Saint Petersburg Astronomy Club - Mirror Lab

Location

Science Center of Pinellas
7701 22nd Ave N
Saint Petersburg, FL 33710

We're available from 12 Noon to 4PM each Saturday

Our Founder

Paul McNabb founded the mirror lab in 1997 in order to create the best amateur telecopes possible. Inch for inch our mirrors surpass store bought or commercial grade scopes.

04/12/2012 more

Members

  • Ralph Craig - Lab Instructor
  • Allen Maroney - Lab Instructor
  • Ron Jones - The Figurer
  • Mike Davis - Casts Mirrors
  • Dimitri - Support

Friends

  • James Lerch - Robo Foucault
  • Matt Terry
  • Charlie Mullen
  • Bruce Kazcmarik
  • Keevy McAlavy

In Memorium

  • Irv Nadelhaft
  • Lenny Remetta

04/12/2012 more

Welcome

Where the 19th Century Art of Mirror Making Meets the 21st Century

The Saint Petersburg Mirror Lab is a small band of dedicated mirror grinders and telescope makers living in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. We offer a mirror making class for interested persons. We strive to create the best mirrors our home brew technology can muster. This includes robotic foucault testing and laser interferometry.

  Radio Telescope ’sees’ first light.
2003-10-04

  Mars Closest Approach in 60000 years
2003-08-03
Mars Closest Approach in 60000 years

On the night of Tuesday August
26th Mars made its closest approach to the Earth in over 60000 years. Mars was only 34,646,418
miles from Earth at 5:51am EDT (early Wednesday morning).

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On the night of closest approach. Picture imaged with a cheap $20 camera held up to the
eyepiece.

2003
Date
Location Time
August 16
Saturday
Gulfport Casino 10pm -1am
August 22
Friday
Science Center 9:30pm -1am
August 26
Tuesday
Science Center 9:30pm -1am
August 29
Friday
Gulfport Casino 9pm -1am
August 30
Saturday
Science Center 9pm -1am
September 5
Friday
Gulfport Casino 9pm -1am
September 6
Saturday
Science Center 9pm -1am
September
20 Saturday
Gulfport ArtWalk 8:30pm
-12am
September 26 Friday Science Center 8:00pm
-10pm

  New Image Database Available
2003-06-15

  Total Lunar Eclipse
2003-02-22
Several Members of the lab were interviewed by local tv channels 10 and 13 during the total lunar
eclipse.

  Our Aluminizing Chamber is Demonstrated to the Public
2002-10-25
James Lerch does a demostration of the new aluminizing chamber during a meeting of the Saint
Petersburg Astronomy Club. The meeting was held at the Science Center of Pinellas County. A short
video of the event is available.

  Public Viewing the Night of October 12th 2002
2002-10-12

This is the 10 inch rafflescope during collimation
the afternoon before the public observing.

Oct 12, 2002 Pinellas County Science
Center
Members of the St Petersburg Astronomy Club converge for the first public viewing of
the 2002-2003 observing season.

The club's optics lab performed the first star-testing of
the just completed 10inch rafflescope.

size=+1>CLICK HERE for more information about the
rafflescope


Paul and Pat admire Ralph's daughter Casey's 6" f 4.5 "Blue Star" scope.

The weather was
hot, humid and cloudy (but at least we could see the first quarter moon). About fifty people
attended this event with many recently built telescopes shown off by club members.

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A 3 inch f6 built by Tom. It looks like a nice scale model of a truss telescope but it actually
works.


Tom's other (full size) telescope.


  A 10 inch mirror goes from a blank to aluminized in a week!
2002-09-21
Due to an unfortunate event the 10 inch mirror for the 2003 rafflescope was ruined. James Lerch and
Paul Kristle worked around the clock in shifts to regrind and polish a 10 inch mirror from scatch to
finish.

  Our Vacuum Aluminizing chamber comes online
2002-09-07
Build from parts scavanged on ebay James Lerch has created a vacuum chamber that will coat
(aluminize) mirrors upto 10 inches in diameter. Positioning the heating elements to ensure an even
coat was one of the difficult parts.

  We snap pictures of asteroid 2002 NY40
2002-08-18
Asteroid 2002
NY40 flew past Earth early in the morning on August 17th. It flew by at a distance of 530,000
kilometers or roughly 1.3 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon. NY40 is approximately 800
meters wide and appeared near the bright star Vega. James Lerch took the images.

  8 inch Rafflescope winning from OBS 2002
2002-02-28

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