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The Big Book of DIY Astronomy Projects

The Big Book of DIY Astronomy Projects

Discover how to make a solar funnel for safely observing the Sun, upgrade your focuser and construct your own telescope with The Big Book of DIY Astronomy Projects. In this special edition, the experts from BBC Sky at Night Magazine show you how you can make your own equipment using everyday objects. With projects covering accessories, telescopes, solar observing, mounts, observatories and imaging this fully illustrated special issue features clear instructions, step-by-step guides, and detailed illustrations and plans, all to help you see the stars without breaking the bank.

United Kingdom
Immediate Media Company London Limited

in this issue

1 min

Amateur astronomers have a proud tradition of making their own equipment. This do-it-yourself ethos was evident from the very beginning: the telescope that Galileo used to make his revolutionary observations of Jupiter’s largest moons was a product of his own hands. Closer to our own time, many innovations we see on commercial telescopes today appeared first on home-built instruments: the Dobsonian telescope, its simple design invented by US amateur astronomer John Dobson, and the Crayford focuser, first designed in the 1960s by UK amateur John Wall. The Big Book of DIY Astronomy Projects follows this heritage and on the following 114 pages you’ll find all the information and instructions you need to cost-effectively build, equip and upgrade your home viewing platform. We’ll show you how to do everything from making a…

1 min
the writers

Ben Kent Ben is an amateur astronomer who observes the night skies from his home in Aberdeenshire Simon Lang Simon is the chairman of the Camden Astronomy and Telescope Making Society Pete Lawrence Pete writes BBC Sky at Night Magazine's Sky Guide section and is an award-winning astrophotographer Robert Lucas Robert wrote the original software for the PIRATE telescope system. See his work at www.virtualscience.co.uk Mark Parrish Mark makes furniture for a living and has been building astronomical equipment for 20 years Terry Pearce Terry is an amateur astronomer and has been teaching people to make their own telescopes since 1967 Steve Richards Steve is BBC Sky at Night Magazine’s Scope Doctor and the author of Making Every Photon Count Vince Sellars Vince is a retired healthcare worker with a keen interest in astronomy and has been exposing solargraphs for years Stephen Tonkin Stephen has been making…

1 min
more online

How to find it Visit www.skytnightmagazme.com/bonuscontent, select the DIY Astronomy section from the list and enter the authorisation code W5TKHFR when prompted. Parts drawings Print out full parts lists complete with measurements for many of the projects. Wiring diagrams Find helpful schematics showing you how to put together electrical circuits. Extra photos Consuft extra images to help guide you through key moments in construction. Calculations Use handy spreadsheets to easily work out the correct dimensions for builds. MORE ONLINE Where you see a project with this box on the following pages, you 11 find more resources on our website to go with it.…

3 min
a diy astronomer’s   workshop

To make the projects described in this special issue, you’ll need some tools and a suitable workspace, so here we’ll advise you about the equipment you need to get started. Choosing the right toolkit should not involve spending lots of money or sourcing extravagant machinery. You may have many of the items on our list already, but if not, everything can be bought from your local DIY store. The tools are also useful for jobs around the home, so you will find plenty of applications for them between projects. A fully equipped workshop would be a dream scenario, and professionals and DIY aficionados may wish to add to our basic list, but the aim here is to give some sensible suggestions to those of you who are just beginning. Tools We recommend purchasing good…

1 min
a diy astronomer’s toolkit

Workspace 1 Bench 2 Bench vice (or use clamps) 3 Adjustable lamp 4 Tool storage (box, bag or rack) 5 Small parts storage (tray, boxes or pots) Marking out 6 Pencil and permanent marker 7 Steel rule (also use with craft knife) 8 Tape measure 9 Adjustable square (measures/marks depths) 10 Centre punch (mark holes prior to drilling) Cutting and shaping 11 Craft knife (and spare blades) 12 Cutting mat (keeps knife tip sharp) 13 Hand drill (or upgrade to cordless drill) 14 Drill bits (HSS bits cut most materials) 15 Handsaw (not for metal) 16 Coping saw (not for metal) 17 Hacksaw (any material, full or junior size) 18 Files (half round and round) 19 Plane Smoothing and finishing 20 Sand paper (coarse, medium and fine) 21 Sanding block 22 Paint brushes (also use for glue) Assembly 23 Screwdrivers (set or holder with bits) 24 Spanners (set or adjustable) 25 Hammer (manageable size) 26 Allen keys 27 Thin pliers/cutters 28 Clamps Powering…

5 min
make a   binocular   dew shield

If you mount your astronomical binoculars, they spend a long time aimed at the sky, resulting in much more radiative cooling than you get with handheld use. With few exceptions, binoculars don’t have any form of dew shield and the consequence is that you can find your observing session cut short by the fading mushy images that are the sign of dew forming on your objective lenses. So here we show you how to make a simple dew shield to extend your observing sessions. Dew forms when an object cools to a temperature called the dew point. The actual temperature of this threshold depends upon the humidity of the air. As the air cools, it can’t hold so much moisture, so the relative humidity increases until it reaches 100 per cent,…