In January 2019, I began working on a large project: the design and fabrication of a 13” F/6 Ritchey-Chretien telescope, fit for both visual observation and astrophotography. In July 2019, the project was complete - or so I thought. During testing and calibration, I determined that the optical performance suffered from inadequate mirror support, and thermal issues. (This telescope is pictured above.)
Unable to accept failure, I designed a second telescope: a 10” F/5 newtonian, featuring a fused silica mirror set. This time around, I conducted a full STOP analysis, which included more than 70 iterations of simulations. The design was tweaked until the simulations showed an end-to-end wavefront error of <0.12 λ across the full range of operating conditions. The telescope is currently under construction, but a render of the design can be seen above. Please check back soon - this page will be updated with details of the design, simulation, fabrication, assembly, calibration - and eventually photos of the cosmos!
During a delay in fabrication, I redirected my efforts toward writing a lecture on telescopes. The lecture introduces beginners to basic optics concepts, and then discusses some of the specific challenges involved in designing a telescope. It can be found here.