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BAA Journal 2016 December

Mr William Strachan and his remarkable telescope

Journal issue: 2016 December
Pages: 343–354

For many amateur astronomers their first experience of visual observing at the eyepiece of a large telescope is a less than blissful one. Apart from the usual battle with cloud and dew and the bitterly cold night-time temperatures of winter, the biggest hassle is simply getting comfortable at the eyepiece, even if a variable-height observing chair is employed. This problem is particularly troublesome when the telescope is equatorially mounted, as the resulting eyepiece position can vary considerably depending on where the instrument is pointed. Reflector owners can find themselves teetering precariously on a stepladder in order to observe objects at the zenith, while refractor owners end up kneeling on cold concrete.
These issues are taxing enough for a young and able-bodied observer, but they can make visual work all but impossible if the astronomer is physically disabled. One such observer was William Strachan of Bournemouth, whose final instrument was, surely, the rarest and largest example of a fixed eyepiece instrument ever used regularly by a British amateur astronomer. (continued....)

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