Herrett Center workers clean observatory telescope

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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) When Chris Anderson and Rick Widmer work on cleaning the Herrett Center Observatory Telescope, they don't leave pens in shirt pockets, have rings on or even wear glasses.

Because if anything falls off of them or scrapes the $36,000 piece of mirror that the telescope uses, it would be a costly mistake.

"It's a little stressful," Anderson said. "The good news is we've done it several times now, we're getting better at it. It's not quite as nerve wracking as the first few times we did it, but you still have to be careful for sure, there's still a few places where a misstep could be disastrous."

After they take apart the telescope they clean the mirror by spraying it with an ether-based substance. When they peel it off, it takes dust, dirt, tree sap and calcium build-ups.

Anderson is the observatory coordinator. He says they clean the telescope every 18 to 24 months. He said this time it really needed.

"We had to shoot it twice this time to get all the dirt, but it looks pretty good," Anderson said. "I'm expecting that folks who have been to the observatory recently and maybe the views weren't quite as good as they remember should improve now."

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