Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tackling a 16 " Alvan Clark and Sons Refractor

I just got back from learning to master a beautiful telescope at the Cincinnati Observatory Center.the Telescope was a 16" Alvan Clark and Sons Refracting telescope built in 1904. If you are doing the math , that makes this scope about 106 years old and it is still going strong! There were so many stories to go along with learning an old scope operation from the Pre electric drive system to the Clocks stored in the basement that send signals to a chronograph (also weight driven ) to note observations happening to the tenth of a second. This was a research telescope back in the day. This is what the Cincinnati Observatory believes is a picture of its own 16" being put together in the shops of Alvan Clark and sons. This telescope is used on a regular basis by the public here in Cincinnati. The days of using this instrument for research have passed or have they? The support group of the Observatory FOTO friends of the observatory have acquired a new camera and have started on the road to discovering exoplanets using the photometry method. Research is back in the Clark dome and feeling very at home doing it too. The Cincinnati Observatory is run pretty much by volunteers. In keeping with a promise made by the founder of this great observatory Ormsby MacKnight Mitchel , every Thursday night is free to the public. I am proud to serve as a Presenter at the COC. Using this scope and being able to share not only the richness of the night sky with folks but also regale the public with the history that is the Observatory. From Presidents laying the cornerstone to the many wonders discovered right here in these buildings The Observatory has something for everyone. The training took some 2 hours to complete and it seemed like two minutes as time flew by I was very much taken with this Scope. It has served Cincinnati well these 106 years and shall serve another 106. Until next time,

Clear skies and great seeing too!

Steve T

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