ATM Report - ScopeX

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ScopeX 2017 ATM Report
by ATM Judge Chris Stewart

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 which previously garnered awards are not generally eligible for another, but significant improvements to those instruments might well be. The judges may consider a component, a complete instrument or a body of work to be worthy.
The following characteristics are of particular interest: 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) and Ingenuity (Lateral thinking, unusual ways of solving old problems, interesting use of found materials).
We are grateful to our sponsors for kindly providing prizes to be given out. This year,  we received a Celestron Axiom LX 7mm eyepiece from Foton Optoelectronics , as well as a Teleview Radian 3mm eyepiece and a GSO  Plossl 40mm eyepiece from Eridanus Optics.
Although the number of instruments on show was disappointingly less than we had hoped for, there was no dearth of good examples meeting the criteria outlined above. We are pleased to announce this year's awardees as follows:
·         Bill Potgieter was awarded the |Celestron Axiom eyepiece in recognition for his two-arme3d truss-tube 8" telescope on an equatorial platform. The instrument incorporates several well thought out touches which good ideas will doubtless be emulated by other telescope makers in the future.
·         Percy Jacobs received the Teleview Radian eyepiece in recognition of his Hydrogen-Alpha solar scope and his Spectroscope. He has shown that advanced specialist instrumentation can be made by amateurs, on a shoestring budget, and that these can be used to do real science.
·         The Mondeor high school Science Club, supported by their enthusiastic and caring head of department, put on a good show. Under the tutelage of Dr Sheldon Herbst (an alumnus of both their school and our ATM class), a group of 16 students are collaborating on building a telescope from scratch. It should be noted that when several people take turns on working a mirror, their individual systematic peculiarities cancel out due to the overall increase in randomness, helping to ensure that a good quality sphere is achieved in preparation for figuring.  In recognition of this group effort and to assist them in enjoying their product once finished, they received the GSO Plossl eyepiece.

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