Wednesday, March 31, 2021

finally connected with Alan

Phoned Alan Ward. His emails were sounding a little... Intense? Impassioned?

We talked about my SkyNews article, the Modern Makers. More than once he said my piece is a first in the history of the magazine, the first time someone talked about amateur telescope making. I've only been paying attention since about 2007. He assured me he's been watching since 1995. So that is cool if true. He said it was "wonderful" that I did this. I told him a part 2 is coming soon...

Alan talked about the increasing interest in fast mirrors, big mirrors frequently down to f/3, due in part to more accessible corrective optics such as the Tele Vue ParaCorr Type 2. He's convinced the commercial companies won't do this so perhaps it's becoming new driver for enthusiasts prepared to make their own. He said there's no way the consumer telescope companies will spend 100 hours making a mirror for an amateur rig.

We talked about the new silvering processes and bare and enhanced aluminium coatings that he can produce coatings with 95% reflectivity in green. I learned that he obtained his first coating machine in 1992, just for himself initially. He shared briefly the history of his business and the trends in the industry. He claimed he was the first in the world to make an apochromatic lens. Sounds amazing everything that he can do and how willing he is to help ATMers.

His passion emerged in our rapid-fire discussion. He feels strongly that Canadians have a unique story to tell. He thinks it should be told. And it's something we should be proud of. I concur.

He invited me to his shop in Sudbury. It'd be cool to see how things work. We can't do anything now obviously but that'll give him time to recover some his winter fall. In the meantime, we agreed to keep in touch. I asked for Peter's contact info. And hopefully between now and then, he'll do another presentation on coatings or optics and I can sit in.

1 comment:

Horst Reda said...

I grew up with Alan in Sudbury and recently re-connected with him after a long interval.

It's amazing and fascinating to see how he has excelled in this domain.

Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s he was already ahead of the curve as the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of Sudbury's very finest screechcore band the infamous Iron Lawnchair.