Click to see an enlarged MS Paint rendering of the VSC/ SAO/ BGRP 127mm f/9.4 Refractor!

Here is a photo of the home-built VSC/ SAO Jaegers f/10 'Gelinda J. Dawson' refractor. Construction was completed on the instrument on June 9th, 2013. Click to see an enlarged image.




Click this image to see an enlarged view.

The VSC/ SAO Carton 6" f/10 "Gelinda J. Dawson" refractor with Mel Dawson at the helm performing First Light on June 17th, 2010 . Click to see an enlarged image.

****  All photos within the sections below can be viewed in greater detail. Just click on the photos below to go to that page.  ****

Click to go to the Component and Ray Trace Plans for the VSC/ SAO/ Jaegers 6" inch f/10 "Gelinda J. Dawson" Refractor!

Component Design Plans

Click to go to the Optical Tube Assemble Preparation for the VSC/ SAO/ Jaegers 6" inch f/10 "GJD" Refractor!

Optical Tube Assembly Preparation



Hello Fellow Stargazers, and ATM'ers! ...and Welcome to the web pages covering the construction overview of the VSC's "SAO Jaegers 6" inch f/10 "Gelinda J. Dawson' Refractor". To honor and cherish the memory of my dearly beloved wife, Gelinda J. Dawson, I dedicated the construction of this telescope. It represents the finest ATM effort I have done to this day, and serves as a lasting monument to the love, compassion, and support she has given me during our time together. I pray that each time I gaze through its optics, I will feel her presents filling my soul with joy and happiness.

On July 9th, 2011, I purchased a vintage Jaegers 6” f/10 refractor objective for the “GJD” from Surplus Shed, located in Fleetwood, PA. It cost $430.00 (cost+shipping), a fraction of the cost of the original price of $1750.00 offered by A. Jaegers' son (prior to the buyout by Surplus Shed the same year). The elements were uncoated, for which I had them AR coated by Majestic Optical Coatings, based in Clark, NJ. The objective cell, focuser backplate and focuser support ring were all fabricated by Eric Moerman of Belgium, a dear friend and fellow ATM'er who also made the clock drive for my 10” Fork Mounted Newtonian. The main tube is a 50” length of 7” diameter 6061-T6 aluminum tubing with a wall thickness of .083” and was purchased from Air Flow Systems, based in Portland, OR. It is flocked with ProtoStar “FlockBoard” flocking material that is .040” thick. The dew shield is 8” in diameter and 12” long, with a wall thickness of .083”, and is flocked with spray-on Rustoleum Truck Bed Coating that is covered with Rustoleum Black Camouflage spray paint. The focuser is a GSO 2” dual-speed (10:1) Crayford with a 7” drawtube with 5.250” of travel that was salvaged from a Meade 5000 80mm APO focuser. The four baffle rack is constructed from .250” thick clear sanded polycarbonate flocked with Rustoleum Black Camouflage spray paint, and spaced strategically using three 1/4-20 threaded rods and hardware. After precise measuring, the rack snugly fits in the main tube without hardware much like the one in my Carton 100mm f/13 “Mary Dawson” refractor. The exterior of the main tube is painted with Rustoleum “Sail Blue” (a.k.a. “Vega Blue”) spray enamel, and the exposed areas of the objective cell, focuser backplate and support ring were all painted with Rustoleum Black Hammered Finish spray paint.

In designing and constructing the Jaeger 6” f/10 “GJD” Achromatic Refractor, I wanted to build an instrument that would withstand the tests of time and provide many years of observing pleasure. I believe this has been accomplished. The highly praised vintage Jaegers optics in this telescope are awesome and has great provenance within the astronomical community. I find myself truly privileged to own these historic optics and to use them in the scope I have named in honor of my wife, Gelinda J. Dawson.

Much like the Carton 100mm f/13 “Mary Dawson” refractor, I built the GJD refractor with longevity in mind. All metal components used are rust resistant and should last a lifetime. The objective cell components, focuser backplate and focuser support ring were all professionally milled from a single 10”x10” billet of 6061-T6 aluminum by my friend Eric Moerman, an awesome machinist and ATM'er in Belgium. Both objective cell and focuser support ring can be collimated to align the optical train precisely for better image quality. The use of the quality GSO Crayford focuser aids in reducing off-axis misalignment and backlash, which were plagues of the rack and pinion focusers of old. To render high contrast images that makes you wonder where the edge-of-field is in many eyepieces, I used ProtoStar “FlockBoard” flocking material, along with four (4) strategically placed knife-edge baffles within the main tube. I plan to use this instrument for visual, as well as for astrophotography. It should prove worthy in both arenas. I feel confident Gelinda would be pleased to have this telescope named in her behalf.


Finally! I was able to conduct First Light despite degraded sky conditions last night (06/17/2013). Ultimately, it was a mad rush to test the scope on a limited number of objects before the clouds moved in.

In surveying the current weather conditions in the area, I noticed that my First Light session was going to be short lived. Storms to the east and a mass of cottony stratocumulus clouds from the southeast were moving in. The temperature was in the low 80’s, no breeze, and the relative humidity was near 90%. It was truly uncomfortable.

My first subject was the waxing gibbous moon. It was about 45 degrees above the western horizon. Without allowing for acclimation, I took aim at the moon and brought it to focus. I was very impressed with how sharp the item was with the use of TeleVue 31mm Nagler; yielding a magnification of 49x. BUT, there was some CA around the moons limb, with hints of purple and green detected as I moved my eye about the eye lens. On axis, CA faded significantly.

I next performed a star test on Antares as it loomed in the southern sky to check collimation. In focus, I noticed that the tight diffraction rings were more prominent on one side of the star. Then, I racked the focuser out a bit to see Antares’ airy disk. I immediately noticed the bright spot within the air disk was off center by more than have the disk’s radius! That is very substantial, I thought! I also figured it could be aiding in cause of the CA I was detecting to a degree. Not 100% percent of it, but a good amount.

Moving on quickly with degrading weather, I trained the Jaegers 152/1524 on Saturn using a Pentax 12mm XF ocular. Despite the misalignment of the optics and weather, the ringed planet snapped into view quite well. Before long, I only had enough time to capture a few shots of the moon before clouds filled the sky completely. An image is shown in my next post.

Well, it looks like I have some work to do in getting the GJD aligned. Typically, I perform a laser collimation of the optics, but I did not plan to do it until after First Light. So, I must get to work.


Sincerely, Mel Dawson     ..."Clear Skies, Forever!"