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PANOPTES at Stellafane and Beyond

My son and I went to Stellafane 2017 in July, where I had entered my PANOPTES scope in the Mechanical Competition; the other competition at Stellafane is for telescope optics, but the PANOPTES design uses off-the-shelf cameras and lenses... thank goodness.

While I was setting up on the competition field, chatting with my neighbors, I learned that I wasn't the only one that had set Stellafane as a personal deadline. Apparently it is pretty common for telescopes to be (almost) finished the day before the competition; like many, among my reasons for entering the competition was provide a deadline and, of course, to give me the chance to share my passion with like-minded folks. It certainly helped me stay focused during the 3 months of the build leading up to Stellafane (I signed on to Project PANOPTES in April after hearing about it at NEAIC and NEAF from Josh Walawender).

The roots of the Stellafane Convention are in the building of telescopes, especially the mounts, and some of th…

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