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9/26/2015

Mike Clements and his 70 inch Telescope

     Mike Clements was with me in the September new moon period and we were able to plan out some things we are going to do to keep his 70 inch project in the limelight so people know what is going on.  First, we are going to create a blog or website, not sure which, I am making both where Mike via video will share what he has done and is doing to the 70 inch telescope.  It won't be on this blog, this will be for Mike and his project. However, I will reference it and link to it on a regular basis.  Second, Mike has the silvering process down really well now for the mirror and has motors for the telescope so it tracks now. I am hoping to get with Mike tomorrow and touch base on getting some of the filming done so we can get some posts and info up.

     So give it a week or two and hopefully, Mike will be able to reach out and share with everyone what is going on with his 70"  It is still up, still working and he Mike is making wonderful modifications and improvements on it. As with any reflector, it is truly a work in progress and Mike thinks there is enough interest to share more about that wonderful project. Anyone interested? Want a peak? That's possible probably on a Sunday evening . . . . watch for Mike's site coming.

Edit: I made a website for Mike but I haven't been able to meet up with him on Sunday (my fault).  There is talk of housing the 70" at the Salt Lake Astronomical Society's Stansbury Park Observatory Complex.

Edit 2:  The 70 inch scope is out at Steve Dodd's land/home of Nova Optical.  There is significant discussion of housing it at the Stansbury Park Observatory Complex, home to the Salt Lake Astronomical Society.  It would get use there, and be available for the public to view through but the skies there are light polluted, limiting the impact of the 70 inch mirror. Growth in the area will continue to compromise that location as more light pollution comes in.  Personally I would love to see it housed at a dark site location where the mirror could really be utilized to its maximum. However, SPOC as it is called, may be the best bet since it would draw people to the outreach down at that location.  I personally just don't think that this scope was made for light polluted skies. I am a member of the Salt Lake Astronomical Club but I am not overly active in it due to scheduling conflicts with the board meeting and general meeting times.

As mentioned I did create a google site for Mike's scope but I was not able to meet up with him. That site would have been here but there is nothing on it but the test framework.  I may or may not be able to meet up with Mike, as I am not sure of his schedule and mine has filled up of late.  I would still love to collaborate and make the site work for Mike, but we'll see.  If your in the area of Salt Lake City, you could try to contact Mike and he is usually willing on a Sunday evening to share the views from his scope and discuss it with you.  I can't promise anything for Mike but he is very gracious in doing things like this.





EDIT 2/28/2016

There has been news on Mike Clements 70" reflector telescope.  The Astro Club that I am a member of is securing a long term lease to its site so that they can build a roll away building to house the 70" which would be mounted there. Here are two recent articles that I hope you can read. 




The first article is more reflective I believe of what will happen with the scope. Mike, once his trailer is built will take it to a couple of star parties and then leave it for most of the year at the Stansbury Park Observatory Complex or what is called SPOC by members. SPOC houses and is home to The Harmons Observatory which boasts of a 40 cm (16") Ealing Classical Cassegrain telescope with CCD imaging capabilities and an 81 cm (32") computer controlled (Go-To) reflector telescope. The complex also houses a beautiful 200 mm (7.9") Brandt refractor in The Refractor House.  Please see this LINK f you want to see these telescopes which is on the SLAS website. 

Since I have opinions, I will share mine here. I have mixed feelings about housing the 70" at SPOC but that is not my call.  Here is why.  The surrounding Light Pollution will dim the view significantly and regardless of local ordinances to lessen the impact of Light Pollution in the area, the area is growing and will continue to have a significant light pollution dome that continues to impact the site. 

Some screen shots from the Light Pollution Map found at this LINK may help to show what I am saying. 


Above you can see the Harmon's Observatory Complex which is just below the red square. I am assuming that the red square area is where the new building will go in though it may be more horizontal then vertical.  I am not able due to work, to attend any of the meetings for this. Part of the agreement is not to house lights on the ball fields limiting them to day time use.  One of the things that I honestly do not like about this site is the mosquito problem from the man made pond next to the complex! Thermacell is mandatory when I go here. 

Oh, I should also say that this is not an observing point for deep sky objects. You can see them there and they are okay, but not like at a dark site.  The Light Pollution impacts the view here. The complex is used for outreach to the public during the spring and summer months, going into the fall.  Often on a Saturday night you may find scopes there until around 11:30pm (sometimes later) sharing views of the sky. If you are a member of The Salt Lake Astronomical Society, you can be trained to use the refractor, the 16" Ealing and the 32" GoTo Reflector.  I do not know what the plans are for allowing club members to use the 72". I would assume a small group of approved users for outreach will be allowed to use Mike's scope when it is housed there, though I would hope that the club does offer training on the scope and allows members to use the scope during the non outreach nights like they do with the other 3 scopes. 


The view above is a more zoomed out view where I mark the location of SPOC and you can see the light pollution impact. The Harmon's Complex sits in a orange zone, though you can see whisps of the summer Milky Way there.  Nothing to blow your socks off but it is a very good site for outreach events.  Stray light will impact the views somewhat though.  


The image above shows the LP impact on the SPOC/Harmon's complex as it sits in the middle of a suburban landscape.  Again, the LP will diminish the views of the 70" somewhat, but then again, we are talking 70" worth of aperture.  The views will still be worth viewing! 



I thought I would throw in this last image for reference. SPOC or the Harmon's Complex is labeled at the top, and my observing site that comes in with a SQM reading of 9.8 is marked on the very southern bottom.  Yep, you can deduce here that IF I look to the northeast, I can and do see the Salt Lake and Utah County Light domes but I rarely do that. More often I am looking south-east to south-west, sometimes a little north-west to north.  At SPOC or the Harmon's Complex you can and will be impacted by the Light Dome's at Stansbury Park, Tooele and to the east, the encroaching Salt Lake Light dome is ever creeping.  

My point is that if you expect to come to SPOC or the Harmon's Complex and see what the 70" can do at a dark site, you are not at a dark site.  You cannot get dark adapted there (and I have participated in outreach many times there and speak from experience compared to my usual observing site or one farther west I have started to use).  You will see the 70" in use and take in the views and even in the LP, they are amazing! So would it be worth it to come to SPOC to view through the scope? Yes, totally.  Do I think it is a great thing on the location for the public to view and hopefully SLAS members to use the scope? No. I believe this scope excels in a dark sky and will literally blow people away there. When Mike takes his scope out to a true dark site at one of the dark sky star parties, IF you a serious amateur, I could go there to sneak a view. 

Finally here are my thoughts. You may think I am partly against the 70" by Mike being at SPOC. I am not.  First it is his scope he can do whatever he wants with it.  Second, I believe it will attract many people, both amateurs, serious amateurs and the public to SPOC to attend outreach events. Anything that can promote the growth of our hobby is a TREMENDOUS boon and Mike is to be one hundred and twenty percent congratulated for considering this viable use of his scope.  Last, I for one cannot wait to someday see the scope operating at a true dark site when Mike has the trailer up and running.  

So there you go. The details are trying to be worked out to house the 70" refector at the Harmon's Complex at the Stansbury Park Observatory Complex.  Since Mike will only be using the scope a few weeks a year for star party trips, it makes total sense to house the scope at SPOC so the public and amateurs can view through it, and perhaps club members use it to promote the interest and growth of the hobby.  Will I go there personally and view through it? Mike has graciously let me observe through his scope several times and use it also, so I am not sure. I hate mosquitos, a LOT. I also have my own personal scopes to use but yes, I will go and do outreach there and from time to time, sneak a peak.  Hope some of you can swing by and take a look at and through this wonderful instrument.  

4 comments:

  1. Anonymous2/28/2016

    any update

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  2. Actually there are some updates to the project. I will add them as an edit to the post.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous1/03/2017

    I'm in salt Lake city, just saw an article from 2013 and searched Mike's name and found your blog. Does he set it up anywhere regularly?

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  4. So you are aware, currently the scope is still out at Steve Dodd's land in Herriman Utah. The Salt Lake Astronomical Society is building a home for this telescope out at the Stansbury Park Observatory Complex or SPOC at Stansbury Park. You can see the agreement in the SLAS Nova at this url: http://www.slas.us/Nova/2016/NOVAJA2016.PDF Also if you go to the SLAS Talk Page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/SLAS.Talk/ and search the group for Mike Clements you'll have some options open up to posts. Here are a few you can look at: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10211105158650674&set=gm.673406879506688&type=3&theater
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10210293535360599&set=gm.632476746933035&type=3&theater
    So you just need to wait until it is located at that dark sky meca of SPOC to have a chance to take a glimpse through it. It is a wonderful thing to view through and Mike did an outstanding job with it!

    ReplyDelete