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Boller & Chivens

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#26 petrogeoman

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 08:15 PM

But B&Cs have an odd place in the world. Not enough of them to attract the scrap metal industry...

It doesn't matter whether the scope is for outreach or research...

As for B&C optics... You get diffraction limited or better. But they're not going to clean the clock of a zambuto or vice versa.

Purists will especially object to the HUGE secondary obstruction...

It's basically a huge motorized can that moves the secondary in and out to achieve focus. There are buttons on the rear for that...

The B&C OTAs add considerable thermal mass to the tube. I did not see any fans.... My guess is that the secondary assembly must weigh 20 lbs or so, and it is held up by a hefty spider...

I know we measured the CO but I forget the exact dimensions, I think it was at 40% or more not counting the supports...

I'm not sure the sentimentality is warranted...

The problem here is that the research institutions don't want that aperture...

When I put in my week of time researching ways to make the B&C more usable...


Your criticisms above about large CO, secondary motor, heavy secondary assembly, etc... basically apply to about 90% of the world's reflecting telescope assets that were installed prior to ~1985. Yep, points taken. Mt. Palomar, Mt. Wilson, etc... all have the same or similar issues.

A B&C isn't an amateur scope and never was intended to be. Why are we comparing apples and oranges? B&C produced large-diameter primaries (even by today's standards) for professional observatories and universities. The B&C establishment had a business model (and facility) completely different in staffing and scale than those of today's premium opticians who fill a single niche in the amateur market. Quality mirror making wasn't invented when Carl Z and John H were born. Seriously. (And optical quality isn't a matter of making sure something's in collimation or not. Don't know why this even was raised.)

Regarding 16" aperture sizes, there actually were a number of observatories doing real science of the era with these. Also a number of universities/colleges with C-14s as their primary instruments in the '70s.

Regarding the periodic error issue, like I said, I'd be indifferent between an AP or Paramount or a B&C or Ealing. In fact, we have an Ealing mount we obtained from a local university on which we have C-14 and some other instruments. The PE on that Ealing is low and smooth at +/-3 arc secs. Some mods had to be made to do autoguiding, but it's not hard to do the wiring. Fabricating an accurate RA gear isn't rocket science. It's a cost issue. CCDs were around for decades before they hit the amateur market in large professional observatories, and PE was an issue for professionals before it was for amateurs. These older mounts can be quite good. PE also is a real issue with spectroscopy as the slits can be quite narrow and exposure times are long.

No sentimentality here, but when someone says "Not enough of them to attract the scrap metal industry" there's an inherent bias or something else going on.

My perspective is that if an individual or group was able to obtain an old B&C it's well worth the time and effort to get it housed and kept running. The one at NASM is a great case in point. But it did take more than "a week of time researching" and work to get it installed.

#27 dougspeterson

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 02:33 PM

B&C was absorbed by Perkin-Elmer, and I worked at the Advanced Optics Operations in Garden Grove, Ca. I was told that the customers were academia used to a lot of freebies and high maintenance that made the business very difficult. PE essentially abandoned the market to focus on military high tech which was much more profitable at the time. By the way, one of the Mogey brothers still worked there as of the late '80s. I would see him occasionally in the hallway. Came to work every day even though he was in his 90s.

#28 petrogeoman

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 06:43 PM

For those who might be interested, some photos from solar observing with the NASM 16" B&C today. Here's the Ash dome located on the museum's east terrace. (The McD's atrium is to the left but not visible). The American Indian museum is the building behind the dome (across 4th Street).

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  • 4899450-NASM dome.jpg


#29 petrogeoman

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 06:44 PM

Inside the dome...

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  • 4899453-B&C16a.jpg


#30 petrogeoman

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 06:45 PM

Another shot...

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#31 petrogeoman

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 06:47 PM

Final photo. Beautiful scope.

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#32 Ira

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 03:21 PM

The 40" Boller and Chivens of Tel Aviv University, called the Wise Telescope and Observatory, was installed in 1971 and is still in active use every night doing cutting edge research into such areas as exoplanet discovery. It is in Mitzpe Ramon, Israel, a small development town in the middle of the desert where I live and give star tours frequently with my 4" refractor. My observing location is a wind-swept plateau overlooking Ramon Crater, about 1 kilometer down from the observatory, which can be seen in the moonlight from where I set up my equipment. The telescope has been retrofitted with remote computer operation as well as state-of-the-art digital imaging systems.

You can see photos of the telescope and the old control panels here, when I photographed the staff cleaning the 40" mirror.

/Ira

#33 tim53

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 04:05 PM

Beautiful telescope!

I think the thing I liked most about them was the torque tube mount. It was so completely out of the way when I was at the guiding eyepiece (in the days of photomultiplier tubes and film spectral observations!).

-Tim

#34 gustymars

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 05:58 PM

This one is a goner. 24" f/75 Cass formerly Mauna Kea UH24. Took these in November 1990.

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#35 Ira

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 06:00 PM

C14 guide scope?

/Ira

#36 John Jarosz

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 06:20 PM

Thanks for posting the photos of cleaning the mirror. Very enlightening.

Good to see that scope being used. For research !!!!!

John

#37 tim53

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 06:22 PM

Wow, Jeff: I didn't realize that was a B&C scope! Does the scope still exist in some form in storage, say?

I've got a plot south of Milford Utah that they'd be more than welcome to set it up on, if it's still around and just looking for a home!

Tim's retirement observatory thread

:praying:

-tim.

#38 petrogeoman

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 07:36 PM

You can see photos of the telescope and the old control panels here, when I photographed the staff cleaning the 40" mirror.

/Ira


Thanks very much for sharing this link. One word: Wow!

#39 petrogeoman

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 07:40 PM

This one is a goner. 24" f/75 Cass formerly Mauna Kea UH24. Took these in November 1990.


That's a long focal length Cass. Love the C-14 guidescope. It would have been fun to have seen that up close in person. Thanks for posting!

#40 gustymars

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 06:26 AM

Wow, Jeff: I didn't realize that was a B&C scope! Does the scope still exist in some form in storage, say?

I've got a plot south of Milford Utah that they'd be more than welcome to set it up on, if it's still around and just looking for a home!

Tim's retirement observatory thread

:praying:

-tim.


No, it was taken down and replaced with that huge 8.1m Gemini (http://www.gemini.ed...nd-sites/optics) . The UH24 was installed in 1968 I think and was used by the UH and Lowell Obs, International Planetary Patrol until 1992. Not sure where it is, but I think it is in storage somewhere on the big island.

The C14 was attached for an experiment of some kind and had some electronics on the back of it. The only "guide" scope was a 3-inch Clarke brass refractor.

#41 Ira

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 10:49 AM

What happened to the Clarke refractor? Wouldn't mind having that if I can't have the Big Guy! :)

/Ira

#42 alocky

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 07:25 AM

There's a 24" B&C in current use doing photometry and supernova searching at the Perth Observatory in Western Australia: Here's a link to the observatory website with a virtual tour of the 24"
http://www.perthobse...tour_lowell.htm

#43 gustymars

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 03:50 PM

The one I used on Mauna Kea had two seconfary systems; an f/13.3 and f/75. It looks like the one at Perth.

#44 PhilCo126

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 03:23 PM

I'm searching an optical design drawing of the Boller & Chivens 24 inch ( 0.61 m ) telescoop to get an idea of the mirror configuration of this classical cassegrain reflector...

#45 tcmzodiac

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 04:21 PM

I checked out a 24" B&C a few days (nights) ago. It was installed in 1973. It had the usual B&C finder, and a 6" really long FL guide scope.

This fine scope was the epitome of what's been mentioned in this thread....very poorly situated, not maintained...very sad.

Man, was the collimation OFF................

BTW the same facility had a "spare" RC Systems 16" with Paramount sitting uncovered in a room. Oh, the dust on that primary............

#46 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 11:23 AM

Fascinating thread. I read the economic and practical problems of restoring and maintaining these scopes as practical observations. No one is saying they should be destroyed, but rather that economic forces work against them. Some may yet be saved by amateurs with cranes and flatbed trucks. Trouble is, not every club has skilled ATMers with such equipment, nor would they necessarily be chartered and endowed to endure and recruit active members on into eternity.

One saves such scopes for the same reason one conserves great artwork. It is an aesthetic and historical decision, with occasional benefits to science or public outreach. I fear, though, that the observations that today's cheap, portable 16" under dark skies outclasses these landmarks for the use now intended, visual observation, is painfully compelling. Neither I nor the author are saying we like things this way, just that they are this way in too many cases.

Personally, I'd like to save all great old scopes!

#47 tim53

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 01:32 PM

I disagree. Visual Schmisual! These instruments were built for research, and there are many amateur astronomers conducting research with their instruments. A permanently-mounted 24" RC with a stable mount and accurate drive could do a lot that a cheap, portable 16" couldn't, because so much time would be wasted moving it around and setting it up.

-Tim.

#48 tim53

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 01:33 PM

Should have compared 16" to 16", not 24" to 16".

-Tim.

#49 tcmzodiac

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 01:56 PM

The B&C I checked out IS still in use for some gamma ray burst research, as well as for public and student Astro 101. Could they please cap the tubes when not in use?

#50 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 02:59 PM

Ya wanna see through a Boller and Chivens?

The astronomy clubs of Maine are planning a trip to observe with a Boller and Chivens next summer! When I started reading this thread, I only knew it was a big glass research telescope. I learned its provenance by following links from this thread.

Nothing exclusive here, folks. Ya wanna come? Join us! Don't even need to be a Mainer. We'll be driving through New Hampshire and Vermont on the way to Canada, and are just as happy if you fly up from Flagstaff.

In the summer, Mount Megantic replaces the camera with an ocular from the Boller and Chivens for just a few nights, and invites the public for a star party. We are hoping to gather a large enough group for the docent to lecture in English, rather than the usual French, but we will be going either way.

Private message me if you are interested in attending.


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