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This telescope looks something like a cross between a bucket and a rubber ball. That's because it is. It isn't the most typical type of telescope, but then its inventor, Jerry Oltion from Eugene Oregon, isn't the most typical kind of guy. Rather than seeking a patent for his unusual, but practical trackball telescope design, Jerry Oltion has written about his telescope in the August 2006 issue of Sky & Telescope magazine to share with other fellow amateur astronomers.
Using a Bic pen shell combined with a long bolt, fuel line, and a plastic pipe, Oltion created a rotating axle. A small motor provides the power to rotate a fiberglass wrapped ball housing a primary mirror on a stand. Together, the whole unit serves as the mount and tripod. Oltion then cut the bottom off of a bucket to become a shortened telescope tube, housing a secondary eyepiece and a mirror.
The trackball telescope invention may look odd, but it serves the stargazer well by allowing the viewer a greater amount of flexibility to aim the telescope than with a conventional mount and tripod.