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A Short History of Amateur Telescope Making
by Frank Ward

Why on earth would I make a telescope?

There is little doubt that undertaking the project to build your own telescope is a challenge. This challenge can be tackled on many levels. No matter what level you wish to tackle it, whether you purchase prefabricated parts or make every single piece yourself, You will be challenged to think and to improvise. No two telescopes are alike. Each is as unique as its builder. Each speak volumes of their creators. In undertaking this project, you will be challenged to go beyond the frustrations of a short term project. You will be challenged to complete a fine instrument which remains the most accurate surface created by man to this day. You decide the level of challenge you are ready for. When completed with one level, you decide if you are up to the test of the next level.

You will be in the company of great scientists that survive today long after they have passed as a result of the work they left behind. Names like Galileo and Sir Isaac Newton are only two of the scientists before you that chose this trek. People that, using the tools available to them (what they made and what they scrounged) were able to build something to look up at the heavens. It is that spirit that you will be tasting.

With any Telescope, comes a shot at immortality. This is not a watch that you purchased. It is a heavenly tool that you created with your own hands. It is a piece of you that could last many many generations. Perhaps to give to a son or daughter. Perhaps even named after them. It is a piece of you that you will pass on. A piece of you that will outlive you. A piece of you to go into the future.

In essence, it is you own attempt to be greater than yourself. It is your attempt to state your desire to reach out to that which is above you. To with your own hands touch the sky.

In many cases, these instruments continue to evolve and improve. There can be little doubt that those who undertake this project, do so with no small amount of pride.

Don't be afraid to share the wealth. Once you begin, you'll find you can't stop talking about it. Friends and family will be amazed at your progress. Share this with them. Soon, you will be the member of a very exclusive club. Let's face it, it is not everyday you meet someone who builds their own telescope and its optics, let alone boasts better performance than most commercial instruments. This is a very old club going back hundreds of years. It is a sharing club. We share our knowledge and our love of ATM and of astronomy. We are here to help and introduce. For those up for the challenge, welcome aboard.
 

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