Oamaru man building massive telescope

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An Oamaru man with a love for stars wants to follow in his father’s footsteps and has decided to make a large 22-inch telescope which will stand 3three-and-a-half-metres high.

Damien McNamara grew up around telescopes, as his father was always fascinated with the stars.

When his father passed away in 2012, Mr McNamara thought it would be a great idea to make a telescope using the 20-inch blank mirror his father left him.

His father started work on the blank in the 1990s but was unable to finish it due to work commitments and when Mr McNamara’s stepmother moved away, Mr McNamara was given possession of the mirror.

However, he has decided not to use his father’s 20-inch blank and purchased a 22-inch one instead.

“Over the space of six weeks, I looked for someone throughout the country who would be able to finish the telescope for me, but I have decided not to use the mirror left by my father and instead purchased two slightly bigger mirrors.”

Mr McNamara has spent a lot of time in the evenings working on constructing the telescope.

“I was hoping to have it finished by October, but unfortunately that won’t happen, but I’m definitely hoping to have it completed within six to 12 months.”

The telescope is being dedicated to his family and will be called the Brrudakat Telescope (pronounced Brew-da-cat) which stands for BR (for Brodie, his wife’s eldest son), RU (for his son Rueben), DA (for himself), KA (for wife Kayla) and T (for his nine-week-old daughter Tameka).

“I can’t wait till it’s finished. I’ll be really proud of it and I know Dad will be too,” he said.

Mr McNamara is in the process of building a 4.5m observatory, which will be used to house the six telescopes he owns.

Along with the Brrudakat Telescope, his collection also includes 3 x 6 inch Newtonian reflectors that he is hoping to make available to children when he finds a place to keep them, one 10-inch Celestron which belonged to his father and a 12-inch Newtonian Beverley-Begg telescope which his father used in July, 1994, to photograph the impact sites on Jupiter from comet Shoemaker Levy 9.

His father was the second person on Earth to photograph the impacts sites, only six minutes behind the University of Canterbury Mt John Observatory in Tekapo.

When completed, the 22-inch telescope will have a five-and-a-half metre scope.

By BRAYDEN LINDSAY

PHOTO: BRAYDEN LINDSAY – Oamaru man Damain McNamara with the 22 inch telescope he is in the process of creating.