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ASTRONOMY 13ABC (Astronomical Optics)

1 unit; 3 hours lab
Recommended Preparation: Astronomy 20 or 25 or equivalent with a grade of B or better; Mathematics 70 Credit, degree applicable Transfer CSU

In this course, the student will be introduced to principles of astronomical optics. The student will apply those principles to the design, fabrication, and use of a telescope, which will be tested under the night sky. Primary mirrors are ground, smoothed, polished, and figured by hand. Extensive testing is done in the optical shop. Optical and optical testing theories are presented. Students will design and build a custom optical tube assembly for their primary mirror as well as a telescope mount.

Note: Minimum cost for a completed telescope is $250.

mirror & tool

How to Make a Telescope

Here is a series of images of the steps in mirror making demonstrated by El Camino College students.

The Finished Product

At the end of each semester, students test out their telescopes under dark skies during one of the astronomy class observing trips. Here are several examples of completed telescopes made by Astronomy 13 students (and our Instructor).

Advanced Projects

In addition to the individual telescopes made by the students, a group of veteran telescope makers have taken on an ambitious group project. Click here for information and images about the "Glass of 42", and 42" diameter modified Dall-Kirkham reflecting telescope.

For questions and comments about the telescope making class, call Perry Hacking at (310) 660-3245 or e-mail.

 Last Published 4/26/11