Optics for My Telescopes

DISCUSSION: The question sometimes arise about the quality of the optics used in some of my telescopes.  When building complete telescopes, I always make sure I use mirrors from a known and quantifiable source. Meade's older Pyrex mirrors, for example, usually have an excellent figure, and with good coatings, perform nicely. I've been using Hubble Optics mirrors in my 8" - 16" telescopes.



Hubble Optics is a relatively new mirror vendor in the market with very competitive pricing. Given the aggressive pricing, many folks are asking about the quality of these mirrors.  This photo is a 14" Hubble Optics sandwich mirror.

One user sent his mirror to Steve Swayze for testing. Here is the result:

"Prior to building a telescope around my newly acquired Hubble Optics 14 inch Sandwich Mirror, I wanted to get it professionally tested (to make sure it was worth the effort). I sent the mirror to Steve Swayze and he tested it. Well the results are in: smooth, correction is very good, very straight ronchi bands on both sides of focus, good edge, no TDE, and no need to reconfigure. Please understand this is a sample of one...not sure what it implies about other HO mirrors...but I am quite pleased...."


Hubble Optics 14" sandwich mirror. You can see other comments on the Hubble Optics website here.  

Discovery. Discovery telescope mirrors are usually excellent and I've found their mirrors to be full-thickness, or very close. They are made in the U.S. I've build a number of these into ultra-light telescopes, and in every instant, the images have been excellent.

Put your mouse over the image for a comparison.

Coulter Optical: This is a photo of a 13.1" mirror from a Coulter Odyssey I telescope. The Odyssey telescopes were first built in the 1980's, and the mirrors as were advertised as Pyrex with an 1/8 wave correction.. The mirrors were 1.1" thick, so I always use a 6-point floatation mirror cell.

Additionally, there were 8", 10" and 17.5" mirrors and telescopes available.

Put your mouse over the image for a comparison.


Meade: Meade telescope mirrors are usually very good. I don't have any specific test results except to say that, when using them, the image quality of these brands have been excellent.

Other vendors: When I can find them, I like to use mirrors from Orion, DSO and other commercially available Newtonian telescopes on a Dobsonian base.  These telescopes use optics that are quite good as well. Many of these "brand names" use optics that are made in the same factory!  
Here's a list of optics vendors. If you have any other, let me know and I'll add them:

-- Parks Optical
-- RF Royce Optical
-- e-scopes (partial kits)
-- Swayze Optical
-- Nova Optical
-- Galaxy Optics
-- Optic Wave Labs
-- Hubble Optics
-- Stahowski Optics
-- Stevens Optical

Good sources for used optics:
-- Astromart Classifieds
-- Cloudy Nights Classifieds
-- eBay (search for "telescope mirrors)

For more information about your requirements:
--Dennis Steele
--Tel: 650-315-6578 (anytime)
--Email: densteele@dobstuff.com


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