Saint Petersburg Astronomy Club - Mirror Lab


Science Center of Pinellas
7701 22nd Ave N
Saint Petersburg, FL 33710

We're available from 12 Noon to 4PM each Saturday

Our Founder

Paul McNabb founded the mirror lab in 1997 in order to create the best amateur telecopes possible. Inch for inch our mirrors surpass store bought or commercial grade scopes.

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  • Ralph Craig - Lab Instructor
  • Allen Maroney - Lab Instructor
  • Ron Jones - The Figurer
  • Mike Davis - Casts Mirrors
  • Dimitri - Support


  • James Lerch - Robo Foucault
  • Matt Terry
  • Charlie Mullen
  • Bruce Kazcmarik
  • Keevy McAlavy

In Memorium

  • Irv Nadelhaft
  • Lenny Remetta

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Where the 19th Century Art of Mirror Making Meets the 21st Century

The Saint Petersburg Mirror Lab is a small band of dedicated mirror grinders and telescope makers living in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. We offer a mirror making class for interested persons. We strive to create the best mirrors our home brew technology can muster. This includes robotic foucault testing and laser interferometry.

  Mike Davis with his finished mirror
Mike Davis with his finished 10 inch f/4.9 one sixth wave mirror on 12-3-2011

  Paul McNabb fine grinding his 16inch mirror

  Two Mikes
Mike Davis (Left) and Mike Newton polishing their mirrors

  Mike, Mike and Dave
Mike, Mike and Dave polishing mirrors with Irv, Allen and Ralph (taking photo) supervising the

  Mirror Lab helps local science teacher
This 16 inch Meade Dob was donated to the local school system. George Fatolitus, center, is the
science teacher that will be using it with his students. He brought it to the Optical Lab where
we cleaned the optics, fixed some mechanical issues with the primary cell and base and then
collimated it. That's Paul McNabb at the eyepiece and Ralph Craig, right. Next Jim Hunter, who
recently finished a 16" mirror (see photo further down this page), will show Mr. Fatolitus how to
field collimate and use the scope.

  Pauls new Dob
Paul McNabb with a new Dob telescope base that he made for a 10" scope. The optical tube is being
assembled and it should be ready for observing at the Orange Blossom Special in early March

  Tom Greens f/4.9 Mirror
Tom Green on the first day of polishing his 12.5" f/4.92 mirror. We were able to get an accurate
Foucault focal length of 61". After taking in to account the 1/8" bevel the mirror has a surface
diameter of 12.325".

  Bobs Mirror
This is the final and 49th test of Bob's mirror from the Robotic Foucault Tester. The 65nm
(nanometer) mark represents a 1/4 wave mirror (peak to valley) of green/yellow light's wavelength,
which is considered good enough for a commercial mirror. Bob's mirror, at 13th wave, is more
than three times better than that.

  New Mirror Completed
Bob Helmling with his 10" f/5.9 mirror finished on December 4th, 2010. This is an amazing 13th
wave mirror with a good edge and a smooth, well polished surface.

  New Mirror Completed
Dave Pearson with his newly finished 1/6th wave 10" mirror on 11-20-2010.

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