The "Halloran Telescope"


In November 2009, Joseph Halloran kindly donated a Pyrex 10-inch mirror blank to the HB Astro Group. Dating back to 1965, this beautiful piece of glass was in original box and with lap and grinding materials and even an old handbook on mirror making from the same period. Given the incredible low cost of Newtonian telescopes these days, some may ask... why bother making a mirror ? The answer is simple, it's a great piece of glass with some history and if well figured will make a fine telescope for the club and public viewing nights with a story to tell. Since many are busy here and with our own lack of experience in undertaking such a delicate optical creation, Steve Massey kindly donated shipping costs of $55.00 to send it down to friend Steve Quirk in Mudgee NSW who has made several telescope mirrors in the past. Steve.Q has kindly offered his time and skills to bring well deserved life to this new club telescope. We have decided to go for f/6 and the telescope will be eventually  mounted on a typical dobsonian style base.

A couple of the grits had the bags breaking down in the satchels so they really needed attention.
So they all got washed and put into new containers. A test rig for getting the focal length by reflecting the Sun and the mirror has about an f/7 shape at the moment.

In the pictures below, work is already underway in the basement of Quirk's Silo observatory. We will post more pictures of its development as work progresses. - SM






It took 2 attempts to get the pitch correct. When casting the 1st one, I left it cooling too long before pressing and could not get a good contact across the mirror. After several heating and pressing cycles with a lot of weight, I still could not get the centre to contact, and worse, the mirror and tool locked together. A lot of sweating and cussing finally separated them but destroyed the pitch in doing so.
Second go, pressed the mirror quickly and made good contact... whew!!! I faceted the pitch, pressed for a few hours and gave a 20 minute polish. A quick look on the test bench showed it was on track. After another 30 minutes polishing, it showed just the barest hint of haze but a very even polish right across the surface. Another Ronchi test shows it to be nicely spherical. The
Foucault shadow shows the surface to be still a wee bit ''Dog Biscuity' but that will even out with more polishing. The figuring will then be the final phase.


Cooking the pitch

1st Ronchi Test

50 minutes polishing



Beautiful home made mirror cell now finished - well done Mr.Quirk!


Home made ALT-AZ dobsonian style base now done!


Uncoated primary mirror seen fitted in cell at rear of the tube.
Donated by Astro Shop, the secondary mirror and focuser are now fitted


This image taken by Steve Quirk with a point and shoot camera held up to the eyepiece of our
under-development club scope. Isn't it amazing what can be done even without aluminised mirror coating!?!?



Telescope is now painted. The last step is the mirror aluminising. One of the great things Steve Quirk has done is to make the tube itself easily removed from the dobsonian base so that it can in fact also be mounted in tube rings for use on a heavy duty equatorial mount. Should make for a nice planetary imaging scope as well. The club will off course foot the bill for the mirror coating process.

In the final polishing stages, the image below was taken with the yet, still un-aluminised glass. Quite amazing and shows the potential resolving power of the scope.



Steve Quirk's presentation to HBAS at the USQ campus on the process of building the societies 10-inch telescope.


M42 Great Orion Nebula taken in full Moon sky on the night of the telescopes handover presentation at USQ
Camera GSTAR-EX (no filters) 3 separate exposures - Credit Steve Quirk

Jupiter and the Great Red Spot on the night of the telescopes handover presentation at USQ
Camera ProStar colour CCD imager - Credit Steve Massey

8 months in the making,  the societies wonderful 10-inch telescope is presented by Steve Quirk seen right with Society treasurer Robert Jocumsen (left) At left: members gather to take a peek while channel 7 local news interviews society members. Society president Trevor Taylor can be seen inspecting the new telescope in the background.

Above: The Societies first formal presentation award which was presented to Steve Quirk for his outstanding contribution to the Hervey Bay Astronomical Society. This lovely piece was hand crafted by society member Andy Walters.


Steve Quirk (left) with Joseph Halloran (centre) and Guilio Sartore (right background) with clubs 10-inch custom made telescope. 

Our sincere thanks to Mr. Steve Quirk for his effort and provision of the tube and mount. To Joseph Halloran for the pyrex glass and compounds and to AstroShop for the direction, supply of component parts and shipping costs to make this telescope come to life. It is truly a lovely telescope.


VIDEO from CH7 Local News


Wide Bay Astronomy

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