32" F/4 Computer-Controlled Fork-Mounted Research Telescope
These pages are
maintained by me (Mike Lockwood) as part of my web site. I posted
them because I
suspect that a number of people who visit my site will be interested to
hear about the achievements of this amazing telescope built by amateurs.
Recent Achievements of the 32"
(0.8 meter) F/4 telescope
This telescope was designed and built by Bob Holmes, founder of the Astronomical
Research Institute. It stays quite busy doing science, mainly
on near-earth asteroids, minor planets, and searching for
supernovas. Bob operates the telescope, taking images
and uploading them to a server where classes across
the country can analyze them as an educational activity. Students
get to learn about astronomy, and they get credit for the
section summarizes the latest achievements of the telescope and its
32" telescope achievements
Since its first (coated) light in July
of 2006, the telescope has produced hundreds of position observations
for known asteroids, near-earth objects (NEOs), and trans-Neptunian
As of March 6, 2007, 62 new
asteroids have been discovered in images captured by this
telescope, 40 by students,
and 22 by Bob himself,
including one TNO.
The faintest asteroid imaged up to this point is magnitude 23.6 (as of
5/25/07). This is
extraordinary for an amateur-built telescope, in my opinion!
CCD Images taken
with the 32" F/4 - Images of a faint
asteroid and a "fun" (non-science) image of M51 added recently.
My compilation of cool images.
discovered with the 32" F/4 - Bob's page
discoveries made by students analyzing Bob's images from the 32" scope
Keep checking back for updates. I update the statistics and post
new images as they become available.
The next sections details telescope construction and the story of the
The Story of the Telescope
building this telescope a few years ago. It intended use is
the objects mentioned above. Bob designed and welded together the
structure himself, which is an impressive feat when you think about the
time, and sheer amount of work involved in building a metal telescope
large. Bob's (and my) friend John Pratte is shown in the first
for scale. John is responsible for the fine machining of the
parts for the telescope, shafts, etc., and he did a brilliant job.
links to Bob's
current web pages and some that are related:
Bob Holmes' Home
Page - Bob's site for the Astronomical Research
Institute, describing his research, etc.
Holmes' Page about the 32" F/4 scope - photos of assembly and
installation of components (using a crane!)
LIGHT! Read about it here! - A night I will never, ever
forget, as photons are collected for the first time.
The Saga of the Primary Mirror
Bob bought the BVC blank, generated to F/5, 2.25" thick. It was
sent to a
commercial outfit that was supposed to have finished it in a timely
manner, but after a year and a half they proved themselves incapable of
making a large mirror - the best they could do was a badly scratched,
wedged, astigmatic mirror (to the tune of 10-20 waves) that had somehow
migrated its way to F/4! Since
I live only an hour away
from Bob and he knows my work, he asked me to fix the mirror, and I was
It would be a challenging project.
The first step in the process was to dewedge the blank, and that is
done (see link just below) Also, there's a link to photos of the
grinding machine and its assembly, and now there is a new page
summarizing the mirror-making process that was completed in June 2006.
the 32" F/4 blank - Completed in early April.
Large Grinding Machine - Now in my shop.
32" F/4 BVC Mirror - Mirror finished 6/10/06, after
only 28 days in my shop!