This 30 inch all-metal monster has undoubtedly traveled more miles and seen more visitors than any telescope along the front range of the Rockies, and has visited dark skies more times than most astronomers even dream about.
It was born in November of 1998, commissioned with a bottle of Grand Marnier by the Dark Sky Marines on the Pawnee National Grasslands, and has since traveled many thousands of miles entertaining hundreds of guests at public (and private) star parties over about a 6 year career.
The sky end is removed from the struss tubes and nests inside the welded aluminum mirror box structure. By rotating the four jack-mounted casters down into position and using an electric drill to operate the jacks, the telescope can then be rolled onto a flatbed trailer.
Here is the drivers seat.
And here is the driver.
I can't tell you how many times this instrument has been used by dazzled stargazers to follow the intertwined tendrils of the Veil nebula around its loop, to dive into the sparkling depths of globular clusters, to ski the spiral arms of M101, or to examine the feathery intricasies of the Swan nebula.
The metal structures retired in 2004, with the 30" Pegasus mirror now continuing service in a wooden AstroSystems setup.
Great times, Gary!
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