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The Reynolds Astronomical Telescope


THE REYNOLDS TELECOPE was manufactured by Cox Hargreaves and Thomson Ltd, UK in 1969/70 for the Anglo-Australian joint project at Woomera, South Australia.  It was originally fitted with a Vinten cine camera, mounted in a Contraves Theodolite, and code-named RAKIMOBILE (Rate Aided Kino Mount Mobile).  It was built for range measurements at Andamooka on the Black Arrow Satellite launcher and later projects.  It was acquired by Rod Reynolds in 1998.

MOUNTING: The telescope is normally mounted on a clock controlled equatorial mount designed and built by the current owner in 1999.  This has a fixed angle for Melbourne, Australia and is corrected for local latitude by leveling.  A crystal controlled counter/clock drives a stepper-motor at several switch-selected speeds, and controls the polar axis through a 2-stage worm drive.  Orthogonal axis control is by approximate clutch and a hand controlled zero-backlash linear actuator coupled to a control arm.  Large pre-loaded roller and ball bearings with very high performance/load figures are used throughout.  Main shafts are high tensile steel, typically 50mm diameter.  The mount sits on a hydraulic lift to adjust the position of the eyepiece to working height. The whole system sits on three steel box-sections resting on the ground.  The combined weight of the stand, mount and telescope is about 200kg.  It may be disassembled for transport in a station-wagon and takes an hour or two to assemble.  Recent modifications not shown in the photograph include counterbalance damping to limit motor induced vibration, an additional orthogonal counterbalance, and sighting telescopes.

Other Reynolds telescopes include:
110mm f11 refractor (FL 1000mm) manufactured by Wray (UK) (Achromatic doublet air spaced) 

175mm f1 (FL 175mm) Schmitt manufactured by Plessey (South Africa) (has internal Cassegrain capability at about f4 but performs very badly with an eyepiece – yet to be tested as a prime image former)

190mm f6.3 (FL 1000mm) Cassegrain manufactured by Askania Germany in about 1950. Originally part of a large theodolite, this telescope is a work in progress.

75mm f16 refractor (FL ~1,200mm) made by John Bateman (London) about 1800 - brass tube on Cast Iron mount (not original). Restored 2010 following damage in a fire. With two original astronomical eyepieces and a terrestial inverter (shown in photograph).

114mm f8 (FL 910mm) Newtonian Meade 4500

102mm f13 (FL 1300mm) Cassegrain SkyWatcher

150mm f3.5 (FL 500mm) Cooke refractor (3-element) assembled for comet watching.


The telescope on its mount
Bateman telescope & mount