The Stansbury Park Observatory Complex (SPOC) near Salt Lake City, Utah, inaugurates the building that will house the Clements 1.8-meter telescope, billed as the largest amateur telescope in the world. The heart of the mammoth instrument is a government surplus mirror that was designed originally for a Cold War-era spy satellite.
The Salt Lake Astronomical Society, which operates the observatory, is sponsoring the project.
SPOC counts as a practical home for the Clements telescope rather than an ideal home, as light pollution is increasing apace with the rapid housing development near the Great Salt Lake.
The builder, Utah man Mike Clements, began constructing a steel structure to house the mirror in 2012, and the original plan was to haul the instrument around the country on a trailer to share viewing with other night sky enthusiasts. The observatory and donors stepped in with funding for a building for the instrument, which is the size of a school bus.
Clements was nicknamed One-Meter Mike when he built a large telescope with a diameter of one meter and hauled it around the country in the back of a pick-up, according to local broadcaster KSL. He took it to national parks and rest stops and showed off the stars and planets.
Date written/update: 2017-01-11