Leonid Sikoruk was a Soviet film director who produced the television
seriers “ Physics for Kids” a the for Novosibirsk Telefilm.
In the late 70’s,
he released his film “Telescopes” dedicated to amateur astronomy . He has published a very popular book on amateur
astronomy, the 2nd edition “Telescopes for Astronomy Lovers” was the last book on amateur astronomy published
in the USSR. It has become the most popular and cited book on amateur astronomy/telescope making in the former Soviet republics.
2006, John Dobson traveled to Novosibirsk and met with Leonid Sikoruk. It was a a great meeting between two very simliar men,
both had used the resources at hand to bring astronomy and telescopes to the public. Mr. Sikoruk has a small private observatory
near Novosibirsk and he and Mr. Dobson had an opportunity to do some observing - a very small opportunity before clouds rolled
in. It was an enjoyable meeting for both of them.
From TAL Telescopes:
In Soviet times amateurs could construct a
telescope at no cost simply by joining a local club of telescope makers, which existed in every large city. The better-equipped
groups had machine tools for fabricating mirrors and accessories. Club members routinely produced 4-and 6-inch reflectors,
and a few pursued larger apertures of up to 16 inches. Notable among these groups was "Dmitriy Maksutov," a telescope-making
club started in 1973 by Leonid Sikoruk, a film director from Novosibirsk. Its members took on challenging telescope designs
including Schmidt and Wright cameras, Dall-Kirkham and Ritchey-Chretien Cassegrains, and even a spectroheliograph. Sikoruk's
1982 book Telescopes for Amateur Astronomers remains popular to this day, and his documentary "Telescopes"
was broadcast on television throughout the Soviet Union.
In 1980 Sikoruk persuaded
the managers of a factory in Novosibirsk that produced artillery sights and rifle scopes to manufacture telescopes for amateur
astronomers, an event that marked an important milestone for the Russian telescope-making movement. Bearing the brand name
TAL, thousands of these instruments soon became widely available in shops. One or more of these found (heir way to every Russian
school, astronomical club, and planetarium. Exports of the TAL series began in 1993, and a 6-inch Newtonian model was favorably
reviewed in S&T Dec. 1997, page 57.