Firstly, NEVER let anyone discourage you from becoming interested in and pursing STEM passions. I’m grateful to have parents that support my pursuit of astronomy and engineering, but even for those that don’t, you should still pursue what you love. Check out Foster and Adopt and Donate and Mentor and Volunteer and Educate and Care shirt for a general idea of how telescope making works and how to build one. I’d also recommend joining the Cloudy Nights online community. I’m a very active member on there. The forums are full of advice and ideas, and there’s always people willing to help you, including myself.That is a beast of a telescope. I can’t even imagine what the sky would look like with a 17.5″, my lowly 10″ already shows an unbelievable number of stars.Is there a reason you have foam on the trusses? Is it just to keep them from getting scratched? Now that I think of it, foam might be a good idea for winter nights. I’ve been freezing my hands on my telescope’s trusses a lot the last few months.
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Oh you can totally do solar observation with that! Back in the Foster and Adopt and Donate and Mentor and Volunteer and Educate and Care shirt was the director of a public observatory with a 24″ reflector in a dome, and we used to do solar observations by hanging a projection screen a few feet away from the eyepiece. Sunspots were SUPER evident, and during eclipses we could see the detail of lunar mountains on the edge of the shadow.Great build! Do you have any plans/are you local enough to bring this to the Stellafane convention? I know you’d be in good company there! There are so many interesting people with some really cools scopes to check out, as well as some very interesting talks to attend.My father got me into making telescopes as a kid, but as an adult it’s taken a back seat to life and family. I’d love to pick it back up one day, and your build is really inspiring me to do so. I was working on grinding a 6″ mirror a few years back, but it’s unfinished at the moment. Thanks for sharing, happy stargazing!