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ScopeX 2018 ATM Awards report
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, whilst not exhaustive, 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
·         Ingenuity: Lateral thinking, unusual ways of solving old problems, interesting use of found materials

Although the field was disappointingly sparse this year, there were nevertheless more items worthy of consideration than prizes available. Prizes are awarded according to the judges’ perception of the recipients’ needs, as opposed to commercial value. In no particular order, herewith the 2018 winners:
 
·         Percy Jacobs has built and refined a spectroscope with which he is doing real science. Whilst the slit and grating were necessarily purchased, the mechanics were home made whereas the ancillary optics were scavenged and experimented with until a workable configuration was attained. The body of the unit is 3-D printed from plastic to ensure light weight and accurate placement of components. Percy’s award in recognition of this advanced achievement was a Baader Hyperion 21mm eyepiece.
·         Rudolf Strydom produced an entirely home-made equatorial mount which, at first glance, appears to be a commercially produced unit. It features quick-release mechanisms on both axes, Nylon worm wheels and fine adjustment provision for altitude and azimuth alignment., all made with basic equipment. Rudolf was awarded a Celestron cellphone adaptor to enable basic astrophotography.
·         Etsuo Takayanagi produced a classic Dobsonian optimised for small children to access the eyepiece. It features a hatch for front access to the mirror for easy collimation and to put a mirror cover in place. To enlarge his range of available magnifications, he was awarded a Celestron Omni 2x Barlow.
·         Chris Curry produced a well-executed ultra light weight 6” f/3 travel scope with exquisite optics, a challenging project. The Celestron Omni 15mm Plossl eyepiece awarded should complement this scope well.
·         Gerhard Bloemhof presented his second-generation tri-rod tracker. As always, his work exuded impressive attention to detail and quality workmanship. This example includes means for easing the critical task of polar alignment, and earned him a Celestron 15mm Omni eyepiece.
 
Our congratulations to all.

Chris Stewart & Dave Blane.
 
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