Jump to content


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

AMAZING FULL MOON STAR PARTY!!

  • Please log in to reply
218 replies to this topic

#201 strdst

strdst

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4212
  • Joined: 23 Mar 2008
  • Loc: Oregon Territory

Posted 14 April 2012 - 05:40 PM

Lew,

Thank you so much for creating this thread and preserving the history of this wonderful scope, (as well as the wonderful owners of it). I hope the new owners will use this venue, this thread, to continue posting.

Steve,

I knew it was coming, the changing of the guard. Sorry. Are YOU staying in SoCal? There are at least two Goto Kogaku scopes in Oregon, My 3" and your old 2.4" now owned by that other, other Keith north of me. :) That almost adds up to 6", you know, if you have to relocate...

other keith

Attached Files


  • terraclarke likes this

#202 Steve_M_M

Steve_M_M

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2529
  • Joined: 09 Jun 2004
  • Loc: Springfield, IL

Posted 14 April 2012 - 06:14 PM

I still have a 60mm, so there, now we are over 6". Oregon here I come!

Attached Files


  • terraclarke likes this

#203 Rich (RLTYS)

Rich (RLTYS)

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 5897
  • Joined: 18 Dec 2004
  • Loc: New York (Long Island)

Posted 15 April 2012 - 07:37 AM

That is one BEAUTIFUL scope. :bow: :bow:

Rich (RLTYS)

#204 Perseus_m45

Perseus_m45

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 723
  • Joined: 16 Jul 2011
  • Loc: Pennsyltucky

Posted 08 November 2014 - 12:28 PM

Those are simply beautiful.

mike h



#205 Balok

Balok

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 361
  • Joined: 18 May 2009
  • Loc: Alberta

Posted 09 March 2015 - 02:01 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.

 

Great pictures and a fantastic story behind them.

 

Those wheels give it a magical effect to the eye.

 

It's the stuff of all kids' dreams.



#206 Masvingo

Masvingo

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 970
  • Joined: 10 Jan 2012
  • Loc: Ayrshire, Scotland

Posted 09 March 2015 - 02:47 PM

Fantastic story! Absolutely amzazing!

 

What astounds me is the thought that an instrument like the Choate Goto or the Wilmington Cave can just effectively be abandoned.  Makes you wonder what else is out there?    :watching:



#207 Steve_M_M

Steve_M_M

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2529
  • Joined: 09 Jun 2004
  • Loc: Springfield, IL

Posted 10 March 2015 - 03:30 PM

There was also so much great history behind the Choate telescope to make it an even better story.  It actually appears as though the telescope was abandoned within 5 years after delivery.  Crazy, huh? 


Edited by Steve_M_M, 10 March 2015 - 03:31 PM.


#208 mikey cee

mikey cee

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 8876
  • Joined: 18 Jan 2007
  • Loc: bellevue ne.

Posted 10 March 2015 - 05:14 PM

Steve is there a current link to a site currently having possession of the Choate?? :confused:   Mike



#209 Masvingo

Masvingo

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 970
  • Joined: 10 Jan 2012
  • Loc: Ayrshire, Scotland

Posted 10 March 2015 - 05:41 PM

There was also so much great history behind the Choate telescope to make it an even better story.  It actually appears as though the telescope was abandoned within 5 years after delivery.  Crazy, huh?


Good grief! 5 years! I can't imagine how anyone could abandon a setup like that, let alone in 5 years! And to think how close it came to being scrap!

#210 Steve_M_M

Steve_M_M

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2529
  • Joined: 09 Jun 2004
  • Loc: Springfield, IL

Posted 10 March 2015 - 07:59 PM

Steve is there a current link to a site currently having possession of the Choate?? :confused:   Mike

Mike, the awakening of this thread prompted me to contact the owner.  I will post what I hear.



#211 Steve_M_M

Steve_M_M

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2529
  • Joined: 09 Jun 2004
  • Loc: Springfield, IL

Posted 13 March 2015 - 06:30 PM

Did not hear back yet.  John Briggs bought it if anyone knows him personally to check on the scope.


  • rootsabove likes this

#212 clintwhitman

clintwhitman

    Caveman

  • *****
  • Posts: 5841
  • Joined: 01 Jan 2007
  • Loc: CALI SoEasyACavemanCanSlewIt

Posted 25 March 2015 - 12:43 PM

Sent a message off to the Wheelers about the other 6" GOTO,,,,, WAITING ....


  • tim53 and terraclarke like this

#213 terraclarke

terraclarke

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6928
  • Joined: 29 May 2012
  • Loc: Kentucky

Posted 21 May 2015 - 04:24 PM

Wow! I just read this entire thread for the first time this afternoon. All I can say is that I was enthralled in reading of the Goto's procurement in Japan and its journey to Beverly Hills to be basically the educational amusement of the young son of an old California dynasty. Then there was the initial 'find' some fifty years later, after the family's stately home had become a dilapidated shadow of its former self, almost like Norma Desmond's decaying mansion in Sunset Boulevard- simply amazing. And then I was a little astonished at the now reclaimed Goto's first change of hands when it left John Pons to become the property of Mr. Miller. Finally I was utterly astonished when, by a curious turn of events, the scope left California entirely and wound up sequesterd in the high Rocky Mountains!

What a whirlwind! Oh well! I have learned in life that all things have their reasons and also that things generally work out for the best, so I will just trust in that and admire the parts the principal players had in this interesting astronomical drama. I feel almost as if I had spent the last two hours watching a really good movie. I had the house to myself this afternoon, and I made myself a fresh pot of coffee, sat down on the couch with iPad in hand, and had myself a really good read. This is definitely the best thread that I have ever read here on CN. Lew, your pictures and yours and Clint's narrative really made it. My hat is off to you both, along with John Pons, Steve Miller and every one else who participated in this amazing adventure and added their own words and pictures to the story. This was just so darned interesting. Thank you all.

Edited by terraclarke, 21 May 2015 - 04:26 PM.

  • Steve_M_M, Vesper818, Richard Whalen and 1 other like this

#214 Richard Whalen

Richard Whalen

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 502
  • Joined: 24 Sep 2007
  • Loc: Florida

Posted 19 June 2015 - 08:40 PM

Wow, what a story! I wonder if Pons still has the 10"? Or did it sell?


  • Steve_M_M likes this

#215 Steve_M_M

Steve_M_M

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2529
  • Joined: 09 Jun 2004
  • Loc: Springfield, IL

Posted 19 June 2015 - 11:37 PM

I wrote this little story about the telescope and observatory.  The document is attached to my post from April 2012, but I cleaned it up a bit and added a few comments here.  I did not talk about it much back in 2012, but I was losing my job and knew that I would be moving.  So, although I never posted the telescope for sale, when a buyer showed up one day, I made the regrettable decision to sell the telescope.  I really wish I had not.  It is very sad even writing this tonight.  Now, three years have passed and the telescope and it's history seem to have lost contact with me.  Well, here is the story....

 

Titan Observatory

 

In April 1956, the Choate family traveled to Japan to finalize the purchase of the Goto Kogaku 15cm Refractor.  A copy of the actual Northwest Airlines manifest is included with the telescope as a piece of this history.  One must wonder how a young boy of just 16 years old must have felt flying overseas to purchase this large and gorgeous telescope.  Rumor has it the deal was finalized, possibly with the assistance of General MacArthur, a family friend who was living in Tokyo at the time.

 

A few months later, the telescope showed up at the Choate mansion in Los Angeles in 12 wooden crates.  It is from here that the telescope was assembled and the Titan Observatory was born.  A beautiful mahogany wood door lead the owner and guest into the starry night sky of the observatory.   The original door is forever with the telescope.  The included installation manual shows the complex nature of assembling such a large observatory telescope.  Goto flew several technicians to the Choate home to assist in a week long assembly.

 

Joseph was undoubtedly very proud of his telescope.  He actually wrote a book report on the telescope which is kept with the telescope. I am sure the telescope was also the talk of the neighborhood.  It certainly was the talk of the town.  The telescope was pictured prominently in Sky & Telescope magazine in a full page ads.  The telescope also had articles written about it and young Choate in the Los Angeles Times and other local newspapers.  Original prints of all this material is kept with the telescope.  Even long after the Titan Observatory was gone, Goto Kogaku featured the telescope in their 75th anniversary book that was given to a limited 100 dignitaries at the Goto 75th anniversary party. I was given a copy of this rare book.  I acquired original velum drawings for the Goto Kogaku display at the worlds fair in 1930 and was able to get these to Goto who sent myself and a friend one of the last copies of the 75th Anniversary book as a thank you gift.

 

One of the most famous of Jospeh Choates friends was Jon Pons.  Jon spent many nights with the Choate family viewing through the telescope , he too a young boy.  Today, Jon is known as a master telescope maker, optician, and astronomical genius.  Jon was also the master optician for the Griffith Observatory and their giant Zeiss refractor.  Jon plays prominently in the future of the telescope.  He can be seen with the Griffith Zeiss in a photo I kept with the telescope.

 

Jospeh Choate went on to be a prominent lawyer in Los Angeles.  A picture of him later in life is also kept with the telescope.

 

Titan Observatory 1961-2001

 

Unfortunately, the Titan Observatory fell into disrepair during the next 40+ years.  The telescope itself was uncared for during this time.  In 2001, the Choate mansion was set to be demolished.  The contractors contacted the Griffith Observatory to see if they would like to come over and get the telescope.  They did not have any space for storage.  Jon Pons was working at the observatory and as luck would have it, found out about the telescope.  He and a few friends went over to the Choate mansion and hastily disassembled the telescope and removed it from the house.  The iron base weighs about 600lbs and Jon told me they actually dropped in down the stairs.  Upon close inspection, you can actually see this part of the telescope history as a small  indentation in the lower base.  All in all, I suspect the stairs sustained most of the impact!

 

Pictures of the telescope being removed from the home are again kept with the telescope.  The condition appeared poor, but really just needed TLC.  The telescope was restorable without even having to repaint it!

 

Goto Kogaku 15cm Telescope-Jon Pons 2001-2006

 

Over the next 5 years Jon Pons took to restoring the telescope.  For Jon, this was about getting the telescope back to mechanical and optical operation.  One of the biggest challenges was to restore the very rare weight driven clock drive.  Though meticulous attention to detail, Jon not only got it working, he restored it to original beauty.

During the later part of the restoration Jon built a rolling platform and rolled the Goto out of his garage where he kept it, onto the driveway outside his home in Van Nuys.  I first became aware of the telescope when a post was made on CloudyNight's titled Full Moon Star Party.  This post can be seen here

 

http://www.cloudynig.../fpart/all/vc/1

and is still one of the most viewed posts in the Classic Forum of CN and is one of the most viewed on the entire website about a single telescope.

 

2006-Present

 

In 2006 Steve Miller purchased the Goto Kogaku Refractor.  It was extremely hard for Jon Pons to part with the telescope.  He had known it since he was a boy and had become very attached to it.  There a quite a long story about the purchase that can only be told under a star lit night sky with several hours of free time to kill.  One thing for sure, this purchase would not have occurred without the assistance of Clint Whitman (Caveman).  At the time of my purchase, the telescope was operational, but still in poor cosmetic condition.  I decided to fully restore the telescope.

 

I contacted what was now called Goto Optical in Japan.   They were very happy to learn the telescope still existed today.  They scoured their record book and provided me with the installation manual, instruction manual, and operation manual. I also spoke to some of the long time employees who worked at Goto.  Translation was done by a nice lady at Goto.  My questions to these employees were based around the different types of plating used on the telescope and other restorations I was to perform.  The current condition left no indication of what used to be. 

 

After obtaining the information, I took most of the parts over to a well respected plating company.  The owner and I sat down for several hours discussing how each part was to be stripped, polished, and plated.  Because of the exact tolerance of the parts, even the thickness of the plating came into play.  One of the most exciting parts of the restoration was that the original paint was in fantastic condition.  No repainting necessary!  Photos of the restoration can be seen here…

 

http://www.cloudynig.../fpart/all/vc/1

 

The Telescope Today

 

During my ownership, the Goto telescope made several public appearance at my home and at Mt Pinos in CA.  I can remember one of the first years at CSPAMP where the parking lot was full, people were walking for what seemed like miles up the road, and the line at the telescope was 20-30 deep.  The telescope thrilled kids during the 4th of July and Halloween each year.  Neighbors came to understand what a start party was :)

 

I have several photos of the telescope today.  As everyone has said, the telescope presents itself well in photos, but in person is absolutely amazing.  Through contacts at Goto Opitcal and other Goto collectors in Japan, I have acquired a huge collection of Goto history that is available if wanted.

 

Choate Family-Original Owners

 

The telescope was originally purchased for young Jospeh Choate (b1940-d2010) by his father Joseph Choate  Sr. (b1900-d1998).  The Choates come from a very famous and wealthy family.  A bit of history is in order to understand the significance of the Choate family as original owners.

 

Joseph Choate Jr-Born 1940, d 2010. 

Went to Culter academy High School.  Joseph’s diploma was left behind at the home and is included with the telescope. 
I also have a picture of Joseph when he was about 2 yrs old that is with the telescope.   After graduation, Joseph went on to law school and then became a named partner in the firm Choate & Choate in Los Angeles.

 

Father Joseph Choate Sr.-Born 1900, Died 1998. 

 
District Attorney 1927-1934. 

He was a good friend of Douglas MacArthur and Chairman of the MacArthur presidential committee in 1947. 
Included as memorabilia with the telescope is a photograph of General MacArthur that is signed and says “To Joseph Choate with cordial regard of an old friend, Douglas MacArthur, Tokyo 1949.” Highly collectible in itself.

 

Grand Father Joseph Hodges Choate Jr-Born 1876, Died 1968.

http://en.wikipedia....h_H._Choate,_Jr.
Chaired the Voluntary Committee of Lawyers, a group established in 1927 that promoted the repeal of prohibition. Upon repeal in 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt named Choate the first head of the Federal Alcohol Control Administration (FACA).

 

Great Grand Father Joseph H Choate-Born 1/1832, Died 5/1917

http://en.wikipedia....h_Hodges_Choate http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naumkeag
http://www.answers.c...h-hodges-choate

 

Great Great Grandfather George Choate-Father of Joseph H Choate, born about 1800’s

 

GGG Father R.M. Hodges-Father to George Choate, born about 1780’s

History of Joseph R.M Hodges

 

Choate Family immigrates from England 1643

http://en.wikipedia....ki/Rufus_Choate

 

Choate House still exists today

http://en.wikipedia....(Massachusetts)


Edited by Steve_M_M, 20 June 2015 - 12:11 AM.

  • photiost, Chuck Hards, terraclarke and 1 other like this

#216 Chuck Hards

Chuck Hards

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 8839
  • Joined: 03 May 2010
  • Loc: The Great Basin

Posted 20 June 2015 - 11:56 AM

Wonderful story and timeline, Steve, thanks for posting it, and thanks for preserving history.



#217 rcwolpert

rcwolpert

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1079
  • Joined: 13 Aug 2012
  • Loc: San Jose, CA

Posted 21 June 2015 - 10:36 PM

What an amazing thread. Like Terra, I also just read it for the first time - totally fascinating!

 

- Bob



#218 terraclarke

terraclarke

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6928
  • Joined: 29 May 2012
  • Loc: Kentucky

Posted 22 June 2015 - 07:17 AM

Steve, thank you for your updated note and timeline. As you state, "the present" in your most recently posted note (20 June 2015) only goes up to the point where the Goto passed from your hands. You mention lots and lots of memorabilia that is "with the telescope" including rare documents, signed photographs, and even the original observatory door. Did all of that material stay with the telescope? Do you or does anyone else in the forum know the condition of the scope and the associated collection today? I so hope that it is all still being both preserved and used; the recent/current owners following the excellent example that you set during the tenure of your stewartship of this magnificant instrument. What an amazing tale! One which I hope continues for a long time to come.

#219 Steve_M_M

Steve_M_M

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2529
  • Joined: 09 Jun 2004
  • Loc: Springfield, IL

Posted 22 June 2015 - 08:01 PM

Terra,

 

Yes, all of that stayed with the telescope.  

 

I did just find the telescope listed here,,,,, http://hutobservator...cal-collection/


  • terraclarke likes this


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.



Recent Reviews


Imaging/Sketching Contest






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics