[sac-board] A Unique opportunity

  • From: Steve D. <fester00@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: SAC Board <sac-board@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 15 Mar 2008 14:22:12 -0700


Board Members, et al,

Tuesday March 11, 2008, I received an email from a Robert Mason in which he
offered ?an older model? refractor be donated to SAC.  He?d offered it to a 
local school and they
were not interested.  They suggested he
look online for local clubs, and he found SAC. 
I told him SAC would be delighted to accept it, and it could be used as
a loaner scope.  We arranged for him to
deliver it to my work on Thursday afternoon.

he arrived, I was astonished to discover the telescope in question was not a
smallish type as I expected, but a full-blown  Meade 127mm ED APO, complete 
with LXD 600
head, GOTO, eyepieces, finders and basically everything suitable to outfit a
small observatory, except for a laptop to run it all.  An inventory list is 
appended.  Even has the instruction manual.

set it up Thursday night in the rolloff at S.H.O. for a quick checkout and it
seems to work flawlessly.  Wonderful
optics, fair mount, great EP?s.  Haven?t
tried the GOTO yet, but I?ve never had one, so there?s a learning curve there.

having had the ?OMG!  What am I supposed
to do with this now?? moments, it?s obvious this can not be a loaner
scope.  Rosie and I put our heads
together and came up with an idea that I?d like to run by you, and later the

the Saguaro Astronomy Club is a not-for-profit organization, an asset like this
setup adds significantly to its net worth. 
It is my feeling that this needs to be offset.  What I propose would be for SAC 
to found and
fund an observatory building to house this telescope setup, as well as the
Pierre Schwaar binocular chair, for the use and enjoyment of SAC members and
any novice groups or organizations serving private and public entities for the
purpose of advancing astronomy awareness and education.  Such institutions 
would include, but not be
limited to Boy and Girl Scouts of America, Boys and Girls clubs, church youth
groups and the general public that may show interest through SAC?s or other?s 
programs, such as EVAC, PAS, Arizona Science Center, etc.

would be delighted to volunteer the space needed for such an observatory, as
much of the infrastructure is already in place, and indeed falls in to my
inaugural address to increase SAC?s footprint on public outreach and
education.  I would cover design,
inspection and general contracting, if SAC would be willing to cover material
costs in the neighborhood of $2500.  (I
built the original rolloff roof observatory for ~$1000, without a concrete pad,
and the cost of the dome reconstruction was similar.)  Much of the design for a 
suitable building is
already complete, as I?ve been anticipating a new building for Pierre?s chair
for some time, it?s just a matter of modifying it to accommodate the 127mm ED
instead of the C8.  A full construction
cost analysis can be completed as soon as interest is gauged, but I believe the
above to be ?ball park?, considering past experience.

feel strongly Stone Haven Observatory would be a nearly ideal location for such
a structure, given its location on a relatively dark site, proximity to
Phoenix, security and availability of skilled operators.  The costs after 
completion would be minimal,
if any, as they would fall into the category of regular S.H.O. maintenance

also feel strongly that SAC should think about doing something worthwhile with
the moneys it has accumulated.  It may
appear on the surface that my motivation is one of personal windfall, but those
of you that know me will know this not to be the case.  Having invested in 
restoring and now
reinventing Pierre?s chair with no requests for compensation should make this
clear.  My motivation is to create a
comfortable environment for others to become exposed to all the night sky has
to offer, without the need for monetary investment.  If SAC members want to do 
some observing
without hauling all their own equipment out, maybe even during the week, there?s
a place they can do that.  If someone
wants to practice imaging a spurious event, such as an asteroid occultation or
shadow transit or comet, they?re more than welcome.  If they had friends or 
family visiting from
out of town and wanted to show them what they do on the weekends, we?d be ready
at a phone call.

idea being, there?d be a central place to practice astronomy with a minimum of
hassle or personal investment.  It would
be a decent place to hold novice meetings at nearly any time.  If Steve Coe 
could not attend, there would be
others that could.  Stone Haven already
has a variety of telescopes to display and use for instruction.

let the discussion begin.  I?m sure there
are many things I have not thought of that need discussion, both positive and
negative.  Things I may not be aware of
as per legalities of the donation itself and so on.  I?ve only put forth the 
idea, and if you
think it could work, great.  If not, give
a reasoned argument and we can drop it.

hear it.

Steve Dodder
President, Saguaro Astronomy Club
Director, Stone Haven Observatory



Bob Mason Donation to SAC 

Meade 127ED  5?  F/9 Apo OTA
Electric focuser
Meade LXD 600 EQ head
Meade Field Tripod
Vixen 60mm F/15 OTA.
1 5/8? ID to 7/16? OD adaptor?
Celestron 8x50 Polaris finder scope w/o caps
90º reticle EP
T-slot mounting rings
Meade 8x50 finder scope straight through w/caps
2? diagonal w/1.25? adapter
Angle gauge (wixie)
2-3.75? mounting rings (For Vixen 60mm?)
Meade 7mm Ortho EP-Research Grade 1.25?
Meade 15.5mm Ortho EP-Reasearch Grade 1.25?
Misc empty EP cases, filter boxes, EP caps
Bag of bolts, allen wrenches
Box of misc extender tubes, camera adapters
Another camera adapter-Nikon?
Phillips Webcam Pro USB
Meade 9mm Illuminated Reticle EP w/cable
Meade 28mm Ortho EP-Research Grade
2? filter set
            #25 Red
            #80 Blue
            13% Moon
Deep Sky
1.25Filter sets
    Lumicon UHC
    10% ND
    Orion V-Block
    Dark red
2? 56mm Meade Super Plossl
1.25?Lumicon diagonal (Vixen?)
Orion 5mm Illuminated reticle 1.25? EP
Meade 12mm illuminated reticle 1.25?EP
Vixen 2.5mm LV 1.25? EP
Vixen 10mm LV 1.25? EP
Meade 26mm 1.25? Super Plossl
Meade 9.7mm 1.25? Super Plossl
Polaris setting plate for finder scope
LX 200 Controller V2.5
Shed those extra pounds with MSN and The Biggest Loser!

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