Russian Homemade Telescope

In the Russian city of Barnaul, some enthusiasts are gathering their resources to revive a home made telescope and observatory. Built by [Mikhail Levchenko], in the mid 70’s, the telescope is quite impressive. [Levchenko] kept his hobby somewhat of a secret so as not to arouse the suspicions of his neighbors, but its pretty hard to hide a tower as tall as a house with a domed observatory on top. The telescope itself has a 16 inch glass lens that provides 500x magnification. His hobby would turn out to have a pretty big impact on the town. People would come to him hoping that his telescope could tell their fortunes. Not a believer in horoscopes, he tried to educate people with lessons in astronomy and physics. One man was said to have given up drinking after seeing Saturn.

[Levchenko] passed away in 2002 and his observatory fell into disrepair. Local thieves tried to steal pieces for scrap and the whole structure has sunken somewhat. Some of those who were inspired when young by [Levchenko] have decided to renovate it for the eclipse. Barnaul will be a prime location for viewing. The total renovation and possible relocation will cost around 2 million dollars.

In the past, we covered a high powered telescope made by some girl scouts, and this $40 USB telescope looks fun too.

4 thoughts on “Russian Homemade Telescope

  1. Magnification is irrelevant — A telescope’s strength is in it’s light gathering ability. You can get 500x (or 1000x, or 2000x, etc) magnification from a cheap wal-mart scope. The limiting factor is usually the atmosphere, and it’s usually not good enough for 500x. A larger objective lens/mirror also helps with resolving power.

    That looks like a reflector setup, not a refractor, so I’m betting a 16 inch mirror, not a lens. This is much more feasable for homemade since just the surface of the glass has to be perfect rather than the entire lens. Much cheaper!

    2 million dollars seems a bit absurd…. You can buy 16″ scopes for several thousand dollars. You can buy a 30″ scope for less than 20k. If you want a fancy mount for it, that’d be the biggest expense, but 2 million? That seems orders of magnitude too much.

    A good story, but I think reuters got some of the details wrong. :-)

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