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

Boller & Chivens

  • Please log in to reply
78 replies to this topic

#51 pbealo

pbealo

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 994
  • Joined: 12 Oct 2006
  • Loc: New Hampshire

Posted 21 February 2012 - 03:52 PM

Joe,

When are those open days at Megantic?? We camp every summer just outside of Jackman Me. and I believe that's only 50 or 60 miles from the observatory?!? maybe we can plan our vacation properly.

#52 Joe Cepleur

Joe Cepleur

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,318
  • Joined: 18 Mar 2010
  • Loc: Dark North Woods

Posted 21 February 2012 - 06:28 PM

When are those open days at Megantic?? We camp every summer just outside of Jackman Me. and I believe that's only 50 or 60 miles from the observatory?!? maybe we can plan our vacation properly.


Here is the entire eMail being circulated in the hope of arranging the trip to see this great telescope. Every member of every astronomy club in Maine has already received it. The original also has pictures apparently from Mt. Megantic's Web site:

-=-=-=-=-

Hello Stargazers,

I've had a chance to discuss this with several clubs across the state and it's time to explain the proposed details of this proposed trip.

Last summer a friend and I traveled to Mt. Mégantic to attend their astronomy presentation at the the Astrolab at the base of the Mountain, tour the 63" research telescope the next day and then view through the 24" telescope at the Observatoire Populaire later that evening. During this visit, I discovered that on select nights during the summer they remove the CCD camera and mount an occular so that you can actually put your eye to an eyepiece on this largest telescope in Canada. I promissed that I would be back again next year to partake of this treat.

I thought it could be fun to share this with other club members that I have met throughout the state and I have been communicating with Hélène Philibert, Garde-parc naturaliste, the groups coordinator for this facility. If we can get a substantial number of attendees, they will offer an English language version of their program which is normally given in French. This would also be a great chance for a large number of astronomy club members across the state to meet. No doubt, Mt. Mégantic could advertise this event to English speaking Canadians so we'd have a chance to meet some new friends north of the border. Mt. Mégantic, adjacent to the village of Notre Dame du Bois, is about 20 miles across the western Maine border, and just above New Hampshire, so travel time for most of us is around three to four hours.

Observing at the smaller "popular observatory" is available nightly during the summer but the research observatory is only scheduled for six Friday nights in 2012, so let's pick a night. Following is almanac data for the scheduled research observatory observing nights (Le Festival d'Astronomie Populaire):


Mt. Mégantic Super Astronomy Festival dates for 2012:

July


1. Friday July 13, 2012
3rd quarter Moon, Surface Visibility: 25%, Moonset: 15:59H
Astronomical Twilight: 23:00H

2. Friday July 20, 2012
New Moon, Surface Visibility: 5%, Moonset: 20:58H
Astronomical Twilight: 22:48H

3. Friday July 27, 2012
1st Quarter Moon, Surface Visibility: 71%, Moonrise: 15:16H
Astronomical Twilight: 22:34H


August

4. Friday August 3, 2012
Full moon, Surface Visibility: 96%, Moonrise: 20:40H
Astronomical Twilight: 22:19H

5. Friday August 17, 2012
New moon, Surface Visibility: 0%, Moonset: 19:28H
Astronomical Twilight: 21:47H
This is Stellefane Convention Weekend.

6. Friday August 24, 2012
1st Quarter Moon, Surface Visibility: 55%, Moonset: 23:33H
Astronomical Twilight: 21:31H


Please go to the Doodle poll at: http://www.doodle.com/t7buku9ewt77seu7 and cast your votes for the nights which work for you. You may vote for as many as you wish. We'll use the poll results to pick a night that works for the largest number of people. This poll does not commit you to attending but please vote if you think you have a serious interest in participating. If we do not get a large enough number there will be no English program and I will have to cancel the trip. However, individuals can still attend on the evenings of their preference but the program will only be offered in French. The guides all spoke English, though, and I was able to get most questions answered in English without problems.

If we do determine a viable date, I will coordinate to distribute the information to all of the clubs. Because of the size and wide distribution across the state, you will need to make your own reservations and travel arrangements. (There are no fees being collected by me.) I will be happy to answer questions and if you'd like to share a ride with people from another club please send me a request and I'll try to put you in touch with the right people. There are a wide range of accommodations available from camping, bed and breakfasts, rental cabins and resorts. You can check these out at the Astrolab web site:

http://www.astrolab-.../activities.htm

Last summer my total expenses for two people for 3 pairs of Astrolab/Observatory program tickets, all meals and lodging at a very nice bed and breakfast for 4 days and 3 nights was about $800. there is a wide range of packages available and my bed and break staff made all of the ticketing arrangements for me in advance so that was very easy. I would recommend arriving Friday afternoon and a minimum of a two night stay to make available all of the programs.

-=-=-=-=-

The Doodle poll so far greatly favors Friday, July 20, 2012, so I'd not be surprised if we settled on that date.

#53 Joe Cepleur

Joe Cepleur

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,318
  • Joined: 18 Mar 2010
  • Loc: Dark North Woods

Posted 21 February 2012 - 06:42 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.


Very interesting, Tim. I am pleased to stand corrected. I had had the misimpression that saving these scopes would require a visual hook to the public.

Once in a while, a thread appears about the sale of, for example, a Unitron in the $8,000 to $15,000 range. One never knows who might have the crane, truck, and cash to save a classic research telescope and put it to good use.

My club has a 16" equatorial Newtonian in a second-floor dome. The scope sits upon a reinforced concrete pier sunk seven feet into the ground. The mount weighs many hundreds of pounds, and works only because the club had a skilled machinist as a member. We use it visually, although one member who is getting his Ph.D. in astronomy inquired about possibly using it in his work.

This story illustrates both the potential of committed amateurs and the issues in preserving large scopes. Our scope was not working well until a machinist joined the club, but he has since moved away. The mount should last a long time in its current state, and our Vice President of Equipment is a handy guy, so the scope should be fine in his lifetime. Who will maintain it in the future? We don't know, but unlike the folks at the Canadian national park at Mt. Megantic who have government backing, we take it one day at a time.

#54 PhilCo126

PhilCo126

    Soyuz

  • -----
  • Posts: 3,853
  • Joined: 14 Jan 2005

Posted 14 March 2012 - 09:45 AM

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...


Answer: Main M1 mirror = 0.61 m Secondary M2 mirror = 0.154 m
Both were made of Low Expansion Silica

:graduate:

#55 Blake Andrews

Blake Andrews

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 425
  • Joined: 31 Jul 2008
  • Loc: Iowa

Posted 04 January 2013 - 11:54 AM

A very enjoyable thread to read. There are certainly many issues ranging from the purely aesthetic to the purely economic.

Nonetheless, our astronomy club, the Cedar Amateur Astronomers, is privileged to have and operate a 24" Boller & Chivens. If you find yourselves in Eastern Iowa please make it a point to visit our facility at the Eastern Iowa Observatory and Learning Center.

We are in the process of establishing our public calendar for 2013. Our web site is here...
CAA Web Site

Also, feel free to PM me if you plan to be in the neighborhood as we do have member nights as well.

Cheers!
Blake

#56 bierbelly

bierbelly

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11,544
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2004

Posted 04 January 2013 - 02:01 PM

Used a 24" B&C in my astronomy classes at UNC back in the mid 70s. It had been located right in the center of Chapel Hill attached to the same building as the planetarium. It's my understanding that it was moved outside of town shortly thereafter.

Or not...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morehead_Planetarium_and_Science_Center

see Morehead Observatory section and footnote

#57 JWBriggs

JWBriggs

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 44
  • Joined: 16 Feb 2009
  • Loc: Magdalena, New Mexico

Posted 22 December 2013 - 12:41 AM

Optically and mechanically, Boller & Chivens observatory telescopes were equal to the best in the world at the height of the Space Race. A dormant 36-inch (actually a 37 1/4-inch clear aperture) at Princeton University has been transferred to a non-profit foundation and has been moved to New Mexico to be housed in the Cloudcroft area. You can read more about the project here:
http://hutobservator...man-foundation/
--John W. Briggs.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 6266253-Set to east 120 kb.jpg


#58 JWBriggs

JWBriggs

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 44
  • Joined: 16 Feb 2009
  • Loc: Magdalena, New Mexico

Posted 22 December 2013 - 01:06 AM

To disassemble and move the Princeton telescope safely to New Mexico in late October, I had the good fortune to observe the September installation of the former 40-inch Northwestern University instrument at JPL's Table Mountain Observatory. The mountings of these two B&C's are essentially twin. The attached photo shows the Northwestern instrument on the second of two installation days at Table Mountain in September, 2013. This is a robust telescope design. The Princeton example came with counterweights allowing up to a 300-pound instrument payload at the Cassegrain focus. Folks at SDSU advise us that well over twice that payload is actually possible at the Cassegrain focus of this model! --John W. Briggs.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 6266288-NU 40-inch overall view.jpg

  • Bonco likes this

#59 Spectral Joe

Spectral Joe

    Messenger

  • -----
  • Posts: 406
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2011
  • Loc: Livermore CA

Posted 22 December 2013 - 01:50 AM

I remember the Princeton 36 inch well, for a time in the early 1980's I had it almost to myself, the physics department would use it a month or so out of the year but the rest of the time it was available whenever I wanted it.

#60 JWBriggs

JWBriggs

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 44
  • Joined: 16 Feb 2009
  • Loc: Magdalena, New Mexico

Posted 10 April 2016 - 08:25 PM

This is an old tread now, but one of special interest.  People don't collect Boller & Chivens telescopes because so few were made and they were very expensive.  They are as easy to maintain as any large telescopes.  But larger telescopes are harder to maintain!  That's why some institutions have done poor jobs caring for them.  Also, institutions got them in an era of liberal federal funding, while nowadays, egad -- what funding there is tends not to support what's now called "small telescope" science. 

 

The reason I'm posting again is just to point out that the 24-inch B&C at University of New Mexico's Capilla Peak Observatory outside Albuquerque was recently sold at public auction because the University is abandoning the expensive-to-operate 9,000-foot Capilla site.  Bidding was fierce enough, but I believe it would have gone much higher had the auction and instrument been more widely known.  As it was, the scope sold for only a tiny fraction of what a new DFM 24-inch would cost, DFM being the only American-made instrument comparable now.  And a lot of DFM telescopes have been made in recent times.  So it's not like a demand for professional instruments, however sporadic, has completely dried up.

 

Anyway, I was the winning bidder!  Now I'm faced with the task of disassembling a 5,000-pound instrument at 9,000 feet, moving it, refurbishing it, and rehousing it for the FOAH Observatory site near Magdalena, New Mexico.  What could go wrong?  ;-)  Different scopes for different folks. 

 

But for me, this is a very desirable instrument and more than worth the effort involved  I hope it will help attract people to discover the Magdalena area for astronomy and to attend the local Enchanted Skies Star Party, normally running in October.  I attach a Boller & Chivens stock company photo of the 24-inch model, essentially twin to what we'll have here soon, I hope on the sky within 18 months or so.

 

--John W. Briggs,

Magdalena, New Mexico.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BC.24in.UC_.Lick_.Bob_.Poindexter.600dpi


  • gnabgib, Deven Matlick, Bonco and 11 others like this

#61 Ken Sturrock

Ken Sturrock

    Cardinal Ximenez (No one expects the Spanish Inquisition)

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 8,220
  • Joined: 26 Sep 2009
  • Loc: Denver, CO

Posted 11 April 2016 - 12:12 PM

I spent some memorable evenings using a 16" B&C at Georgia State University's observatory east of Atlanta back when I was an undergrad. That telescope came to us after a previous life at Kitt Peak but was subsequently replaced with a more modern instrument and mount.

 

Good luck with it. Ours was a nice telescope.



#62 rockethead26

rockethead26

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6,614
  • Joined: 21 Oct 2009
  • Loc: Northern Arizona, USA

Posted 13 February 2020 - 11:24 AM

Thought I would resurrect this old thread.

 

Lowell Observatory has just decommissioned our 1963 16" B&C that we received from Northwestern University in 1995. It has been an integral part of our public program ever since. It and the mount are being replaced next week with a 24" Planewave and L-600 mount.

 

The mount and telescope were in working order when deconstructed two months ago and are currently in a few large pieces here on our Mars Hill campus in Flagstaff. If there is any interest in this old scope, please PM me. We will also be looking elsewhere for someone or an organization to take it off our hands.

 

I can add a picture if someone want to see it. Don't have it on my work computer so I need to do so from home.

 

EDIT - I did just find out that we have a group in Tucson that is interested in resurrecting the B&C so still let me know if you know someone else who may be interested and we'll keep them on the back burner.


Edited by rockethead26, 13 February 2020 - 12:09 PM.

  • tim53, steve t and Bomber Bob like this

#63 CHASLX200

CHASLX200

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 18,929
  • Joined: 29 Sep 2007
  • Loc: Tampa area Florida

Posted 13 February 2020 - 03:14 PM

I wonder if the optics were hit and miss like Celestron and Meade was with the SCT's?



#64 tim53

tim53

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 14,561
  • Joined: 17 Dec 2004
  • Loc: Highland Park, CA

Posted 13 February 2020 - 03:18 PM

I wonder if the optics were hit and miss like Celestron and Meade was with the SCT's?

The one I had the privilege of using at Mt Laguna (San Diego State's observatory) in 1974 was a wonderful telescope.  

 

-Tim.



#65 respite

respite

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 63
  • Joined: 01 Feb 2017
  • Loc: SE Pennsylvania

Posted 13 February 2020 - 03:53 PM

I saw the Georgia 16" was auctioned a couple of years ago in separate pieces at separate times.

 

 

OTA so to speak

 

Mount

 

 

I strongly suspect it went for scrap. I hope some one knows differently.

 

 



#66 tim53

tim53

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 14,561
  • Joined: 17 Dec 2004
  • Loc: Highland Park, CA

Posted 14 February 2020 - 12:06 AM

My gawd, that's awful.frown.gif



#67 Ben H

Ben H

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 683
  • Joined: 12 Jun 2012

Posted 14 February 2020 - 01:37 AM

That was a messed up situation with the Kitt Peaks Boller & Chivens.

First the mount was offered up for auction. When inquiries were made, prospective bidders were told there was no telescope, just the mount. I considered it even though there was no mount just for the extreme nostalgia of it being the Kitt Peaks mount, but having no practical use and being large in the extreme, and in questionable condition, I passed on it.

Shortly after the telescope went up for bid. Details on its condition were also not forthcoming. undecided.gif 

At the time I thought it was perhaps an attempt to keep the price low so someone associated with the scope could buy it. I would have expected to seen or heard something about it by now if it went to a CNer. 


  • tim53 likes this

#68 radicell2

radicell2

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 161
  • Joined: 15 Jan 2010
  • Loc: Toronto

Posted 14 February 2020 - 10:43 AM

The one I had the privilege of using at Mt Laguna (San Diego State's observatory) in 1974 was a wonderful telescope.  

 

 

The University of Toronto got a 16 incher back in the late '60.Sits still in a dome on the main downtown campus.Used photo plates to get an image of M51. With light pollution now I doubt I'd get anything .Sharp optics.Really cool (then) to watch the red RA and DEC dial indicators swing around.

 

Ric


  • tim53 likes this

#69 tim53

tim53

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 14,561
  • Joined: 17 Dec 2004
  • Loc: Highland Park, CA

Posted 14 February 2020 - 11:33 AM

This is a good page with several pics of B&C installations around the planet:  http://bollerandchiv...om/?page_id=558


  • steve t and like this

#70 pbealo

pbealo

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 994
  • Joined: 12 Oct 2006
  • Loc: New Hampshire

Posted 14 February 2020 - 11:46 AM

This is a good page with several pics of B&C installations around the planet:  http://bollerandchiv...om/?page_id=558

I wonder what's become of the MIT LL 31" B&C with schmidt cameras?!?!

 

I think I can check with LL. I still know some folks there.


  • tim53 likes this

#71 ccwemyss

ccwemyss

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 854
  • Joined: 11 Aug 2016
  • Loc: Massachusetts

Posted 14 February 2020 - 11:49 AM

That was a messed up situation with the Kitt Peaks Boller & Chivens.

First the mount was offered up for auction. When inquiries were made, prospective bidders were told there was no telescope, just the mount. I considered it even though there was no mount just for the extreme nostalgia of it being the Kitt Peaks mount, but having no practical use and being large in the extreme, and in questionable condition, I passed on it.

Shortly after the telescope went up for bid. Details on its condition were also not forthcoming. undecided.gif 

At the time I thought it was perhaps an attempt to keep the price low so someone associated with the scope could buy it. I would have expected to seen or heard something about it by now if it went to a CNer. 

Which scope was that? From what I know, the 36" (0.9m) WIYN B&C is still operational with the half degree imager. I've used it for a couple of photometric imaging runs on open clusters, but not since 2009. 

 

Chip W. 


  • tim53 likes this

#72 tim53

tim53

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 14,561
  • Joined: 17 Dec 2004
  • Loc: Highland Park, CA

Posted 14 February 2020 - 03:41 PM

If you look at the closeup pics of the mount in the post about the auctions, it clearly is labeled Kitt Peak.



#73 Ben H

Ben H

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 683
  • Joined: 12 Jun 2012

Posted 14 February 2020 - 04:03 PM

Which scope was that? From what I know, the 36" (0.9m) WIYN B&C is still operational with the half degree imager. I've used it for a couple of photometric imaging runs on open clusters, but not since 2009. 

 

Chip W. 

 

 

I saw the Georgia 16" was auctioned a couple of years ago in separate pieces at separate times.

 

 

OTA so to speak

 

Mount

 

 

I strongly suspect it went for scrap. I hope some one knows differently.

It were the 16" respite was referring to. The #3 16" at Kitt Peaks was transferred to Georgia State where it remained until it was sold at surplus. 

 

http://www.astro.gsu.edu/HLCO/bnc16/


Edited by Ben H, 14 February 2020 - 04:04 PM.


#74 dhferguson

dhferguson

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 112
  • Joined: 21 Sep 2018
  • Loc: Pleasanton, CA

Posted 14 February 2020 - 05:14 PM

Cheers,

 

It is important to remember that a professional observatory is managed as an industrial facility. There is a fixed pot of money for plant and improvements, and the lion's share of this will go to the premiere facility or two. It is common and normal that observatory directors allow old and obsolescent facilities--in particular the smaller and older telescopes and their structures--to languish and, eventually, decay into non-service.

 

Regarding "saving" old scopes such as the Boller & Chivens facilities, while we might salivate at the aperture and stability of these old instruments, there are serious issues. First, they are very heavy and require riggers to move. This is expensive. Second, the focal lengths of these instruments are typically quite long: f/ratios of f/8-f/20 are common. This leads to small fields & high magnifications, which are undesirable for amateurs in most cases. In particular, if an observatory telescope is moved to a more convenient site with poorer seeing, the magnified image will of course suffer. Finally, the internals of these old instruments--both mechanical and electrical--are aging. It could cost lots of money to replace the old wiring, relays, etc. and modernize with encoders and servo motors, for example. As for the mechanicals, all will be well unless the mechanisms are worn or corroded/rusted (likely in many cases), in which case expensive disassembly, cleaning, and replacement may be necessary. Even if an older instrument has been well-maintained, as an industrial facility a certain amount of staff time is required to keep it that way: electricians, IT people, mech techs/machinists, etc. need to be on call.  Nostalgia costs money. For all these reasons, we might best relegate these fine old but creaky instruments to museums of telescopes, if such exist.

 

Time was when the high magnification of these old pro telescopes could be used to advantage with large photographic plates. Technology has moved on, of course. Some still see service for surveys using CCDs or IR arrays (c.f., the Catalina/Kuiper 61" located outside Tucson) with large pixel formats: 15um-30um pixels are not uncommon. Obviously, these would be very expensive for amateurs to purchase.

 

As an example, please find attached an image taken from afar in 2016 of the Leuschner Observatory, located east of it's home institution UC Berkeley. The outside of the domes are obviously decrepit and horribly maintained. The larger dome houses a 30" f/8 Tinsley (good optics, solid mount, flakey electronics and drive) RC. Inside the smaller dome is a 20" straight Cass of older and unknown (to me) provenance. Perhaps one/several of you could make a deal with the UC Berkeley Astro Department to take it over and clean it up? I know of several other such facilities languishing out here in the West. If truly you wished to adopt such a facility, I'd go have a talk with the cognizant Department Chair or Observatory Director and see what might be worked out. What do you have to lose?

 

Happy observing always,

 

Don

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • 20160214_LeuschnerObs.jpg


#75 EJN

EJN

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,538
  • Joined: 01 Nov 2005
  • Loc: Between what is and what's not there

Posted 14 February 2020 - 05:43 PM

Lowell Observatory has just decommissioned our 1963 16" B&C that we received from Northwestern University in 1995. It has been an integral part of our public program ever since. It and the mount are being replaced next week with a 24" Planewave and L-600 mount.


I was able to use that scope in 1994 when it was still at Northwestern, to view the comet impact on Jupiter with a group.

I remember the optics being excellent, but Jupiter seemed dim for a 16-inch.

Later I was able to look down the tube, and the primary was horribly dirty, almost like an ashtray had been dumped on it.
  • rockethead26 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 Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics