Saint Petersburg Astronomy Club - Mirror Lab


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.

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


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

In Memorium

  • Irv Nadelhaft
  • Lenny Remetta

04/12/2012 more


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.

  Two polishers
Brad Lytle (left), Mike Davis (right) polish their mirrors and John ONeill visits the lab.

  Scott finished his mirror
This is a beautiful 8 inch, 1/9th wave mirror that has a stunning polish and a perfect edge. Nice
work Scott!

  The FigureXP results of Scott's Mirror
The other axis was slightly less so we're using it to call this a 1/9th wave mirror.

  Mike polishing towards a sphere
Mike is helping out during the polishing phase of his son's 8 inch mirror. There was a 500nm hill
in the middle that he was cleaning up. By the end of the day the shape was a nice sphere and the
laser test said that middle was polished. Once the polish works its way to the edge Scott will
start figuring. (Photo by Scott)

  Lenny Remetta is visiting the heavens
Our friend, fellow astronomer, bike rider, photographer and mirror lab rat, Lenny Remetta, passed
away in mid July 2013. We miss you Lenny and we'll be thinking of you every time we look up!

  Lab staff 18th wave mirror
The mirror lab staff occasionally makes a mirror in our spare time. This 10" mirror, with final
figuring by Ralph Craig, finished with a beautiful 18th wave figure. Okay, the other axis was only
16th wave.

  Glass Stress - X marks the spot
The black background is actually a white LCD screen with a polarizing filter blocking its linearly
polarized light. If the glass (tool here) had no stress it too would be black. The stress in the
glass bends the light and allows it to pass through the filter. This glass will be annealed and
later made into a mirror.

  Scott begins his mirror
Scott begins hogging out his 8" mirror. According to the sagitta meter (the bar and gauge on the
mirror) he reached about half of the needed depth during the first lab session.

  Brittany finished her 10 inch mirror
Brittany finished her 10 inch f4.9 1/6th wave mirror today. It has a fantastic polish and edge.

  Brittany and her dad polish mirrors
Brittany and her father, Stan, were working on 10 inch mirrors this week. Brittany's f4.9 mirror is
fully polished and ready for figuring. Stan was visiting the lab for the first time and we put him
to work in a 10 inch f5 mirror that will be used to calibrate the robotic Foucault tester.

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