Telescope Making
Badlands Observatory

There is an element of regret in posting the images on this page, because so many of the instruments shown here were destroyed in the Badlands Observatory fire of Dec. 30, 1998. A 12.5" Dobsonian reflector telescope was also destroyed, but no picture was available. It was decided to show pictures of these instruments, because they all were important stepping stones towards the final telescope now being used at Badlands Observatory.  (Click on images to enlarge).


wpeD.jpg (30632 bytes)   1963 --This 12.5" Dall-Kirkham reflector was built for Hidden Valley Observatory in Rapid City, SD. The original optics were fabricated by Ron Dyvig. Unfortunately, vandals destroyed those optics, requiring replacement by a commercial Newtonian system in 1967. The German equatorial mount was constructed by Ivan Crown and Byron Painter (both now deceased) of the Black Hills Astronomical Society. The rejuvenated version of this telescope is still actively used by the BHAS.

wpe10.jpg (31991 bytes)   1975--This is a replica of the first reflecting telescope invented by Sir Isaac Newton in 1668. This remarkable invention resulted in his being inducted into the Royal Society of London, the most prestigious scientific organization in the world at the time. Recent historical evidence has indicated that Newton's original model stored in the Royal Society archives may itself, in fact, be a very old replica.  Some of the parts used may have been part of Newton's original models.  Ron Dyvig's model is patterned after the specimen in the archives. However, he chose to make the primary mirror from plate glass instead of speculum metal. (destroyed in fire)

wpeD.jpg (33919 bytes)   1984--A telescope can be made on a real budget when necessary. This 6" Newtonian/Cassegrain combination telescope was built for less than $100. The optical system could be switched between the Newt/Cass by use of a quick change secondary. The mount was constructed from PVC tubing that was internally stiffened with copper pipe imbedded in Epoxy resin, creating a very sturdy yet lightweight instrument. The optics, of course, were also homemade. (destroyed in fire)

wpe10.jpg (59705 bytes)   1986--This vintage-style brass refractor used an objective lens manufactured by the A. Jaegers Co., but the rest was designed and constructed by Ron Dyvig. It was featured in the December 1986 issue of Sky & Telescope magazine. This was not a replica of a particular antique instrument, rather an original design employing the methods and materials prevalent in the 19th century. (destroyed in fire)

wpe11.jpg (58592 bytes)   1986--The vintage refractor was made to disassemble for transport via these mahogany cases. It was enjoyable using this telescope to observe Comet Halley during its return in 1986...76 years after it would have been observed with similar instruments on its last passage. (destroyed in fire)

wpe12.jpg (23626 bytes)   1992--This 6" f/8 Dobsonian was made for use at Hidden Valley Observatory. Optics by Michael O’Connor, and telescope by Ron Dyvig.

wpe13.jpg (37360 bytes)   1993--8" f/8 Dobsonian made for use at Hidden Valley Observatory. Optics and telescope by Ron Dyvig. The 8" mirror blank was donated by former BHAS member Walter Kaminski. The telescope has now been loaned back to Ron Dyvig for use at Badlands Observatory. The open skeleton tube assembly is from Ron’s first telescope project in 1962.

wpe14.jpg (77358 bytes)   1994--This is a 10" f/5.0 Dobsonian telescope that was made for use at Hidden Valley Observatory. The telescope was constructed by Steve Parker and the optics fabricated by Ron Dyvig from a partially completed primary mirror that was started by former member Kent Stevens and then donated to the BHAS. Pictured with the telescope is former member Jan Buckley.

wpe15.jpg (65138 bytes)  1995--This is the 26" Dobsonian version of the telescope that now resides in Badlands Observatory. This version was used as a test bed to evaluate the optics before proceeding with the rest of the project. Fortunately, the primary mirror and its cell, along with the upper cage assembly, were spared destruction by the Badlands fire. The rest of the telescope was consumed.

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