President’s Message – October 2002

Posted On October 1, 2002

The Kuhn telescope - the bad news and the good news.

photo by Greg Pyros

The bad news.

The Kuhn telescope is currently out of action. The main control board burned out. The control board is a very critical part of the system and without it the telescope is unfortunately quite unusable. The board which burned out is one that we had only a few spare parts for - which have all been used over the years to fix other similar situations that have occurred.

We had an emergency board meeting on August 18th to hear from the experts on how we could best recover from this disaster. OCA Members John Hoot and Dave Radosevich gave presentations to the board on exactly what happened and how best to fix the problems.

The good news:

The OCA board approved the selection of a brand new control system for the Kuhn. This control system, from a company called Comsoft, is used in other large telescopes such as ours. Along with the new control system will be new motors that will enable the telescope to have greatly improved tracking and pointing accuracy.

The control system is not the only thing that will be replaced. Dave Radosevich is also undertaking the task of re-machining various parts of the telescope. Over the years the telescope has developed some mechanical faults that may even have contributed to the failure of the control system. If these problems remained unchecked we may find that any new control system we install would also fail.

Repairs to the telescope are now well underway. All of the new control system hardware and software has been ordered. At the September Star Party many who were there had a chance to help out with the renovations of the Kuhn. This included cleaning the telescope and the observatory.

For me, a very special part of the work carried out included the removal of the 22" mirror. For some time we have been debating getting the mirror re-coated. While the telescope is out of action it makes good sense to do such a thing anyway. I shot a video of the entire process. It is quite an amazing thing to watch. Dave Radosevich took charge of the mirror which is now delivered to a specialized mirror coating company.

By the end of the year (maybe even sooner) we should have the Kuhn Telescope back in action again, in an almost as-new physical condition, and with a new and much improved control system that will allow us to truly use the telescope as a first class scientific instrument and a platform for accurate astrophotography. This repair work, while absolutely critical, does not come cheap. In total the board has authorized approximately $8500 for all the repair work described above.

There is no doubt that our club owes a debt of gratitude to many people who have helped provide critical knowledge and expertise. I would like everyone to recognize the amazing effort of Dave Radosevich. He has even put the repair of the Kuhn telescope ahead of his own personal project to build a 40" Telescope on his property just north of our Anza site. Now that is dedication. Thank you Dave!

A new telescope arrives at the Anza observatory.

Through the extreme generosity of John Hoot we now have a new 12" LX200 telescope on the south-west corner of the observatory. This new 12" Telescope joins the existing 10" LX200 on the south-east side. Even though our clubs 22" Telescope is out of action it is still possible for Star Members to book the observatory to use the LX200 telescopes. Thank you again John!

Observatory/Telescope Custodian

Our existing custodian of the clubs telescope is Bob Gill. This is a post he has maintained for many years now. Bob wanted to give someone else a chance to take on the role. While the board will certainly miss Bob in this role - we would like to again thank Bob for all his hard work and dedication over the years. Thank you Bob!

I can also announce the name of the new Observatory/Telescope(s) Custodian. John Hoot has agreed to take on this position. John comes to the position with great credentials from running his own personal observatory in San Clemente and being intimately involved with the Kuhn telescope and the control system over the past few years. I know the clubs telescopes will be in very good hands.

Star Member Trainer

Chuck Lodoza has held the position of Star Member trainer for more years than any of us can remember. Chuck also feels it is about time he allowed someone else to step into this role. I would like to again express the sincere thanks and deep appreciation of the club for all the effort and dedication Chuck has shown over these many years. Thank you Chuck!

For the time being we are putting together a group of "Star Member Trainers" to help with any new requests for Star Member training. However for the next few months we will be developing a new training program related to the Kuhn as the method of using the telescope will be completely altered with the new control system.

Liam Kennedy
"every day we are connecting ever more photons of light from distant galaxies to the eyes, hearts, minds and imaginations of our members and others in our community."