Saint Petersburg Astronomy Club - Mirror Lab


We are looking for a new home
As soon as we have the new location set we will post the location and hours here.

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


  • 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.

  Mike, Mike and Dave
Mike, Mike and Dave polishing mirrors with Irv, Allen and Ralph (taking photo) supervising the

  Mirror Lab helps local science teacher
This 16 inch Meade Dob was donated to the local school system. George Fatolitus, center, is the
science teacher that will be using it with his students. He brought it to the Optical Lab where
we cleaned the optics, fixed some mechanical issues with the primary cell and base and then
collimated it. That's Paul McNabb at the eyepiece and Ralph Craig, right. Next Jim Hunter, who
recently finished a 16" mirror (see photo further down this page), will show Mr. Fatolitus how to
field collimate and use the scope.

  Pauls new Dob
Paul McNabb with a new Dob telescope base that he made for a 10" scope. The optical tube is being
assembled and it should be ready for observing at the Orange Blossom Special in early March

  Tom Greens f/4.9 Mirror
Tom Green on the first day of polishing his 12.5" f/4.92 mirror. We were able to get an accurate
Foucault focal length of 61". After taking in to account the 1/8" bevel the mirror has a surface
diameter of 12.325".

  Bobs Mirror
This is the final and 49th test of Bob's mirror from the Robotic Foucault Tester. The 65nm
(nanometer) mark represents a 1/4 wave mirror (peak to valley) of green/yellow light's wavelength,
which is considered good enough for a commercial mirror. Bob's mirror, at 13th wave, is more
than three times better than that.

  New Mirror Completed
Bob Helmling with his 10" f/5.9 mirror finished on December 4th, 2010. This is an amazing 13th
wave mirror with a good edge and a smooth, well polished surface.

  New Mirror Completed
Dave Pearson with his newly finished 1/6th wave 10" mirror on 11-20-2010.

  New Mirror Completed
Jim Hunter finished his extremely well polished one sixth wave 16" f/4.4 mirror on September 25th,

  New 16 and 18 inchers Debut at OBS 2010
Ralph Craig and his 16inch f/5 Dob at the 2010 Orange Blossom Special (OBS) Star Party on 2-10-2010.
This was first light for this telescope, which was completed about a day before the star party
began. Ralph made the 16" mirror for this telescope at the OBS Optical Lab. Allen Maroney and
his 18inch f/4.89 dob during first light on 2-6-2010. Allen made the 18" mirror for this
telescope at the SPAC Optical Lab.

  We're still Here. Photos for 2009
Lynn, Irv and Allen are all finishing up telescope projects. href=>Here are some recent

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