Telescope Rebuild Funded by the Friends of Chaco
The Park owns several telescopes which are used for public viewing during the night sky programs. One of these, a 17.5” reflecting telescope, had deteriorated over the years. The primary mirror was still in very good condition, but the mechanical parts of the telescope originally had been built in such a manner that the telescope could be sold fairly cheaply 10 years ago when it was purchased.
Private donations were secured to provide one half of the funding to purchase parts and materials to build a modern truss tube Dobsonian telescope utilizing the existing 17.5” primary mirror. Friends of Chaco provided matching funds to complete the purchase of parts and materials for this project. This rebuilding work was performed over the 2008/2009 winter by one of the astronomy volunteers with some assistance by Park personnel.
The telescope was set up on the observing field behind the Visitor Center this past April. Final set up was done during a period of snow flurries because of a time constraint on one of the astronomy volunteers.