photo by Greg Pyros
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 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
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!
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.
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.
"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."