The name itself evokes an image of days gone by
Those were the glorious days when telescope making was a rare art that not many knew about. And telescopes were out of reach of most people. Nowadays almost anyone can afford a wonderful telescope. But this amateur telescope makers club continues to thrive and their annual Stellafane event in Springfield Vermont is extraordinarily popular. It has been going on since 1926! Visit the Stellafane website here
The picture here at left shows the Stellafane clubhouse, the Porter Turret telescope and a beautiful big telescope in the foreground.
Stellafane is all about making telelescopes and of course showing them off. Each convention is loaded with all kinds of unique, and big, telescopes that people have made. They have workshops on telescope making and workshops on mirror grinding. If you are interested in telescope making Stellafane is the event you really have to go to! They also have competitions and technical lectures. Stellafane has been officially declared a National Historic Landmark.
What they Have: A clubhouse with a Polar Cassegrain telescope, a Transit Telescope, a Solar Telescope, and a south wall Sundial. But the spectacular thing about Stellafane is the Porter Turret Telescope.
The Porter Turret Telescope (Its the funny shaped white building in the picture)
One of the unique things about Stellafane is the Porter Turret telescope. It is a unique telescope built for the Vermont cold winters. The optics are outside the building and the observer is inside! Its really a unique thing and it is a modification of a newtonian whereas no matter which way you point the optics the observer can stay comfortably in one spot. Very nice. Have you ever tried to look through the eyepiece of a 12" newtonian as it was looking straight up? You need a ladder for that. This telescope takes all the discomfort out of viewing. You can read more about this particular scope on the Stellafane site here
Here is a drawing of how the telescope works. You can see that the eyepiece is indoors and can be in a heated environment. The turret can be rotated and the 16' flat mirror rotated. This allows you to reach a large portion of the sky.
The Stellafane Annual telescope Makers Convention for 2010 : will be held Thursday through Sunday August 5-8, 2010.Learn more about Stellafane on their website