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Free Telescope to first caller

Updated 1/1/2012

Before - 13.1-inch f/4.5 Coulter Odyssey 1

After - - note the original blue ground board

Update: A colleague at work had a telescope he wanted to give away. I advertised it and found someone who wanted it. Here’s a before and after image. The telescope has been reincarnated as you can see from the second picture, which was taken December 31, 2011 at our Old town Monrovia sidewalk astronomy event.

Original post: Jane says “this is a classic blue-tube Coulter 13.1 inch f/4.5 reflector.” It has a nice short 5-foot tube, so you won’t even need a ladder. You’ll need some storage room for this telescope, and I’m not gonna lie to you, this is one heavy telescope. You can learn a little bit about this classic Coulter scope here. When Steve sent me this pictures this morning, it took me on this trip down memory lane.

See the red tubed 17.5-incher on this page? My sleek 17.5 inch Litebox reflector started out as a big red 300 pound 17.5-inch f/4.5 Coulter Odyssey II, owned by a Stanford professor, who had died. His wife called John Dobson to find out how how she could get it into the hands of a sidewalk astronomer. John and I drove down the peninsula to see it and give her some advice on a price. I brought my checkbook, just in case. John crawled into the storage shed, past the cobwebs, over the lawn furniture and under the christmas tree and exclaimed out to me “I think it is one of ours.”

I bought it on the spot for $400.00 and have used it now for almost 15 years.

The prof used to haul this behemoth to his ranch in a red El Dorado. I imagine that sight — that huge red telescope in the back of that red El Dorado — rolling down the freeway towards the Sierra foothills, every time I use the scope. I had to rent a panel truck to get it home to Marin County, and to take it to its first light star party on Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County many years ago. I remember my first look through that big, red ugly duckling of a telescope. The Swan Nebula. It was spectacular! That 17.5 inch mirror is now in my 17.5 inch Litebox truss tube reflector, and I take out to the desert or to the national parks every single month. The big red sonotube and hefty black particleboard mount have long since met their maker, literally. Bless Coulter Telescope’s Jim Bragington of Idylwild, CA for making mass-produced large telescopes back in the 1980′s.

Here’s what Steve has to say about the scope. I elaborated a little once I saw the pictures. It is truly “one of ours”, as John Dobson said so many years ago. It screams “take me out to the sidewalk.”

It’s a Dobson design Coulter “Odyssey I” reflecting telescope, 13.1″ f/4.5 mirror, with Celestron finder scope and three eyepieces, approx 25 years old. Dobsons are great for “deep sky” objects like nebula and galaxies. Body is plywood with concrete-form tube (heavy cardboard sonotube), total length approx 5′. Base is plywood/particle board, has Teflon elevation bearings, azimuth bearing probably Teflon but I’m not sure. Base and body are in fair to good shape, base has been repaired. Primary mirror glass in in very good condition, approx. 1 1/2″ center thickness, with coating in fair to good shape (minor and small imperfections, shown in photographs). Eyepieces are marked H, M and L, all in good shape.

4 comments to Free Telescope to first caller (updated 1/1/2012)

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