Spring Cleaning and Building a Reticle

MMAO - Home made reticle eyepiece

Today we completed the sorting of the Organization for Science Education and Observatory (OSEO) office at Ailanga Secondary School, taking all tripods, telescopes, and eye pieces to the observatory for cleaning and repair. There, we watched three videos on using the “drift method” to complete the alignment of our telescope, but were once again foiled with cloud cover this evening, only a few start pushing through from time to time. We cleaned and validated operation of all four OSEO laptops, and will tomorrow install Ubuntu Linux on one of them, one remaining with Windows, one with Eliona, and the fourth placed in storage in the office, as a backup.

While hoping for the clouds to clear, we built our own reticle eyepiece from a single strand of a plastic twine. It worked. Tomorrow we will superglue it such that we have this for alignment testing, in addition to use of the CCD camera and monitor.

The hi-light was when an elephant came into the compound this evening, just as a half dozen girls from the school were walking to the observatory. We heard both at the same time and raced outside with my headlamp to spot the elephant as it departed. The girls seated themselves on the floor and immediately dove into the library.

I feel I have accomplished something grand every time a student picks up a book and reads and then asks questions. Tonight, we discussed black holes, how they form and how they affect things around them. We used our bodies and a headlamp to demonstrate a gravitational lens and discussed how even light can be bent, or pulled totally in.

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