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.

Part of the Saint Petersburg Astronomy Club Home of the 2017 OBS Star Party

Lab Members

Ralph Craig is a lab instructor and has made mirrors from 6 inches to his recently completed 16 inch f5 mirror.

Allen Maroney
has completed three mirrors in the lab between 8 and 18 inches. Allen is also buiding a second robo foucault tester based on James design.

Mike Davis
casts his own mirror blanks.

Irv Nadelhaft

Charlie Mullen ground the mirrors for two years worth of rafflescopes but now has moved on the clear skys of New Mexico.

Lab T-Shirts Available

Lab Alumni

Lenny Remetta

Keevy McAlavy

Bruce Kazcmarik

James Lerch built our robo foucault tester and in house aluminizing chamber as well as a laser interferometry testing setup.

Ron Jones AKA the figurer is about the best mirror maker this side of the mississippi. You can see things in his 8 inch mirror that would impress a takahashi devotee.


Russell W. Porter father of amateur astronomy and founder of Stellafane

Mel Bartels Website
Amateur Astronomer and innovator.

Stardate Website
Good overall observation site.

NGC Astronomers
Former member Matt Terry has his own astronomy club north of Tampa.

Southwest Florida
Astronomical Society

A nearby Astronomy club.

Telescope Software
Ray tracing program for determining all required dimensions for a newtonian reflector. (New Website)

Program for designing mirror cells.

Observing Software
3-D interactive simulation of the solar system and beyond.

Plots the jovian satellites.

Lunar Phase
Shows all the phases of the move and more.

Mirror Lab Home Mirror Making Supplies Robo Foucault Tester Telescope Gallery SPAC Library

  Mars Closest Approach in 60000 years
Mars Closest Approach in 60000 years

On the night of Tuesday August
26th Mars made its closest approach to the Earth in over 60000 years. Mars was only 34,646,418
miles from Earth at 5:51am EDT (early Wednesday morning).

On the night of closest approach. Picture imaged with a cheap $20 camera held up to the
Location Time
August 16
Gulfport Casino 10pm -1am
August 22
Science Center 9:30pm -1am
August 26
Science Center 9:30pm -1am
August 29
Gulfport Casino 9pm -1am
August 30
Science Center 9pm -1am
September 5
Gulfport Casino 9pm -1am
September 6
Science Center 9pm -1am
20 Saturday
Gulfport ArtWalk 8:30pm
September 26 Friday Science Center 8:00pm

  New Image Database Available

  Total Lunar Eclipse
Several Members of the lab were interviewed by local tv channels 10 and 13 during the total lunar

  Our Aluminizing Chamber is Demonstrated to the Public
James Lerch does a demostration of the new aluminizing chamber during a meeting of the Saint
Petersburg Astronomy Club. The meeting was held at the Science Center of Pinellas County. A short
video of the event is available.

  Public Viewing the Night of October 12th 2002

This is the 10 inch rafflescope during collimation
the afternoon before the public observing.

Oct 12, 2002 Pinellas County Science
Members of the St Petersburg Astronomy Club converge for the first public viewing of
the 2002-2003 observing season.

The club's optics lab performed the first star-testing of
the just completed 10inch rafflescope.

size=+1>CLICK HERE for more information about the

Paul and Pat admire Ralph's daughter Casey's 6" f 4.5 "Blue Star" scope.

The weather was
hot, humid and cloudy (but at least we could see the first quarter moon). About fifty people
attended this event with many recently built telescopes shown off by club members.

A 3 inch f6 built by Tom. It looks like a nice scale model of a truss telescope but it actually

Tom's other (full size) telescope.

  A 10 inch mirror goes from a blank to aluminized in a week!
Due to an unfortunate event the 10 inch mirror for the 2003 rafflescope was ruined. James Lerch and
Paul Kristle worked around the clock in shifts to regrind and polish a 10 inch mirror from scatch to

  Our Vacuum Aluminizing chamber comes online
Build from parts scavanged on ebay James Lerch has created a vacuum chamber that will coat
(aluminize) mirrors upto 10 inches in diameter. Positioning the heating elements to ensure an even
coat was one of the difficult parts.

  We snap pictures of asteroid 2002 NY40
Asteroid 2002
NY40 flew past Earth early in the morning on August 17th. It flew by at a distance of 530,000
kilometers or roughly 1.3 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon. NY40 is approximately 800
meters wide and appeared near the bright star Vega. James Lerch took the images.

  8 inch Rafflescope winning from OBS 2002

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