DIY Stargazing in Siberia
Check it out: WWII vet and self-taught astronomer Mikhail Sergeyevich Levchenko built his own telescope from scratch in the shadow of the Cold War space race. For years, Levchenko kept it hidden for fear of being thought an eccentric. After his death in 2002, the device gathered dust... until now. As the solar eclips draws near, new interest is sparked in this DIY marvel.
The neighborhood kids who gazed at the stars through this telescope are now grown, and are keen to restore it to its former glory in time to catch the eclipse, whos eshadow passes over their corner of the world.
World War Two veteran and astronomy enthusiast Mikhail Levchenko built this telescope and observatory from scratch in the 1970s, working far from the grand research centers that were once at the heart of the Soviet space race with the West.
Now, the neighbors and locals he mesmerized with his creation want to bring it back to life, and they hope a total solar eclipse on August 1 will inspire enthusiasts elsewhere to support them.
Since Levchenko's death in 2002, the telescope, which has a 40-cm (16-inch) diameter glass lens that magnified 500 times, has gathered dust. Thieves tried to steal it for the scrap metal it once was and the observatory sank deeper into the ground.
Now, the telescope, which has been dormant for years, is getting a push to be restored and brought back online in time for a full solar eclipse which will be viewable from Levchenko's hometown of Barnaul in Siberia.
The people of Barnaul hope the telescope will lure visitors to their town during the total solar eclipse, even though NASA says Russia's third most populated town, Novosibirsk, is likely to be the main visiting place in this region.