THE NEW INSTRUMENT SHOP --------------------- John Pazmino NYSkies Astronomy Inc email@example.com www.nyskies.org 1991 April 1
The Instrument Group's new workshop is moving rapidly into full operation. By readtime [in April 1991] several projects are already underway, including an autocollimator, diffraction interferometer, ozone differential spectrometer. and videotelescope The workshop is a midterm loan of space by George Awad, of Awad Astronomical Models, in his factory loft. It occupies a L-shaped corner about 7 by 7 meters overall within a stud and Masonite enclosure. Formally inaugurated on Saturday 1 December 1990, the shop is under equipment and furnishment by the Instrument Group in weekly meetings. In place already are the test tunnel, barrel tent, workbench, and computer alcove. The test tunnel is an opaque hooded frame spanning between the mirror test stand and the knife-edge table. It shields the airpath from ambient lights and currents. The barrel tent is a transparent hooded frame over the grinding barrel. Large enough for all mirror operations by a craftsman inside, it helps to maintain an even temperature. The Association's two AT-class computers are installed in the shop for image processing and general astronomy work. So far they are occupied by the Group for processing video images of mirror tests. The facilities of the shop are not laid out for unstructured personal projects. Never the less, AAA members may avail of them as time and priority permit. In the main the shop is busy with Instrument Group projects. Barry Levin, chair of the Instrument Group, gathered a strong team of AAAers, many from the Optical Division. Altho the Optical Division has been in latence since the elimination of its home in the Hayden Planetarium building, the Instrument Group is the direct successor of it. The new name reflects the expanded domains accessible to astronomers in optics, electronics, videography, and informatics, some entirely inconceivable only ten years ago. The Instrument Group itself coalesced in mid 1989 from the evolution of the Optical Division and influx from the Brooklyn Chapter. Tho new on the astronomy scene the Group is attracting favorable attention and substantial support both within and without the profession. It has a routine correspondence with optics and computer experts at Columbia Broadcasting System, Brooklyn Polytechnic University, Brooklyn College, European Southern Observatory, NYU Medical Center, and Perkin-Elmer Company. The shop, even in its nascent form, hosted a visit from the National Air & Space Museum. The Instrument Group's workshop is only the second facility operated by the Association "downtown". All other AAA sites were elsewhere on Manhattan Island or in the outer boros. (This discounts the occasional passive use of central city sites like the Empire State Building and Central Park.) The other downtown facility was the MOONwatch station on the [former] RCA tower in Rockefeller Center during the late 1950s. The shop is in the Garment District near Herald Square and Penn Station. It is a short walk from Paddy's Market, Port of Authority, Times Square, Center Aryn, Murray Hill, Chelsea, Furs & Flowers, and Penn South. Many area rail and bus lines pass by the shop as do the blue, red, yellow, and orange subway lines. Correspondence with the Instrument Group workshop is at Instrument Group-AAA, 2nd floor, 260 West 36th Street, New York NY 10018.