A trucker from Utah built the largest amateur telescope in the world with a mirror diameter of 1.8 meters
Not long ago, news was published on Habré about the world's largest telescope . It is unlikely that an even larger telescope will appear in the near future - so many resources are required to create such a system, and not every region is suitable for the construction of giant telescopes.
After reading this publication, I became interested - and what amateur telescope can be called the largest in the world? It turns out that such a telescope, with a mirror diameter of 1.8 meters, was built by a trucker from Utah Mike Clements (Mike Clements).
This person is one of those who does not forget their dreams, and is not afraid of difficulties. For 15 years, he nurtured the idea of creating his telescope, driving his truck for 8-9 hours a day, 6 days a week.
According to the author of the largest amateur telescope in the world, he had a tremulous feeling for such systems all his life. He always liked to look at the stars, as well as create telescopes of his own design, which, of course, were not very large and not the most complex.
Mike not only dreamed, he gradually, step by step, tried to realize his dream. So, he was actively thinking over the possible design of his telescope, and after some time luck smiled at him: at the auction he managed to buy a slightly defective mirror, which was made for a spy satellite, but the edge of the mirror got chipped. Michael bought this mirror, weighing 400 kilograms, back in 2005, and set it aside "for the future."
It is worth noting that Mike very often came across a misunderstanding of others, many people from his circle told him that he could never create the telescope he was dreaming of. Someone said that such work can only be done by a professional, someone that the mirror will never work properly, because it is defective. Nevertheless, Mike coped with the task "excellently", having built a complex system for his 51st birthday.
The height of the structure is 10 meters, the diameter of the main mirror is 1.8 meters, the secondary - 90 centimeters
It is also interesting that Mike never made preliminary designs: he designed the entire structure in his mind using information about smaller telescopes. To test the capabilities of mirrors and help create an optical system for his telescope, Mike was helped by his friend, optician Steve Dodds. It was Steve who calculated that the height of the structure for mirrors of this size should be about 10 meters.
Steve also allocated 5 acres of land for Mike to build the system. Mike has his own land, but in a region that for some reason is less suitable for placing a telescope.
By the way, back in the mid-90s, a team of amateur astronomers calling themselves Group 70 made an attempt to build a telescope of this size. But Group 70 did not succeed: there was not enough finance.
Mike followed that project, and tried to take into account all the flaws in his own project. He does not say how much money he invested in his telescope, but for several years in a row he had to live on the minimum amount, denying himself the most necessary. Everything else went to create a telescope.
The author of the project had to silver the 1.8-meter glass on their own, it turned out to be done only on the second attempt.
And after installing the mirrors in the case he created, Mike was able to test his telescope. It remains only to imagine how exciting the moment of the first test was, and what Mike experienced. According to him, he was very worried that the opponents of the project will be right, and nothing will work.
Pointing the telescope toward the moon, he saw a terribly curved surface, and decided that everything was gone. But it turned out that he sees a lunar crater, with a huge increase that exceeded all his expectations.
No problems arose, everything worked perfectly. True, the telescope has no engines, and it is necessary to direct the system to a particular object using a manual drive.
The construction of the telescope took Mike 18 months, that is, a year and a half. The telescope was called KH-12, and now serves as a former truck driver, and the current amateur astronomer, faithfully.