ScopeX 2015 ATM Awards
By ATM Judges Chris Stewart and Dave Blane
The purpose of the ATM awards is to recognise accomplishment and to spur people to stretch themselves, thereby advancing the intriguing art of amateur telescope making (ATM). By highlighting the merits of certain exhibits, it is hoped that others will adopt the good ideas and perhaps find ways to make further improvements.
Instruments that previously garnered awards are not generally eligible for another, but significant improvements to those instruments might well. The judges may consider a component, a complete instrument or a body of work to be worthy.
The following characteristics are of particular importance...
Workmanship: Quality of finish, beauty, style, precision
Innovation: Application of new ideas, principles, materials, techniques
Ambitiousness: Difficult optical configuration, grand scope of project, courageous modifications
Ingenuity: Lateral thinking, unusual ways of solving old problems, interesting use of found materials
Once the selection has been made, the perceived needs of the recipients are as far as possible taken into consideration when deciding the allocation of the available awards. The items awarded are donated by commercial vendors, mostly in lieu of payment for exhibition space at ScopeX. We are grateful for their contributions to this special day.
Yet again we were pleased by the number of worthy examples of new and interesting items on display. Each year brings something new and sometimes themes emerge. 2015 was the year "string" telescopes firmly came of age. There were also a number of experimental tracking platforms, binocular stands, and small commercial refractors reworked to make them actually usable. We expect these trends to continue. As usual, there were numerous small details which reflect great ingenuity and creative thought.
In no particular order, here are the awards for 2015...
ASSA Pretoria Centre, represented by Bosman Olivier (Chairman) and Johan Smit (Curator of Instruments), received a 12V power supply courtesy of Elemod. The PSU contains a 12V 7AH battery, with built in intelligent battery management & charging circuitry. It features several outputs, including 5V USB ports to charge portable electronics, as well as an LED white and red utility light. The Pretoria Centre has always supported ScopeX vigorously, and every year they field a number of instruments worthy of consideration. This year there were many interesting innovations, with a lot of cross-
Gerhard Bloemhof created an eye-
Eric Slaghuis has embraced the "why be normal?" approach to ATM. This year, he brought the optical tube assembly for his Yolo schiefspiegler. The Yolo features a warping harness used to mechanically distort one of the mirrors, in order to tune out the astigmatism introduced by having tilted mirrors. The tube comprised several barrel sections fashioned from strips of wood. Even the 2" Crayford focuser drawtube is made in this way. For his excellent workmanship and willingness to tackle the unusual advanced optical design, Eric garnered a TPO 50mm Superview 2" eyepiece, courtesy of OPT.
Joos Bloem produced an elegantly simple twin-
Chris Curry built an ultra-
Again, thank you to our kind sponsors for the prizes, and a big well done to everyone who participated. Thanks for spending many hours patiently explaining and showing off your instruments to the visitors throughout this very chilly day – and then wowing them with views of the night sky in the evening. We look forward to seeing more innovation next year.