By Paul Brierley, Macclesfield, England
In 1976 my father bought from Dixons, a 60mm F11 “Prinz” refractor. As a young boy, mad about astronomy, I thought all my dreams had come true!
Dad would take it outside and show me the Moon and stars. I well remember my first views of “Lunar” through it, and I was instantly hooked. The telescope came with a very rickety altazimuth mount, together with three Huygens eyepiece, a Barlow lens, Moon filter
and the dreaded solar filter.
The telescope was used on most nights during the winter of 1976 and during the latter years of the 1970s and early 1980s. I was able to see Jupiter and Saturn, and using projection, our Star.
I well remember trying to record my observations, but soon gave up. The mount was just too unstable. If you sneezed it would wobble. Eventually the scope fell into disuse. I don’t know what happened to its mounting, but, I kept the optical tube assembly.
In 2015, I decided that I wanted to use this telescope again, and this followed an evening of astro-imaging, when I was happily downloading CCD images from another telescope. I decided to dig out the “Prinz” The Moon had risen and I was able to view it, with the telescope handheld.
I have an adaptor that allows the use of modern Plossls and Orthos. I looked and was stunned by the quality of the telescopes optics. I decided there and then, to restore it, and put into service again.
On August 22-23, I started work.I stripped down the optical tube assembly and re-painted it. I took the optics out of it’s cell and carefully cleaned them. I used Optical Wonder Fluid, from Baader. Now they have been cleaned. The doublet lens is as good as new, with no sign of fungus or scratches.
I took up play in the focuser and found a mounting bracket for the optical tube. The tube was originally white, but I didn’t have any suitable paint. So, I painted the tube matt black, using black pipe paint. It looks as good as new, and now the focuser slop has been removed. Images stay central during focus. I can now use this telescope again. I can mount the optical tube onto my Acuter Merlin mount, and I am happy to say, unlike 1976., it is very stable.
It saw first light once again on August 28 2015. Once again, It was the Moon that took the glory. The view through a 18mm Volcano Ortho was very impressive. I believe the lens has a single magnesium fluoride anti-reflection coating but does a fine job. The Moon was very sharp with no colour fringing visible. I would hesitate to say that I think this telescope, although only a doublet achromat, is similar to a modern ED Apo in optical quality. I will use this telescope from now on, for lunar and planetary observation, together with high resolution imaging of the Moon, using a QHY5II-M camera.
My sincere thanks to Paul for sending on this short article about a special little telescope that sparked his lifelong interest in astronomy. He is a member of the BAA, SPA, Webb DSS, as well as Macclesfield Astronomical Society.