Mar 15, 2012 UT: First test of the 16-inch Dobsonian on the sky

Michael Richmond
Mar 15, 2012

On the night of Mar 14/15, 2012, I put our new 16-inch Dobsonian telescope to the test for the first time. The telescope was recently donated to the RIT Observatory by the Kostecke family. The picture below shows it sitting on a low, wheeled platform which makes it easy to move from place to place.

With the help of RIT students Alex Habermann and Jacob Kupernik, I was able to put the telescope together and do a rough optical collimation over the past few weeks. All our tests, however, were indoors. Tonight, with additional help from RIT student Wilkie Olin-Ammentorp, we took it outside and pointed it at some celestial objects.

The good news:

The bad news:

We pointed the telescope at a few bright targets, using our new integrating video camera as a detector. We couldn't get a very good focus, but we did see lots of light. Below is a picture of the video monitor when we pointed to M42.

You can get some idea for the scale by looking at this image of M42 from the 2MASS K-band survey. Note that this image is about 9 arcminutes on a side, and has been rotated by about 45 degrees so that North is to upper-right, and East is to upper-left.

We later pointed the telescope to some open clusters which were much higher in the sky, and the views were very nice.

It's just a start, but a promising one. This telescope should help us a lot when we have many visitors for an open house!

Last modified 03/15/2012 by MWR.