Yes, boys and girls, MidAtlantic Mirror Making # 11 is history.
I hope all who have a tinge of curiosity about the mysteries of Newtonian mirror making stopped by Mallard Lodge to get a hint of what all the fuss is about.
For the curious, mirror making is only the beginning of a wonderful telescope making experience that begins with mirror making and ends with viewing the heavens thru a home built scope that just happens to have a superior primary mirror made by YOU.
Yes, you should certainly believe there is some pride and satisfaction involved in viewing the wonders of our universe thru a scope you built around a mirror that you also made…especially when the quality of your views exceed those of the "store-bought" variety telescope.
For those unfamiliar with MidAtlantic Mirror Making let me supply a few stats.
1. This was the ELEVENTH time we have sponsored a mirror making weekend.
2. Smyrna, DE, is the only place on EARTH where a person can find a program that begins and completes a Newtonian mirror in just one weekend.
This event is staffed by an all volunteer group. In addition to making mirrors, the Mallard Lodge was converted into a mirror making facility, seven meals for 40 people were prepared - and the dishes were washed, a dumpster full of trash was collected and carried from the building, and in the end the building was converted back to it's original condition. Grinding table assembly & disassembly, testing tunnels, pitch lap making station, fish-frying facilities…cleaning…all chores were carried out as needed by volunteers who actually had a weekend of fun by participating in MMM#11.
To all who volunteered their time and expertise…THANK YOU!
We opened Mallard Lodge on Thursday night for the first time because so many of our attendees were arriving from long distances. This year our long distance people came from London, New Brunswick- Canada, Los Angeles, Portland, Cleveland, Houston and Connecticut. The early arrivers and a few "locals" met for a late supper at Smyrna Diner… we had 18 people at the Diner and our two Canadian friends met us at Mallard Lodge later in the evening-they had to eat at McDonalds…so, we learned there is an interest in beginning the event on Thursday night vs Friday morning. Opening early and going to the Diner for Thursday night dinner and for Friday morning breakfast seemed to be a great way to begin the event…much more relaxed than the Friday morning rush from years past. Although I offered to make arrangements for the Thursday night muskrat dinner at Smyrna's Wagon Wheel Restaurant there were no takers…maybe next year's participants will be a bit more venturesome meal wise.
Oh, the mirrors - there were 19 of them…three 6"ers, five 8"ers, five 10"ers, four 12.5"rs, one 14" and one 16". Sixteen mirrors were completed; the uncompleted mirrors…one person had to leave early, another decided to quit the program early and the 16"er which we all knew was a bit much to tackle in one weekend . Maybe those folks will return next year to complete their project. One of our "completed" mirrors was begun over 35 years ago. And folks, those 16 completed mirrors are "KEEPERS"! So, save a weekend in early March 2012 for MidAtlantic Mirror Making #12.