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A couple of amateur telescope makers in Nairobi

Started by Alex McConahay, 11/26/2011 10:02AM
Posted 11/26/2011 10:02AM Opening Post
About a year ago, a fellow amateur astronomer and telescope maker signed on to Astromart for the first time. I was immediately struck with his enthusiasm for the hobby and interest in spreading his love for astronomy to others. I decided I wanted to meet this guy—named Joe.
Sometimes we forget how easy it is to bounce ideas about astronomy with our local clubs, star parties, and shows. Just show up at Stellafane and RTMC, or NEAF and PATS, and there are lots of people to share ideas with. Imagine living in faraway Nairobi. Joe did not have access to those sharing experiences. And his resources were not available at the local Home Depot or Ace Hardware. So, he did what ATM people have always done—he improvised.
When I realized that I was going to nearby Tanzania this fall, I decided to add Nairobi to my itinerary, just to meet Joe and share a bit of enthusiasm. We met up at his work, where he is chaplain to some 600 students at a beautiful private school. We spent some time looking over his scope and sharing ideas. Just like in Springfield or Big Bear, it was just ATM people getting together.
Unfortunately I had scheduled my visit to East Africa to coincide with the little rainy season…..and there was no way we could use his ten inch F 4.35 scope under the solid cloud cover, but we did have time to play with it out in the yard, and it moved smoothly in both axis. He has shown a lot of imagination in his project, including making a version of a reflex finder out of a flat mirror and red light, a finder scope out of half a binocular, and a fine adjust on the altitude elevator.
All in all a great visit.
Just thought you might like to see what can come out of these Astromart postings.
Alex


Attached Image:

Alex McConahay's attachment for post 54502
Posted 11/26/2011 10:47AM #1
Great job Alex. The parallels to John Dobson are amazing. A Great story!

"Praise the Lord for the expanding grandeur of creation, worlds known and unknown, galaxies beyond galaxies, filling us with awe and challenging our imaginations." 2007 Reform Siddur
Posted 11/26/2011 11:05AM #2
What a wonderful experience for you. Thanks for sharing!

dan
Posted 11/26/2011 09:40PM #3
Great story!

Oklahoma State University--The University of Oklahoma!--GO POKES!! GO STATE!!
Posted 11/27/2011 01:24AM #4
Alex McConahay said:

About a year ago, a fellow amateur astronomer and telescope maker signed on to Astromart for the first time. I was immediately struck with his enthusiasm for the hobby and interest in spreading his love for astronomy to others. I decided I wanted to meet this guy—named Joe.
Sometimes we forget...

Just thought you might like to see what can come out of these Astromart postings.
Alex

Many thanks to everyone at Astromart for the encouragement you've offered over the past year. And SPECIAL thanks to Alex.

I couldn't believe it when he actually did show up here at the school in Kenya to say hello and look at the scope.

You know how things are with some of us. I'm already dreaming of more aperture and I haven't even logged all the Messier objects yet! So, it was nice having an expert drop by and offer a wonderful mix of praise and advice.

Anyway, thanks to all.

And my apologies for the weather. Two weeks in one of the darkest parts of the world and the guy never got to see any stars.

That just means you'll have to come back, Alex.

Cleers,
Joe

In lumine tuo videbimus lumen.

8O Home-made 10” Dob / Home-made 4” refractor

EPs: Konig 32mm (1.25") / Zhumell WF 30mm (2") / Nagler 13mm T1 / Orion Sirius Plossls 25 & 10mm / Zhumell Plossl 9 mm / Meade MA 9mm