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Book Reviews: Making a Telescope

The art of making a telescope has been around quite a while now and while there isn't much of a selection when it comes to newer books there are plenty of older books that can be had which explain the process of making a telescope.

In this article I review a variety of telescope making books and tell you about them so you can choose the book or books that are right for you.

Five telescope making books

Making Your Own Telescope by Allen J. Thompson (First printing 1947) - In this book the author makes a six inch f/9 Newtonian reflector and he shows us the process. It also includes in-depth information about grinding and figuring the mirror. If you want to grind your own reflector mirror this is a good book to get. It also covers, diagonals, epepieces and optical flats. The author shows us several ways to make a standard equatorial mount in a variety of different ways including using piping, or making a wood tripod, and even cemeting a post into the ground. This book has been reprinted and updated over the years and this particular printing is the eighth printing in 1963.

Standard Handbook for Telescope Making - by Neale E. Howard This is a well rounded book that takes you through a lot of the different aspects of telescope making from grinding the mirror to eyepieces, tubes, mounts, and even observatories and celestial photography. This is a good well-rounded book with lots of information in a variety of areas. It even covers some things as short and long focus newtonians. A little over 350 pages and a lot of good information in here.

Amateur Telescope Making Edited by Stephen F. Tonkin This is a collection of articles on telescope making projects that range from a standard 6" newtonian to exotic projects like a 15.5" newtoniain and a Shiefspeigler which is a folded optics style reflector. Also stuff about a Wright Camera, telescope mounts and astrophotography. And this book moves somewhat into the modern era with an article about building a CCD camera and a telescope controller for Synchronous motors. Interesting series of articles. What it gives you is an in-depth look at all these various projects and how the builder made them. Great for generating ideas on what kind of telescope you want to make. The stories of how the telescope makers over came challenges is also rather interesting. This book doesn't cover mirror grinding. It is a book about making a variety of telescope mounts and tubes. I like this book.

How to Make a Telescope by Jean Texereau (second edition, 1984, copyright 1957) This book was the standard for making telescope mirrors and optics and it still may be the standard. It is over 400 pages and a good portion of it is devoted to making your own mirrors. There is a lot of informatio in this regard from grinding to testing and polishing. Plenty of information about foucault testing and more. There is information about the variety of equatorial mounts and quite a few great pictures of home made telescopes. The major focus of this book is creating the mirrors of your reflector telescope.

Telescopes: How to Make them and Use them - Edited with commentaries by Thornton Page and Lou Williams Page - If you are a fan of telescopes or just passionate about them this is a really nice book. It gives you some nice history of telescopes and the basics of telescopes and how they work. It also looks at some of the earlier telescopes, which is something I love. There is also lots of information about how to use a telescope to observe various objects such as the moon, planets and stars etc. Chapters on Special purpose telescopes like a the Maksutov and cassegrains. This book gives you some practical advice and theory on making telescopes, mirrors, tubes and mounts but it isn't a handbook for doing so. Just general learning information about how to do it. The last chapter of this book is a wonderful look at some of the famous observatories and telescopes of the world. circa the 1960's so the 200" Hale telescope is the crowning masterpiece of the time.

Looking to buy one of these books? You can peruse the offerings on Amazon.com and eBay to find them.

Amazon.com

There are plenty of these telescope making books on ebay. com

Telescope Making Books on eBay

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