Homemade Astronomy

by Larry Brown


The telescope workshop of Alvan Clarke c.1900

how to build a telescopehis website was introduced to show my way of designing and building astronomical telescopes, eyepieces, and other equipment. I include updated links to suppliers and other sources of information useful in the building of astronomical equipment by the amateur astronomer. I wanted to illustrate some innovative things I have built over the years, using both simple shop tools as well as advanced programmable NC equipment. I hope the information will be of interest to both the advanced machinist as well as the home shop enthusiast. The workshop of Alvan Clark is featured on this page--a respectful nod to telescope builders of the past. I travel frequently in the search for dark skies around the world and will add reviews on this website of places that are easy to get to and have really dark skies. Villages with no electricity rate very high on my list.

        My companion site Antique Telescopes will be of interest to collectors of vintage and historical astronomical equipment.

2-inch telescope eyepieces

Click on the image for a larger view.

        As an experiment, I decided to build an eyepiece out of the worst optics that I could find. These lenses had small chips on the edges as well as the center, bad coatings, and lots and lots of small scratches. In a moment of desperate humor, I named it the "Bargain Basement Optics" brand and left my own name off. At star parties I bring it out and let people try it without explaining its origin. Luckily, they cannot see the name in the dark. It never fails to get good reviews. It's amazing how little a scratch or chip will effect an image.