Saturday, June 14, 2014

Christian Manhood: Women are Lovely Creatures

Women are beautiful. I'm not talking physically, although there is that. I'm talking about their very nature, their instincts and drives. It's not politically correct to talk about the differences between men and women these days, unless, of course, you are a comedian. A lot of comedians make a good solid living pointing out that men and women are fundamentally different. They get laughs because people recognize the truth of what they are saying about our differences.

Women are not men and thank God for that. I was reading today in Matthew 8, starting with verse 14, the story of Simon Peter's mother-in-law. Jesus came by Peter's house to visit and found the poor woman in a terrible state. She was running a high fever and couldn't get out of bed.

It's interesting the words that Jesus used next. He didn't wave his hand and say "Be healed." He didn't mix up any mud or say "Your sins be forgiven thee." Matthew says he "rebuked" the fever. I can see that in my head. Jesus seeing this lovely elderly woman in distress, he tells the fever "Shame on you for bothering this lovely woman. Get out of here and don't come back!"

He rebuked a sickness.

I remember when my daughter was in about 8th grade, a young man approached her in the hallway of her school and began talking trashy to her. My daughter, who has all the self-confidence of a bull rhino, brushed him off, turned and stalked away in a huff. When the young man turned around, he came face to chest with Meghan's older brother, then a senior in the high school which shared the building with the junior high and elementary.

I say face to chest because Micah was about 6'3" or so at the time and weighed around 250 pounds, played basketball and ran track and had been recruited by several high school football coaches who wanted him rather badly. 

The young man looked up into Micah's face and his grin faded. Micah caught him by the front of his shirt and with one hand lifted him off the floor and brought his face level with Micah's own.

Then he rebuked him.

"You do NOT talk to my sister that way," Micah said in an eerily calm, albeit deadly serious voice. "Do you understand?"

The young man nodded. He was sweating bullets.

Micah lowered him to the ground. His feet were moving before they touched the floor.

One would hope he had learned his lesson.

That is how men should treat women. It's not because they are weak or helpless. Far from it. My daughter is one of the most capable young women I know. It is because women are capable and talented and capable of thinking in ways that we men are not that we should be protective of them. We are, after all, bigger than they are and I've always believed that if you are given the gift of great strength, you should use it to protect those weaker than yourself. I think that was the lesson God was trying to teach Samson, Saul and David.

The best part of the story of Peter's mother-in-law is what happened after Jesus healed her. A man would have thanked Jesus profusely and spent the next hour telling everyone about the experience he'd just had. Not Peter's mother-in-law. The first thing she does is get up and run off to the kitchen to fix some food and feed Jesus and everyone else who was a guest in her home.

Women do that kind of thing. Men would let you starve before the thought would occur to them to fix supper. We just don't think like that. Women bring an essential skill and a unique viewpoint to any enterprise we undertake. It is they who worry whether we're dressed warmly, have enough to eat or our bed is comfortable.

I'm like Jesus. If anyone or anything troubles a woman, my first instinct is to rebuke it. I think that's one of the instincts God put into us males.  Women take care of the children, the family, guests, the poor, the widows and the orphans. Men? We take care of our women. If we don't, who will?

Tom King
© 2014

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Star Honor Series: Part 6 - Building a Reflector Telescope

John Dobson introduced his wonderful homemade low-cost, non-equatorial plywood telescope mount for large homemade reflector telescopes in the 1950s.  Telescope mounts can be as expensive as the telescopes themselves, if not more so. The simple Dobsonian mount was able to handle even relatively large telescopes is wonderfully cheap and works really well.

Having a cheap mount allows amateur astronomers to spend their money on larger, more expensive, high-quality scopes rather than on the mount. The design below is for a 10 inch “Dob” that will fit on the mount described in part 1 of this series. You can collect the parts for the scope on eBay and other online sites if you are patient. This can be a long term project for your Pathfinder club.

Here's what you need:

Painted sonotubes.
  • 12-inch tube about eight feet long. You can get a sonotube at a concrete supply store. They are used as forms for making concrete pillars.
  • 10-inch telescope mirror
  • 10-inch mirror mounting cell
  • 10-inch Spider mount for the secondary mirror
  • Secondary mirror
  • 2 inch focuser
  • Eyepiece
  • 4 by 8 foot sheet of half inch plywood
  • 1-inch screws, 1 box
  • 2 old phonograph records
  • 1 half inch carriage bolt, 3 inches long with nut and flat washer
  • Felt strips

  • Drill and bits
  • 2 inch drill hole saw bit
  • Saber Saw
  • Screwdrivers
  • Scissors
  • Wood glue

The Scope:

This will be a quick run-through of the process. You can find a more detailed description of the project with pictures and dimensions of things at this link to a blog of mine on another site. Here's a quick description of how to do this so you can get an idea of what all is involved.

Step 1
Cross section of mirror mount
Mount the telescope mirror first. It should come with a mirror-mounting cell that allows you to fix the mirror at the lower end of the you to adjust the angle of the mirror to line it up with the secondary mirror and eyepiece.  Follow the instructions that came with the cell.  Drill holes in the lower end of the Sonotube to match the mounting screws and screw the mount into the end of the tube.  Here's a more detailed description of the process

Step 2
Figure out the focal length of the mirror.  It will be in the specifications that come with your mirror.  Subtract 6 inches and the length of the focuser from the total focal length of the mirror. Measure from the center of the mirror up the side of the Sonotube.  Mark the side of the tube at the distance you computed above. Measure four more inches up the tube and cut off the rest of the Sonotube.  Hold the tube upside down while cutting so that the dust falls away from the mirror. 

Step 3
Mirror spider mount
Drill a 2-inch hole in the side of the tube at the mark you made on the side of the tube (the adjusted focal length).  Screw the spider mount for the secondary mirror so that the mounted mirror is directly below the 2-inch hole you just drilled.

Step 4
Screw the focuser assembly directly over the 2-inch hole in the tube. You will have to collimate (align) the optics so that the focuser lines up with the center of the secondary mirror. There should be detailed instructions that come with your optics for collimating the focuser. Once you've screwed down the focuser, put a low power eyepiece in the end of the focuser. Point the tube at something distinctive during the daylight and make sure you can focus on the object to make a sharp image. You may have to adjust the primary mirror a bit, but if you got the measurements right, it shouldn't take much. You also may have to adjust the angle of the main mirror to make sure the image is projected directly off the secondary mirror and through the secondary.

Step 5
Next mount the finder scope a quarter of the way around the tube from where you mounted the focuser. You'll need to calibrate the finder scope during daylight so that the finder points at the same place in the sky that the telescope does. You can do this by pointing the scope at a small object a few hundred yards away and then lining up the finder scope to point it's crosshairs at the same object.  Your finder scope probably comes with instructions.

Now that you're done, the next thing we'll do is mount the tube in the Dobsonian Mount you built in Part 5 of this series

Refracting finder scope
Here are some cool links to some other telescope building resources.

  1. Mother Earth News: A Homemade Telescope 
  2. Larry Brown: Homemade Astronomy
  3. Scopemaking:  Plans for a Homemade Dobsonian Telescope
  4. Howdy Ya Dewit:  A Homemade Telescope: A Quick Run-Through

© 2014 by Tom King