Off to Starmus this weekend, looking forward to meeting some clients and a whole bunch of interesting people at a fantastic conference. If I don't manage to answer any emails please be patient, I'm back on the 30th Sept.
In the interim, things are getting busy with three new scope builds in the pipe line, another shop order for three 90mm Galaxy refractors, quite a few accessory commissions  and eight scopes already underway, not to mention the new designs and scopes for Astrofest and NEAF in2015. Looks like I'm going to have to hit the ground running on my return...........

A nice little comment from a small job which ended up in Canada this week.

"Hi Mark,  just wanted to let you know I picked up my 'plug and adapter' tonight. Truly a work of art! And it sure looks good in my Moonlight focuser on the end of my big Meade LX600. Many thanks again. Pat"

Don't forget, if you have a telescope that needs re-building and customising to a high standard please get in touch. I'm currently working of refractors from 60mm to 204mm, triplets and doublets.

It may seem like a small job, but the problem was to mate two parts of a telescope to fit an existing Altair tube and focuser. This was a real head scratcher. Now, no one's perfect and having spent three hours machining the perfect threaded adapter with the smoothest lip to take a focuser I got happens, and I took 0.25mm too much off the thread. ArHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
You live and learn, so I had a re-think and came up with an improved, lighter and perfect solution.

It may not look much, but I'm pleased with the result and it works a dream. So don't forget, never get distracted when on a lathe. Should you need any work carried out on your scopes please do get in touch. Solomon only gained his wisdom after making a few mistakes, you never learn through happiness only pain. 

Oh, regarding the new tripods, they are coming and the price will be very competitive, so don't rush out just yet and buy a tripod wait until you see what we have to offer. These tripods can also be customised to suit your exact needs.
The ultimate in Telescope cases, Made in England by a New subsidiary to Moonraker Telescopes. The first prototype from Cruickshank-Inns & Turner. I met Paul, a master craftsman, cabinet maker and of course amateur astronomer, after he contacted me regarding some work on one of his refractors. We got chatting about life the universe and everything, realised the answer was indeed 42 and decided we could work together to provide bespoke handmade accessories for refractors.
I'm hands off on the woodwork and leave this skilled job to Paul who machines every part of the box in his workshop, using seasoned timber. You'll not find any cheap plywood, fixings and furniture here. A case is like a frame it suggests the value and importance to the owner of the telescope it houses.

This prototype, housing an f16.7 60mm Tesla Terminator, has a bare interior at present, save for the lidded storage box for eye pieces and diagonals etc. Your bespoke case will have whatever compartment lights etc you feel necessary to use the case in the field or as a presentation piece. From cork faced rests on the stainless steel hinged back, to leather clad sledge runners on the bottom this is a beautifully made work of art. 

The modern classic tripod coming soon. When it comes to the tripod we have been doing a lot of testing and research and have taken our lead from classic and modern designs to create a tripod capable of taking numerous mounts from FTX though to Sabre mounts as well as EQ mounts up to the size of an EQ6. Finished in a choice of woods and incorporating polished or brass metal work {this bit I do!} the tripod will be a perfect accessory for any classic or modern refractor that you use on a regular basis or have permanently mounted to be admired in your home.

The pine used is Scandinavian sawn joinery Redwood.
Top grade Chudova Birch Lamination Plywood top bottom and scope cradles (felt lined)
The hinges are stainless.
latches are Protex medium duty Mild steel zinc plated with safety catch (stainless steel optional and on future hardwood boxes?)
'New old stock' stitched Leather handle
Leather topped sledge runners and feet. (On future ones  the leather will be wrapped over the ends of the runners then they will be protected up against the lip of the side) Improvements already!

External Danish oil finish.
Here is yet another Tesla Class refractor ready to be tested. This model is fully flocked from bow to stern including the focuser. Sporting four knife edge baffles and fully collimateable len cell with rotating focuser and leather trimmed {your colour choice} grab handle which can be located in different positions depending on the orientation of the mount.. Two more Tesla Class scopes of different sizes and FL are about to be made for clients. If you are interested in any kind of refractor design please do get in touch.

Who would have thought just 20 months ago when I was hoping, with luck to make 10 to 20 telescopes a year that I would now have created about 100 scopes of varying sizes including custom work on scope ancillaries, gone VAT registered and running a  small business. Business is the wrong word as I feel privileged to be able to wake up every morning and play!! It's not work, it's the most fun you can have with your clothes on!! Well almost!

Remember Moonraker is not just about Long focal length refractors, I'm currently working on numerous triplets and about to embark on a custom Maksutov-Cassegrain. The custom tripod is well under way and development images will be available in the near future.

At Moonraker you don't buy what we make, we make what you want to buy.
Moonraker telescopes is pleased to announce that we are attending Starmus. in Tenerife this September. Very exciting and looking forward to meeting Brian May and Steven Hawkins and all the cosmonauts and Astronauts as well as Nobel Prize winners and all the other guys from Astronomy now etc, etc.

Also I'm pleased to let you know about the new 6" f12 with ancillary scopes based on {but different} my 102 dark matter range, not one large scope but four in one, a beautiful, but fully functional observatory class piece of kit that is out of this world. Classic in form yet unique, not inspired by the past, but by a desire to create optimum functionality and form that has no contemporary peer. The OCEH150 TTL will hopefully be ready for unveiling at Astrofest in 2015........................ Back to the work shop and on with the greatest job in the world.........creating visual time machines...
I wanted to relay my experiences with Moonraker Telescopes.  I had a Zeiss AS 80/1200 lens in cell that needed an OTA.  The project took about 4 months, and Mark Turner was a pleasure to deal with all the way.  He is a bit crazy in a creative/good way and is nice person, extremely hard worker, and a perfectionist.  Mine is the gold scope that is currently featured on the Moonraker page.  The craftsmanship is wonderful and everything just works.  It looks even better in person than it does in the photos.  The enhancements to my scope include “aero” rings, a counterweight, a handle, and an extension to allow binoviewer use as well as regular prism diagonal use.  Mark can customize each scope from the focuser knobs to the shape of the screws.  The dovetail bar was made to AP instead of Vixen specifications.  I wanted to use the scope on an FTX mount, but due to my stupidity I gave Mark the wrong screw hole measurements, and that is why it sits on a 400 GTO for now.  I am going to have more screw holes bored into the dovetail at a later time.

My work schedule has prevented extensive testing, but of course this has nothing to do with Mark’s craftsmanship other than the fact that everything is in perfect collimation.  The star test on this lens shows an outstanding figure (nearly identical to the test on a similar lens shown here), and there is mild out of focus purple/green color.  In focus, the Moon is very sharp, and there is only a very slight color cast, not bothersome at all.  Stars are tack sharp with a faint first diffraction ring.  I am too tired for Jupiter but I will compare it in a few months to other 80mm lenses.

The best thing I can say about the scope is that my wife told me that I should not have it in the observatory for fear that it will get weathered!  It is going to hang in the house when not in use.  No other scope has gotten such treatment; in fact my wife wishes that several other scopes would never be seen again!   I know of at least one other person who is thrilled with his Moonraker.

I have no financial or other relationship with Moonraker other than I am a happy customer.

Here are a few images of another 102 f7 Dark Matter Triplet in production and early testing {notice the gaffer tape holding the lens cell on the OTA} ready for polishing and then assembly. There are a few shots of bits on the lathe and before and after shots of tube rings etc. The lens is an APM triplet and when tested today in bright sunlight the CA was ZERO!! and the tubes not even baffled or flocked yet.

More images of more scopes in production coming soon. Unfortunately some of the telescopes in production cannot be shown as the clients have asked to keep their projects private.....for now, that's a shame!
After finishing the tripod and top plates it was time to test the set up. And no, that's not me it's an interested neighbour, who, after the flash had gone off a few times did not need to look skyward to have stars in his eyes!!!