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Found in field: Astrola Cave 12 1/2" f/6 (I think)

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#926 clintwhitman

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 04:39 AM

Ya I liked the story of the HTC Telescope and restoration. Much more interesting to me. As far as Warren It is not fair to point fingers at dead guys, plus once we die, we really have to face the man in the glass!! One of these years I will get out to your place Dan and we will have a 9 night under the stars with Warren and Manards glass!

PS. If I die and someone says I did some dastardly deed, Please tell them I was a harmless (aveman
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#927 terraclarke

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 10:04 AM

Wow! Interesting. I overlooked the links to Warren Estes in the previous posts. I was living in Southern California and was a graduate student at University of California at Riverside at approximately that time. Here is a link of a thread that includes a creepy newspaper clipping about Estes published in Dec. 1977, as well as a discussion of a current book which links him to the Zodiac killings and which I assume would be the book you mention.

There are also a number of astronomical/telescope pictures of Estes and other RAS folks of the time including mention of the famous southern Calif. ATMer H. Page Bailey. I found your post (included in that thread) most interesting Dan.

http://zodiackiller....ere#.U2UDWie...

You might well have a telescope with both a famous and infamous history!

#928 tim53

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 11:39 AM

I guess I'm going to continue to be the skeptic here. I didn't know Estes, he died around the time I first attended RTMC. But he seemed to be well-regarded by other members of the RAS, and the Warren Estes Award is still given at RTMC.

So, I'm reading the posts on the link Terra posted above. I'm not all the way through, but the first thing that raised a yellow flag for me is that The Astronomical Society of the Pacific meets at events like RTMC, so if Estes was an active member, he wouldn't need to travel to SF to meet with other ASP members.

Second yellow flag. Do any living Sidewalk Astronomers remember Estes being in San Francisco when one of the murders nearby was supposed to have happened?

-Tim.

#929 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 12:45 PM

I'm with Dan and (aveman, and doubtless many others. Discussion of the book belongs elsewhere, perhaps in the Off-Topic Forum. This thread has always been, for me, the finest example of what The Cloudy Nights Classic Forum is about. It would be a shame if it degenerated into the thread about the scope formerly owned by a presumed, but unproven, murderer.

Dan has given us quite a gift in this thread. The result speaks for itself. This is surely among the great restorations of all time. It began in a communal spirit not of fighting to be the one to buy the scope, but of determining who among many capable members ought to be entrusted to its repair. Dan was honored in being chosen, and obligingly and painstakingly returned the favor by posting every detail of his progress for all of us to see.

What do we want this thread to be about, speculation that maybe some random author has out-guessed the police, or the resurrection of a Cave Astrola? A cheap tabloid thrill, or an inspiration to those who love classic telescopes? Clearly, Dan put many hours into restoring the Cave, but also many into documenting his work through this thread. He asked that we not spray paint his wall with off-topic graffiti. Let's respect that.
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#930 Bomber Bob

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 01:09 PM

This is surely among the great restorations of all time.

True! Although... Turk's Unitron 5" rebuild is my personal favorite.

In my archive, I have this thread titled - Cave Astrola 12 REMARKABLE Restoration!. To me, that's the best part of the story!

#931 Datapanic

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 01:42 PM

The author was very helpful with the provenance of the scope. Not only did she point me to the wealth of information found in the RAS Newsletters DVD archive, but she also figured out who McGrath was. Once I acquired my copy of the DVD, I was able to piece together quite a bit of stuff...

Nellie McGrath joined RAS around August, 1967 and was about 17 or 18 years old. The McGraths lived about 2 blocks away from the Estes home on the same street in Riverside. Back then, RAS members ground a lot of glass and Harold Kaiser had a mirror grinding machine capable of grinding mirrors up to 24". It would be feasible that the McGrath mirror was made on that machine, with "McGrath" engraved on the side to identify who was making it - there was probably more than one mirror being made at any given time.

Nellie McGrath went on to attend Los Angeles County Medical Center School of Nursing in LA in 1971. She may have never finished the mirror and it could have sat in Harold Kaiser's shop or...

Cliff Holmes, who was president of RAS for many years, had owned a few 12.5" scopes. Throughout the 60's and 70's, he occasionally listed 12", 12.5" f/7 and 12.5" f/8 scopes for sale in the RAS newsletter. He and Warren Estes met around 1964 and were friends, and I would speculate that Warren Estes got this scope from him sometime around 1976 when Holmes listed a 12.5" for sale in the newsletter. Warren Estes widow remembers the scope and they met New Years Eve, 1976. Cliff Holmes aquired a 12.5" Cave in 1970, but since the Horsetrail Cave (HTC) is older than that, I think he may have got it from Harold Kaiser - there are pictures of Harold Kaiser and friends with a 12.5" Cave with a mount that looks a lot like the HTC mount but mounted on a pier. The mount is not the observatory sized mount, but the transportable size.

There's no telling where Harold Kaiser got the 12.5" Cave, but it's quite possible he was the original owner as the time period fits in and that scope looks a lot like the HTC scope and it would have been kept within the group at RAS. I think there also was a lot of part swapping going on back then and my theory goes is that the McGrath mirror was finished up by Kaiser, or someone, possible Holmes who used Kaiser's mirror making machine, and then replaced the original Cave mirror (if there was one) that was in the HTC.

So that's the theory, anyway, about the HTC and the McGrath mirror.

When Warren Estes died, the widow moved out, she did not get along well with Warren Estes' mother and the father had already passed away. Cliff Holmes and John Parks helped with clearing out Estes stuff and the mother went on to live somewhere else. From that point, I have no more history of the HTC, it was at the Estes home when he died, but who knows where it has been since then and when it was found dumped in a field?

There's no doubt that Warren Estes owned the HTC and it's only speculation about its history before he got it. Maybe more will come out some day. I've done about all the research I can and had a lot of help from Marianne, the book's author. Is the story over? I don't think so, and who is going to take it after me? At least some of its history is documented here :)
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#932 photiost

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 05:29 PM


Spectacular job !!

Kudos.

#933 Datapanic

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 05:33 PM

For a few days, I had a lot a thought about apfever's dilemma of not finding a serial number on the mirror of his recently acquired 10" observatory model... 

 

So, since the mirror has been out of the Horsetrail Cave while my machinist dude makes copies of Novak Tube Weights and Brackets, I decided to take a look, again.  Recall originally, all that was on the mirror was "Mc Grath" on the side, then two or three years later, there was "Warren Estes".  Well, I removed the mirror from the cell and laid it on a table with the late afternoon Sun hitting it just right.  And all the sudden, there is was!

 

M#1937 Cropped.jpg

 

The picture went through some serious Photoshopping to bring out what you see above.  Visually, it was very very difficult to see - I had the Sun to my back and noticed it in less than a minute.  When I saw it, I ran back into my house and grabbed my camera for this picture, but I had to look again to see it - I knew where the engraving was, but it was that hard to see it!

 

 

It says:

 

M# 1937

Made by

Cave Optical Co.

93 1/2" FL - F/7.5

July, 61

 

This is sooo cool!  The Warren Estes signature was such a great find and now this!

 

The Horsetrail Cave is a Cave!


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#934 PiSigma

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 05:39 PM

That is just incredible Dan! This shows just how hard it can be to find the engravings from this particular time in Cave's history.


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#935 turk123

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 05:52 PM

Spectacular Dan! It had to be there.
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#936 Live_Steam_Mad

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 08:18 PM

Did you Star Test this original Cave mirror? I wonder if it was ever refigured and if there is any way of knowing this? What is the Star Test like?

 

I would also be interested to know what a Ronchi test of it is like, you can of course try the 133LPI EasyTester on it and see how straight the bands are with 3 to 4 bands showing.

 

With excellent optics the view of planets must be spectacular with loads of detail on Jupiter with it's small central obstruction. What's it like at holding collimation at say 700x magnification on stars? What is the coma like with it in eyepieces such as Nagler etc? What are the tube currents and cool down like?

 

I would like to try a 12" Newtonian someday but it would have to be F4 or something (which would then weigh 14 Kg for the OTA and be around 4 feet long, the only way I could cope with it and lift such a thing and be able to reach the eyepiece at Zenith). I'd have to upgrade my CG5 mount to a CGEM to cope with even a 12" F4...

 

I have to say I like the looks of it very much, the dark paint with light flecks in is very attractive. A noble instrument!

 

Best Regards,

 

Alistair G.


Edited by Live_Steam_Mad, 07 December 2015 - 08:19 PM.


#937 Datapanic

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Posted 09 December 2015 - 09:01 PM

I had asked to have it bench-tested with WaveFront when it was recoated, but the place didn't have time to do it or their bench was not long enough to test it.  Anyway, it gives good views when the seeing here in Tucson cooperates.  Tube currents are controlled with a reversible variable speed fan which makes a big difference when viewing or imaging. 

 

I haven't used it for high magnification - don't even own a Nagler!  I really don't do visual with it, mainly because my vision is shot due to retina problems.  Even in my good eye, the Moon looks like the Star Wars Death Star with a piece of it cut out!  But it is fun to use with a web-cam and my dual-axis drive control.  I use a Bahtinov focuser to know for sure that the thing is focused when imaging.

 

It is big and heavy, but I store it in the garage and it takes about 30 minutes to roll it out and set it up.  Even an f/4 newtonian with that era's full sized glass primary is going to weigh in - an extra 3 or 4 feet of tube doesn't add that much weight.  I suppose a thinner mirror might help, but then, that would not be a Classic, which this thing certainly is :) 

 

I'm doing another project right now and when that's done, I plan on reaming out the focuser hole so that a 2" Novak supershort focuser can be installed to allow DSLR imaging.  The current focuser, vintage, doesn't have the infocus to use a DSLR camera for prime focus.  I kinda wish I had made the hole a little bigger when I was doing the tube, it would have been easy to make it the 1/8" larger diameter that I need now, then. 



#938 badback

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Posted 10 December 2015 - 05:29 PM

Many years ago during my heavy drinking days, on two occasions, during a totally overcast night, in freezing raining weather and using my super rare magically coated Cave 50mm eyepiece, I discovered that the Star Wars Death Star is hidden inside our very own moon? I was afraid to say anything or share this evidence until now but...The Strategic Defense Initiative is real, active and waiting, waiting, waiting...

 

In all seriousness if you do enlarge the focuser hole may I suggest a tool called a Sheet Metal Nibbling Tool?

Back in the good back days I used em' when installing stereo's in my vehicles.10 to 30 bucks or so. They would work very well for this.

Attached Thumbnails

  • moon deathstar1.jpg

Edited by badback, 10 December 2015 - 05:31 PM.

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#939 Datapanic

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Posted 13 December 2015 - 10:07 PM

I might try a nibbler tool, but I really want a nice clean cut hole - even though the cut isn't visible with the focuser attached.  If the tool can give a nice uniform cut and maybe just a little bit of filing to smooth things out, then maybe it'll be okay, and it sure beats taking the tube off the mount, removing the optics, putting the tube in the back of my truck and hauling it to the machinist's to do the job.  We'll see.

 

My vision problems aren't like your pics - it's more like a round section cut out off the edge of the moon, about the same size as the dimple in your pics.  And, straight lines are wavy, which means everything I look at is not straight.  Like telephone poles, centerline markings on the roads, etc.  The good news is that it seems to be getting better in the bad eye.  I guess it's just part of gettin' on in the years, I just live with it and I'm glad things aren't worse than they could be! 



#940 Datapanic

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Posted 29 December 2015 - 09:41 PM

It's sorta hard to believe that this thread about this one scope has passed 60,000 views!  That's a lot!  I'm humbled, and thanks Rich and your wife are where this odyssey began! 

 

Things are coming up in 2016 that relate to this scope - The University Of Arizona, where I work, is hosting a History of the Lunar and Planetary Lab and Cave Optical Co, Mr. Herring and Mr. Estes all had relationships to LPL back in the 60's.  I may loan out the scope for this upcoming event for static display.  Probably around the end of June when the monsoon comes around for a few months and every night almost is cloudy.  What do you think?  The scope would be safe and people would be able to look at something not seen every day...


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#941 Geo31

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 07:25 AM

It's sorta hard to believe that this thread about this one scope has passed 60,000 views!  That's a lot!  I'm humbled, and thanks Rich and your wife are where this odyssey began! 

 

Things are coming up in 2016 that relate to this scope - The University Of Arizona, where I work, is hosting a History of the Lunar and Planetary Lab and Cave Optical Co, Mr. Herring and Mr. Estes all had relationships to LPL back in the 60's.  I may loan out the scope for this upcoming event for static display.  Probably around the end of June when the monsoon comes around for a few months and every night almost is cloudy.  What do you think?  The scope would be safe and people would be able to look at something not seen every day...

 

Dan, when will this take place?  Trudy and I are tentatively planning another trip to Tucson in 2016, but dates aren't set yet.




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