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This weekend, I’m hosting a small workshop at the Community Museum in Gaithersburg, MD, where interested persons from 8 to 88 years of age can make their own telescope in an hour or two. We will be using surplus but high-quality achromatic primary doublet lenses as well as inexpensive eyepieces, along with PVC tubing and some really cool tripods to hold it steady.  We will some basic optics experiments to help explain how these gizmos work, and will have spray paint and colored tape to decorate the tubes.

If you are interested, here is the necessary information:


Gaithersburg Community Museum's photo.

Make Your Own Telescope


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Make your own refracting telescope in just an afternoon! This workshop will be led by veteran DC amateur telescope-maker Guy Brandenburg. He will show you how to make a small functioning telescope that can either be held in your hands or mounted on almost any camera tripod. All of the materials needed will be provided, and no experience is necessary. This workshop is open to anyone from the ages of 9 through 99, but a parent would need to accompany any child from 9 – 11. You might get a little dirty, so don’t wear your best clothing!

You will also see how various types of telescopes such as reflectors, refractors, and catadioptrics are put together and operate, using actual examples, including the type made and used by Galileo around 1609.

$30 City of Gaithersburg residents/$35 non-residents. Space is limited to 15 so pre-registration is required. To register go to RecXpress at https://online.activenetwork.com/gaithersburg/Start/Start.asp. It’s activity #49690.

For more information or if you have trouble registering call the museum at 301-258-6160 or museum@gaithersburgmd.gov