Scientists 3D print moon telescope
Scientists 3D print moon telescope

Scientists 3D print moon telescope

The University of Sheffield has released the first photos of space ever taken with a 3D printed telescope. The telescope cost just £100 to make and is comprised of components which are easy to purchase on the internet.

The telescope, based on Isaac Newton’s reflecting telescope design, is called PiKon; a portmanteau made from combining the alternative spelling of ‘icon’, which is Greek for ‘image’, and the name of the readily available Raspberry Pi camera, which sits in the telescope.

The telescope works by using a Newtonian concave mirror to form an image of whatever the telescope is focused on directly onto the Pi camera sensor, which is mounted onto components created by 3D printing.

Because of the small size of the Raspberry Pi camera, it is possible to mount it directly in front of the mirror.

The PiKon telescope has a magnification of times 160, which means that on a cloudless night it will be capable of detailed lunar observation as well as galaxies, star clusters and some planetary observation.

Subsequent processing of the PiKon’s digital images also makes it possible to use the telescope to ‘stack’ and compare images, therefore scanning the night skies for unusual occurrences, such as comets.

The Institute of Physics member, Mark Wrigley, and University of Sheffield Physics and Astronomy research associate, Andy Kirby, have made the details of the telescope available online so that any budding astronomers can build their own telescope, saving a minimum of 800 pounds compared to models of the same capabilities.


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