## Description

The model results in a very simple first order nonlinear ordinary differential equation (ODE) that has no closed-form solution. Moreover, one of the components of the ODE is a function that must be estimated from the collected data; some real data from a mirror the author made is included. A computer algebra system can be helpful for performing computations, and sample Maple and Mathematica worksheets are provided.

It is a time-honored tradition among amateur astronomers to build a telescope from scratch, right down to grinding the optical elements.

Building a telescope is an interesting exercise in ``multiple precision'' construction. The telescope's tube and base are often made of wood, which is typically cut to an accuracy of a few hundredths of an inch. Machined metal parts might be accurate within a few ten-thousandths of an inch. But in order to obtain good images, the optical elements themselves must be made to tolerances on the order of a textit{millionth of an inch}. How can such precision be attained at home (or anywhere else)?

Remarkably, this can be done by using only bare human hands, aided by a bit of clever optics and geometry.

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