled to BC&F in London to pick up 2 meters of 6 inch dia pipe for a mount for his 6 inch scope.


Ted then had to change the shuttering to make a base for a 10 foot dome in his garden; he said that it’s amazing how much soil comes out of a 1 cubic meter hole.

The dome arrived 6 weeks late and the construction of the observatory was completed in July 1988 first light for the dome was Saturn viewed with his 6 inch telescope due south at 10:30 pm.


Ted decided to upgrade his telescope to a 16 inch f Newtonian reflector in October 1988 this meant doing lots of modifications to the mount and making the slit in the dome wider.

Ted was surprised on his 50th birthday when his wife Eileen presented him with a dome shaped birthday cake and a telescope sticking out of it.


They had been many media events held at the observatory over the years. Ron used the observatory for his experiments with a pinhole camera but that’s another story.


The observatory is still in use today the 16 inch telescope has been sold back to the maker and replaced with a Vixen VMC26L on a Paramount MX mounting.

Ted Finished off his talk by taking questions from the members.

What a fun Night we had.

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