Silver Spring    

Equipment Details

17" RC Cassegrain

This is an f/7.5 RC cassegrain (hyperbolic primary and secondary) with optics that were started by Tom Weineo (who passed away before completion) and finished by Paul Jones at Star Instruments.  The wavefront is about 0.25 wave p-v and 0.04 wave rms.  The OTA is homebuilt and is made from rolled sheet aluminum covered by black flocking paper on the inside.  The primary mirror is held by a Novak 18-point floatation cell and the 6" secondary is held by a Protostar secondary holder.

The large fork mount was made by Jim Egger at Aeroquest Machining in Palmer, Alaska.  The RA gear is 16.5" diameter and has a PE of 3.5 arcseconds, peak to peak (without PEC).  The fork is made from 7075 aircraft aluminum and the polar axis is 3" diameter stainless steel.

The control system is a dc servo motor controller from Astrometric Instruments It works with The Sky and pointing (with a 250 star TPoint model) is 10 arcseconds rms.

The CCD camera is the model STL 6303 (9 micron pixels, 2x3Kpixel) camera from SBIG.  I use the built-in guider chip, but it also comes with an seperate guider camera.


20" RC Cassegrain 

Pictures labeled "BBO" are taken from Blackbird Observatory, a remotely operated 20" RCOS scope in New Mexico with an SBIG 11K camera (available for rent)



17.5" Dobsonian  I built a wooden dob using an old Coulter 17.5" mirror.


Ken's Bio - here is a short biography

 I was born in Baltimore, MD in 1953, and grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland.  I received a BS and PhD in Applied Physics from Cornell in 1979, and did a post-doc at the Technion, Haifa, Israel in 1980.  Married Miriam Buskila who grew up on a farm near Ashkelon, Israel (moshav Beth Shikma), and we have 3 grown daughters, Carmit, Yonina, and Tamar.  Co-founded and VP at Infrared Fiber Systems