Fort Bend Astronomy Club Home PageFBAC logo

FBAC Mirror Cleaning Project-August 31, 2002

August 31, 2002, FBAC club members cleaned and re-collimated the mirrors in the East Dome 18" reflector. Click on the thumbnails below for a larger pictures. Images will open in a new window. Members present were: Bill Dillon, Beverly Cobb, Gary Cobb, Jim Ellis, Calvin Embry, Terry Hiserodt, Bruce MacKay, and Wes Whiddon. Apologies to any others that are not listed. This is one of ongoing repair projects scheduled by the East Dome Committee. A host of eyepieces were also cleaned by Beverly Cobb but unfortunately, no pictures are available.
P8310013.JPG (63842 bytes) The 18" mirror immediately after removal from the telescope. The mirror was coated with an assortment of dirt and material including what we believe to be raccoon hair. We've got to keep those pesky critters out of the observatory.
P8310015.JPG (63197 bytes) A closer view of the mirror. Not a pretty site.
P8310021.JPG (69309 bytes) Cleaning the mirror. The initial procedure is to give the mirror a good bath with distilled water. A squirt bottle is used to knock the bigger pieces off then Jim Ellis applies a cleaning solution 60-40 mix of water and pure (99%) alcohol.
P8310024.JPG (69284 bytes) Continued cleaning. Several rounds of water and cleaning solution, are sometimes required. One part of the operation (not shown) is to place a layer of lint free Kim Wipes on the mirror, saturate the wipes, then roll them off in layers. This helps remove the stuck on material.
P8310025.JPG (71002 bytes) A closer shot. As a last resort (which we did do here) cotton balls saturated with cleaning solution can be used to wipe the mirror surface. No pressure allowed--only the weight of the cotton balls.
P8310026.JPG (56424 bytes) This is what the primary mirror sees when you look in. Shot from the bottom of the scope with the mirror removed. Bill Dillon prepares to vacuum the tube assembly.
P8310027.JPG (62057 bytes) We also cleaned the secondary mirror. Bruce MacKay is holding the mirror immediately after its removal.
P8310029.JPG (70010 bytes) Cleaning the secondary. Club members from left to right: Terry Hiserodt, Calvin Embry, Bruce MacKay, Bill Dillon, and Gary Cobb. Mirror reinstallation and re-collimation followed immediately after this part of the operation.
P8310032.JPG (61434 bytes) The George Observatory has several telescopes that are used on the deck. As a courtesy to the observatory, FBAC cleaned and re-collimated these scopes.