Reflections of an Obsession by Tom Frey

Some of you probably don’t know me but I’m called Obsession #860, a truss tube Dobonian telelscope. My credentials include an18 inch f/4.5 Galaxy objective mirror with an enhanced coating and a JMI NGC MAX set of digital setting circles. I’m constructed of maple and red alder plywood. I pal around with a Telrad and 8 X 50 finder scope but really see eye to eye with my best friends, the13 mm and 17 mm Nagler eyepieces. One of our group, 8.8 mm Meade is fine but a bit arrogant, always boasting about making things bigger and better. His cousin, 26 mm Meade Series 4000 is cool. He really takes in the whole scene. But we all make a good set.

I’m almost three years old and I live in San Luis Obispo in a nice cool, dust tight enclosure most of the time. The guy that takes care of me (his name is Tom) takes me out for a monthly viewing of the stars at the Santa Margarita KOA with my friends and occasionally to Red Hill Road off of Hwy 58 where the view is truly spectacular. There are lots of other friendly scopes and owners at these gigs.

A little background on how I wound up in SLO: My predecessor was a 4.5″ RFT that Tom made for his daughter, Angie, in the early 1980’s. Tom and Angie subsequently accompanied Lee Coombs, Jim Carlisle and others in CCAS to the RTMC in the 80’s. There, both Angie and Tom developed a severe case of aperture fever and realized that the 4.5″ RFT was only the beginning. Angie decided to build a 10″ Dobsonian out of oak-veneered plywood for her high school senior project with the help of Lee Coombs and her dad. She took this to RTMC and got honorable mention for her first telescope. As daughters move on with their lives, Angie moved on with her telescope leaving Tom with, you guessed it, the 4.5″ RFT. During the many trips to RTMC, Tom developed a fascination for the truss tube Dobs that were being exhibited. But it was Pete Roebber that pushed him over the edge in 2002. One evening with Pete and his 18″ Obsession
(a distant relative) at the KOA site convinced Tom that this was to be the next topic of discussion over dinner with Norma. “Uh dear”. So I appeared on the scene in October 2002.

My friends and I do our best to provide exceedingly clear images of deep sky objects; the globular clusters, galaxies and, along with my associate the OIII filter, nebulas like Orion and the Veil. My best memories include showing folks these wonderful objects in the sky, and especially youngsters who have never looked through a telescope and hearing the “Wow Helen come look at this” or “you mean all of those white dots are stars?”

Well, if this were “Inside the Actor’s Studio”, James Lipton would be asking me a variety of questions from carefully scripted 3×5 index cards. He might ask something like the following. What is/are your:

Favorite Eyepiece: Good ol; Mr. 17mm Nagler
Favorite Deep Sky Object: Without a doubt, M42, the Orion Nebula; makes my truss tubes tremble.
Turn On: Dark sky locale where you can’t see your feet,
Turn Off: White flash lights at star parties and dust
Greatest goal: A Messier Marathon at Glacier Point
Your favorite curse word: Oh Firi ( Fog is rolling in)

And, if you could change yourself for the better you would…

Latch onto a ServoCat (go-to system for Dobs) so I could follow the hands

There are well over a thousand of us now. And my creator, Dave Kriege, a dentist in Wisconsin has started assembling 12.5″ and 15″ models. You can learn more about us HERE. Don’t forget the word “telescope” in the address. Tom had an embarrassing moment when Oh well.

So please come visit Tom and me at the KOA campground. We’d love to show you around the sky.

Follow Us: