Well now, here’s a adventure you don’t apprehend every day: a telescope in Carefree, AZ may accept acquired a blaze that austere allotment of a house. KNXV TV in Phoenix agitated the story. I accept comments below.
There’s are additionally accessories at AZCentral and at Firegeezer with some added details.
My aboriginal acknowledgment was, “No way.” Then I looked into this more, and now I anticipate the ‘scope may accept absolutely been the culprit.
The telescope is a architecture alleged a Schmidt-Cassegrain, or aloof SCT. I accept one myself! It’s a tube with a big mirror (called the primary) in the aback that’s curved. It reflects ablaze aback up the tube. At the top of the tube is a collapsed allotment of bottle (called a corrector plate) with a abate mirror anchored in the middle. This reflects the ablaze afresh bottomward against the basal of tube, area it passes through the aperture in the big mirror and into an eyepiece (and from there into your eye or camera). The inset diagram actuality shows how this works; bang to newtonianate.
I alleged the Carefree blaze department, and talked to Colin Williams, their Press Information Officer. He was actual helpful, and told me added of what happened. The abode area the blaze was best acute — and accordingly the acceptable agent — was on the ceiling, a few anxiety to the ancillary of actuality anon aloft the telescope. Also, a few canicule ago a acquaintance had noticed that there was an acute atom of ablaze on the beam advancing from the telescope. At the time, the buyer didn’t anticipate abundant of it.
I’m cerebration that the telescope may accept been acicular a the horizon. The ambience Sun happened to canyon into the band of afterimage of the ‘scope — conceivably he was ambience up to see the Transit of Venus. Best bodies who use an SCT accept a accessory alleged a askew which reflects ablaze at a 90° angle, authoritative it easier to use (you don’t accept to stoop over as far to see through the eyepiece). For a accumbent telescope, this agency the ablaze advancing out the aback end could’ve been projected up assimilate the ceiling.
Here’s a attempt of the austere out ‘scope:
You’re seeing the top of the telescope there on the left. The corrector bowl is broken, best acceptable due to falling debris. The telescope is apparent as it was found, but you can’t say for abiding that’s the position it was in back the blaze started; agenda the bits is about on top of it. The telescope could’ve started off added accumbent and been whacked by article falling, animadversion it into the position we see it here.
It does assume absurd that the ‘scope happened to be pointing at the Sun, but weirder things accept happened. It’s additionally accessible that the primary (big) mirror was misaligned, and beatific focused ablaze beeline up and out of the tube at a slight angle, causing the fire. That seems alike beneath acceptable to me, though. Had the mirror been misaligned it would’ve been absurd to use, and the geometry is all amiss for that.
So I anticipate what we accept actuality is a acceptable book — the telescope dunnit! — but the capacity are unclear.
The assignment here? Telescopes are able instruments. Back you’re done observing, put abroad all the accessories and bundle it in a safe abode and position. And put the careful awning on it! At the actual atomic that keeps the corrector bowl adequate from dust and scratches. And in this case, it may accept prevented a fire, too.
Image credit: Rural/Metro Blaze Department. Tip o’ the dew absorber to BABloggee John Santucci.
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