Shane Larson won the grand prize for the Optics Contest of Instructables for his tutorial detailing the construction of a very large backyard Dobsonian telescope named “Cosmos Mariner.” Instructables is an online “maker” community sponsored by Autodesk where anyone can contribute by posting tutorials on how to create, make, or fix things. To stimulate new projects and encourage the creation of new, exceptional tutorials, Instructables regularly sponsors contests that have a central theme. The Optics Contest includes any projects that focuses on the use of lenses, prisms, mirrors, filters, or other tools for shaping light.
Professor Larson’s winning tutorial meticulously walks the reader through the process of creating the very large aperture telescope with helpful pictures, references, and reassurance, showing how rewarding amateur astronomy can prove to be. He has contributed many other tutorials to the site, amassing over 230,000 views. “It is in essence a different form of public outreach for me,” says Dr. Larson.
Larson’s other instructables include the Tiny Telescope Observatory, which won second place in the Tiny Homes Contest, the Spacetime Table which won second place in the Explore Science Contest, and many others (how to create a planisphere, a red-light flashlight, and how to generate and play sounds that correspond to the gravitational waveforms of binary black holes using a Lego Mindstorms EV3 Brick.)
Congratulations, Professor Larson!
Learn more from Shane:
Grand Prize in Optics Contest: Cosmos Mariner: a Large Aperture Dobsonian Telescope
Related to Astronomy:
- Tiny Telescope Observatory (Second Prize in Tiny Homes Contest)
- Starwheel (Planisphere)
- Hacking a Red Light for Astronomy
Related to Gravitational Waves:
- Making Chirp Waveforms with Lego Mindstorms (Runner Up in the Audio Contest)
- Spacetime Table (Second Prize in the Explore Science Contest)