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
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.
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
LIGHT REPORT – JUNE
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.
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
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!"