Oregon Star Party Telescope Walkabout, 2017 edition

Running for more than 20 years, the Oregon Star Party Telescope Walkabout celebrates and promotes telescope making. As a group we walk from telescope to telescope, meeting each builder, listening to their story. What is it about? What works? What doesn't? What would they change next time? Sometimes it is a novel idea, sometimes it is a beginner's first effort. We ask questions as a group, benefiting collectively. The popularity of the walkabout over the years shows its value to amateurs. Ask yourself if you'd rather be answering judges questions or talking about your telescope to an appreciative crowd.

The Oregon Star Party has seen the invention and early adoption of flex rockers, string telescopes, Tensegrity tube structures, wire spiders, computerized drive systems, direct drive motors, TrackBalls, SudiBalls, ultra-lights, three large one meter reflectors, super fast sub-F3 reflectors, folding light path reflectors, travel and folding scopes, novel observing accessories, meniscus mirrors, ultra-thin mirrors, Lurie-Houghtons and Schiefspieglers, a number of binoscopes, club scopes and tracking platforms. Especially we take time to celebrate 'first' telescopes made by kids and adults. Invariably there is a fresh take, a new approach or a novel idea.

This year the largest crowd we can recall participated. The Walkabout is the largest event outside of the star party's concluding door-prize event. We saw a number of cutting-edge telescopes as well as time tested traditionally designed telescopes. Note the increasing use of 3D printed parts. The builders and their telescopes featured this year are:

Mel Bartels and the gathering fellow walkabouters

Bruce Sayre's 14.25 inch F5 binocular telescope

Greg Lobdell's on-site-repaired telescope

Rob and Quinn Brown's Tensegrity 8 and 12 inch F5 telescopes

Kreig McBride's 8 inch refractor

Dan Gray's alt-alt or el-el advanced computerized mounting

Greg Rhode's ultra-lightweight aluminum 15 inch telescope

Nels Johansen's 16 inch string telescope

Mike Dilley's 12.5 inch F2.5 superfast, single arm equatorial telescope

Sameer Ruiwale's 16 inch F4 Tensegrity telescope

Andrew Cooper's hodge-podge tracker

Michael McKeowns's 16 inch split-ring equatorial telescope

Mel Bartels