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AMAZING FULL MOON STAR PARTY!!

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#1 Lew Chilton

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 01:35 PM

Last night I attended my first full-moon star party on the front driveway of John Pons' home in North Hollywood, California. John provided the telescopes, his wife the refreshments. The guest list was impressive: Caveman and wife Debbie, Dan Mounsey of Woodland Hills Camera, my wife Carla and myself, a number of refractor friends of John and Dan, and some of his neighbors.

The real celebrities of the evening were Pons' 6-inch Goto prototype refractor, built in 1954, and his larger custom-made refractor, based on Zeiss designs, that was made to hold a number of different objective lenses (more on this later).

But first, the little star of the show was Caveman's circa 1953 Nippon Kogaku 50mm refractor on its original mount. Its performance amazed everybody! It provided color-free, ultra-sharp views of Venus. It also provided comparatively better views of Jupiter than its larger brethren because it was less sensitive to seeing conditions. The "Little Scope that Could" is a definite keeper - I wish it were mine.

Here's a picture of the "Little Scope that Could" and its owner, Caveman (aka Clint Whitman), looking thru one of the two original tack-sharp eyepieces.

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#2 Vesper818

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 01:41 PM

Isn't that something!

#3 Glassthrower

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 01:44 PM

Sweet little scope.

Bigger is not always better. :)

It reminds me of my little Tasco white tube 60mm. Although, that's like comparing a AMC Pacer to a Shelby Cobra. ;)

Regards and clear skies,

MikeG

#4 Lew Chilton

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 01:55 PM

Here's the business-end of the amazing 6-inch Goto refractor owned by John Pons. Originally built in 1954, acquired by Joe Choate of Los Angeles, CA in 1956, it was destined for the landfill when John acquired it some years ago. It was a basket case until John's magic brought it back to its former glory. Today, it appears exactly as it looked in mid-1950s Sky & Telescope advertisements.

I'll let you in on a little secret. The objective lens presently installed in the Goto is actually a prototype 6-1/4 inch clear aperture Unitron lens. The Goto objective is carefully wrapped and stored elsewhere, but can be reinstalled at any time. Both objectives are superb examples of the opticians art.

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#5 Glassthrower

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 02:01 PM

English language and CN graemlins cannot express my envy.

:drool:

:)

Awesome scope. And a great story about how it was saved from the trash heap!

#6 Lew Chilton

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 02:04 PM

Here's the Goto with its proud owner, John Pons. Of the many telescopes John owns or has owned, I get the impression that this one is his favorite.

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#7 Glassthrower

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 02:07 PM

The pier, mount, and drives are as amazing as the scope.

What workmanship and quality.

It exudes an air of days gone by when real craftsmen took pride in their work.

Amazing.

#8 Lew Chilton

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 02:20 PM

Here's the nameplate on the east side of the Goto mount.

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#9 Lew Chilton

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 02:21 PM

Here's the nameplate on the west side of the Goto mount...

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#10 Lew Chilton

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 02:26 PM

Here's the Goto objective - actually a Unitron 160mm (6.3 -inch clear aperture), 2600mm f.l. objective lens.

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#11 Lew Chilton

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 02:34 PM

The 6-inch Goto clock drive is powered by a falling weight, just like a grandfather clock. The falling weight is regulated by a ball governor, seen here in the enclosed glass case. It can truly be said that this scope has balls!

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#12 93alien

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 02:40 PM

:funny: :roflmao: :lol:

#13 JWW

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 02:41 PM

Simply amazing ...

-JWW:

#14 trainsktg

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 02:42 PM

Jon looks to be in as good a shape as his instruments. He's got to be pushing 70 if I'm not mistaken.

BTW Is it Jon or John? I've seen both spellings an equal number of times.

Keith

#15 Vesper818

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 02:54 PM

pushing 70?
Those scopes must weigh more than that!! That guy needs an observatory!

#16 clintwhitman

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 02:58 PM

Jon or John is as hyper as a person can be at 12 years old much less less at nearly 70 he amazed me. Some people say I a litter hyper he zooms past me like i am standing still

#17 JWW

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 03:32 PM

must be all the health food. <grin>

-JWW:

#18 GeneDiG

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 05:47 PM

I bet he gets that build by lugging that 'scope around! I on the other have a body sculpted by Tasco 9VR!

#19 ngc2289

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 05:52 PM

The 6-inch Goto clock drive is powered by a falling weight, just like a grandfather clock. The falling weight is regulated by a ball governor, seen here in the enclosed glass case. It can truly be said that this scope has balls!

OOOoooo....thats terrible! :vomit:

#20 trainsktg

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 07:00 PM

Aa advertisement from March 1957 Sky and Telescope, reads: This complete GOTO 6" EQUATORIAL was recently exported to the TITAN OBSERVATORY in Los Angeles.

Same one?

Keith (I'd post a pic, but I'm having trouble figuriong out how to convert TIFFs to JPEGs)

#21 Glassthrower

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 07:12 PM

Keith,

Open the image file in a program like Adobe PhotoShop or PaintShop and simply save the image as a .JPG

Should work?

#22 Lew Chilton

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 07:43 PM

Keith,

You know, I can't recall wether it's Jon or John. The next time I talk to him, I'll ask. Pons is age 66 (2 years older than me), and, unlike me, he works out daily at the gym and is very proud of his physique.

These next series of photos relate to his bigger refractor, which you can see in the following pictures. Every piece of it - except the optics - was built by a local precision machine shop to Pons' exacting specifications. You can imagine how expensive that must have been!

In this first photo, Caveman is on the right setting up his 50mm Nippon Kogagu and the Pon's big lawn cannon is to the rear. Which is the 'grab 'n' go?

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#23 Lew Chilton

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 07:49 PM

Here John is dwarfed by one of his many creations. This is probably his finest work.

For the star party, the refractor employed an 8-inch f/19 George Carroll apochromat (3 elements) objective. Absolutely superb. Too bad the seeing didn't allow it to perform to its full potential.

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#24 Lew Chilton

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 07:53 PM

Here's the other objective John uses in this refractor, a Zeiss 10-inch f/16 apochromat. This lens is over 80 years old. John built an adapter cell to accomodate either the 8-inch Carroll or the 10-inch Zeiss.

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#25 Lew Chilton

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 07:55 PM

Even the finder scope on this OTA is a Zeiss, a 3-1/2 inch semi apochromat.

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