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The Wilmington 16" Cassegrain Cave / Restore

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#1 turk123

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 12:16 PM

Several years ago when I was doing research for the Cave-astrola.com website, I ran across an article about a telescope that was funded by a donation to Wilmington College just south of Columbus Ohio.  The telescope project was to replace a 8-9" refractor that I believe may have gone missing. In 1964, Willmington college took delivery of a Cave Optical Company 16" cassegrain telescope, 22' Observa-dome dome, mount and accessories.   Tom Cave transported the telescope by trailer to Ohio and installed it.

 

 

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#2 turk123

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 12:18 PM

Fast forward to the present.  I contacted the director of the college almost 2 years ago to inquire if the telescope was still in the dome.  He did not know but said he would check with the plant manager.  I received an email from the director several days later saying “Indeed it is still there!”.  The observatory is located on top of their science center three-story roof.  The door to the observatory has not been opened for almost 30 years!

 

I made arrangements with the college to photograph it for the Cave website.  Logistics made it impossible for me to visit when I wanted to and a year and a half past before I heard from another director at the college.  He surprised me by saying “We know you were interested in photographing the telescope, would you be interested in saving it?”

 

The Kettering Hall science center was due for a major addition and overhaul.  The college has received a $17 million grant for the program and the observatory, well,  was not part of this expansion.  The contractor said he would just push the telescope off the roof.

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Edited by turk123, 21 October 2014 - 12:50 PM.


#3 turk123

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 12:19 PM

I called Matt and made arrangements to visit the telescope to take pictures and to see if it was possible for me to move.  I took an engineering friend Dave with me to help with some ideas and approaches.  We met the plant manager, Terry outside the hall and proceeded to the third floor. We reached a door with the small letters “Observatory” above it and Terry pulled out a key, turned to us and said “Are you sure you really want to go up there?  It has been 29 years you know?”  After opening the door we were amazed to see a rusted steel spiral staircase reaching up through the roof and into the dome. We proceeded slowly.

 

 

 

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#4 turk123

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 12:21 PM

When we reached the top I just stood there in amazement.  It was all there. The birds had taken over and the tube was filled with straw that they brought in to make nests.  The tube and mount as you can see is covered in bird excrement.  I did not see any rodents or bats.  The domes doors are missing a rubber gasket and there is a gap for the birds to get in.  Whoever used the telescope last did not replace all the covers that were sitting on a desk next to the scope.

 

 

 

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#5 turk123

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 12:22 PM

When I was there I gave the telescope a little push and it turned on both axis as smooth as silk!  Very solid and yet very little effort to move.  I can only imagine what it will be like after cleaning.  There is very little rust as it was pretty dry in the dome.  

The 6” guide scope had slid down and made the scope out of balance.  As the earlier articles I discover mentioned, the telescope is a “convertible” telescope.  If you look to the top side of the tube, it has a second eyepiece.  It is an f/16 Cassegrain and an f/2 Newtonian.  I found a massive piece of glass in a desk draw that is the installable secondary mirror.

 

 

 

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#6 Jeff B1

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 12:24 PM

Give me some time to attempt to remember but Tom had some stories about that telescope.  We talked about it the last time together up in Ohio when I asked him if my idea for a 16" f/50 was a good plan.  Been kicking myself ever since deciding on a Newtonian instead, as in f/7 efr. Clyde Tombaugh thought the idea was great and pushed me to go ever higher.  Wow, I thought he was kidding until we talked about the 24" Lowell Planetary Patrol telescopes he designed for f/75.  The three I used where excellent instruments.

 

Hey, an f/2 primary makes for a small secondary, even at f/16 Cass,  How can a telescope like that go unattended for so long?  What a shame.  Wonder how many others are wasting away out yonder? 

 

The 16" mirror in my telescope was from an abandoned telescope at the U. of Miami, FL and we put it to good use.  In its place they asked me to design an 18" f/25 DK Cass for them for instrument stellar work but it was delayed due to the optician mess up or something.  That would have been neat but not sure what ever happened to the project. Tom Cave made at least one 18" f/16 Classical Cass in his time as well.  


Edited by Jeff B1, 21 October 2014 - 12:35 PM.


#7 dweller25

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 12:25 PM

More please......... :)



#8 turk123

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 12:25 PM

To continue the story, Dave and I spent about two hours with the telescope looking at eyepieces and parts added to the scope when it was functioning.  We also conceived a plan on how to get it out of the dome and down to street level.  It will be difficult.  I met with Matt soon after and said I was interested and that he could proceed to the next step as I formulated just what they had there and it’s value to the college.  We agreed to talk later.

 

I spent a few weeks trying to decide if I were able to actually take this thing off their hands and at what cost to me in dollars, it would require.  The owner of commercial real estate holdings, I met with my attorney to see what protections I would need to do the project that quite frankly, may involve some serious handling of heavy parts with a possibility of hired help and volunteer’s getting hurt.  He suggested forming a company and providing workers comp to several temporary employees.  I also will have to get an insurance plan to cover the project and any damage I do to the college’s property.  I’m not a rich man but I do have to protect my assets from this “interesting” hobby especially if best-laid plans go afoul. 

 

There is also the possible problem of the bird do-do and feathers and dust.  In discussing this with my doctor he said to be very careful.  Avian virus or avian flu is not something he wants to treat.  He said respirators and tyvek suits are the way to go while the first step in the project begins, cleaning the observatory.  Terry told me he can make available a water hose and some cleaning supplies.  I would have to take brooms, shovels, wet mop, shop vac and bag everything to be removed.  There is more than a bale of “hay” I removed from the main tube!

 

 

 

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#9 turk123

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 12:28 PM

I let Matt know I would be interested in saving the telescope and I gave him a lot of information on what it was, how I would proceed, and the value I thought could be placed on it.  We had many back and forth conversations as the college president and a new committee began deciding the telescope’s fate.  My goal was to preserve the telescope for future generations.  I would restore it and then donate the telescope to a new owner and help them set it up.  It would require a commitment of the future owner to a program maintained by them over many years.  I let Wilmington college know that if they would be a candidate for such a program, that I would donate the telescope back to them!  

This whole process started at the beginning of summer.  The last two months I have heard very little.  The conversational emails with Matt became few.  I feared that as with many colleges and universities, they get committees involved, the discussion gets started and no one can make a decision and then the telescope ends up in a heap at the curb.   That did not happen here!

 

I received an email today from Matt stating:

 

“I finally have some news for you. The powers that be have met and made a decision and I am happy to say that you are now the proud owner of a 16" Cave Astrola cassegrain telescope – assuming you are still interested in it. I appreciate your patience as we have slowly worked our way through this process, as I know it has been a lengthy one."

 

With the signing of a contract I provided them with, I now own the telescope.

 

 

“Who wants to help.”

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Edited by turk123, 21 October 2014 - 12:29 PM.

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#10 turk123

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 12:38 PM

More pictures:

 

 

 

 

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#11 turk123

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 12:41 PM

and more:

 

 

 

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#12 turk123

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 12:44 PM

Addition images

 

 

 

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#13 Astrojensen

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 01:17 PM

Yuck! That is one dirty telescope. Bring the pressure washer out! 

 

Seriously nice find, tho'!

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark



#14 TCW

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 01:25 PM

Absolutely awesome! :waytogo:

 

Rather than starting a company and obtaining workers comp and all that you should consider hiring a rigging company to help move the scope. They know how and have all the insurance needed.


Edited by TCW, 21 October 2014 - 01:30 PM.


#15 turk123

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 01:43 PM

Absolutely awesome! :waytogo:

 

Rather than starting a company and obtaining workers comp and all that you should consider hiring a rigging company to help move the scope. They know how and have all the insurance needed.

 

That is a possibility I have thought of.  It will still require me removing parts from the telescope just to get it apart. The mirror has to come out.  Counter weights have to be removed.  At a certain point, walking it down the stares becomes doable.


Edited by turk123, 21 October 2014 - 01:43 PM.


#16 turk123

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 01:48 PM

Give me some time to attempt to remember but Tom had some stories about that telescope.  We talked about it the last time together up in Ohio when I asked him if my idea for a 16" f/50 was a good plan.  Been kicking myself ever since deciding on a Newtonian instead, as in f/7 efr. Clyde Tombaugh thought the idea was great and pushed me to go ever higher.  Wow, I thought he was kidding until we talked about the 24" Lowell Planetary Patrol telescopes he designed for f/75.  The three I used where excellent instruments.

 

Hey, an f/2 primary makes for a small secondary, even at f/16 Cass,  How can a telescope like that go unattended for so long?  What a shame.  Wonder how many others are wasting away out yonder? 

 

The 16" mirror in my telescope was from an abandoned telescope at the U. of Miami, FL and we put it to good use.  In its place they asked me to design an 18" f/25 DK Cass for them for instrument stellar work but it was delayed due to the optician mess up or something.  That would have been neat but not sure what ever happened to the project. Tom Cave made at least one 18" f/16 Classical Cass in his time as well.  

 

Jeff

 

I really would like to hear what he had to say about this scope.  Take some Ginkobilova and call me in the morning.  (just kidding!)  I'm gonna have to fly you up here when I get this thing back to the shop!



#17 woodscavenger

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 01:51 PM

Wish I lived closer I would come and lend a hand.   Awesome!!!  keep us updated.


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#18 woodscavenger

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 01:52 PM

If they were planning on just pushing it off the roof it hopefully means they didn't charge you much for it.



#19 turk123

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 01:59 PM

If they were planning on just pushing it off the roof it hopefully means they didn't charge you much for it.

 

 

No charge.

 

I should clarify.  It will take several thousand dollars to remove this telescope from the roof.  It will also take more money (and work) to restore it.  So, not exactly free.  


Edited by turk123, 21 October 2014 - 02:27 PM.


#20 Astrojensen

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 02:04 PM

No charge is a price that fit my budget! Wish I could be there to give a hand.

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark



#21 turk123

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 02:45 PM

Barry Kawa who wrote several articles about Thomas Cave and many other telescope makers, has agreed to do articles on this telescope and it's history for the Cave website.  He will follow the dismantling and the process it will take to bring this back to a working telescope.  I ask him if he would do this some time ago.  I thought it might be better for him to tell the story than me.  He's a very accomplished writer and has a love for Cave telescopes.  Barry currently resides in Tokyo, Japan.

 

 

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#22 Jeff B

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 02:59 PM

Fast forward to the present.  I contacted the director of the college almost 2 years ago to inquire if the telescope was still in the dome.  He did not know but said he would check with the plant manager.  I received an email from the director several days later saying “Indeed it is still there!”.  The observatory is located on top of their science center three-story roof.  The door to the observatory has not been opened for almost 30 years!

 

I made arrangements with the college to photograph it for the Cave website.  Logistics made it impossible for me to visit when I wanted to and a year and a half past before I heard from another director at the college.  He surprised me by saying “We know you were interested in photographing the telescope, would you be interested in saving it?”

 

The Kettering Hall science center was due for a major addition and overhaul.  The college has received a $17 million grant for the program and the observatory, well,  was not part of this expansion.  The contractor said he would just push the telescope off the roof.

Turk, I live only 15 miles away in Lebanon and personnally inquired about the scope in June but got no response!  I've been meaning to go back and see what I might be able to do to get it donated to the Warren County Astronomical Society, then move it.

 

Crane service would be ~$600 with a discounted rate.

 

PM me!

 

Jeff

 

BTW, you've got to see what we've done at Camp Joy just 10 miles from the college:

 

http://www.wcas-oh.o...y_link_id=19094

 

and:

 

http://www.wcas-oh.o...y_link_id=14904

 

And the pier is over 2 1/2 tons:

 

http://www.wcas-oh.o...2&currentpage=2

 

Jeff


Edited by Jeff B, 21 October 2014 - 03:05 PM.


#23 orion61

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 04:14 PM

Does anybody know how well the system is figured?

Some years past, While looking at a 10 inch, I had been warned by a couple people not to get involved with Cave Cassigrains,

I don't know how reliable the reports were but I trusted them at the time.

What a wonderful project to have and be a part of it's history. Turk as you surely know, we never really own a Telescopes, we are

simply their guardians for a short time. That's why I hate to see the guys that don't take care of equipment. You know what I mean,

The guys that Drill & tap, leave them sit outside unprotected etc. I have a friend like that. The Spray paint King. Making it "user friendly".

You are about to become my Hero if you can pull this off in the proper way! I cant wait for updates! I'll bet it smelled like an old Hay Loft up there.

Duane



#24 DAVIDG

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 05:00 PM

Since it is a dual focus scope, ie a Newtonian and a cassegrain, then that means the optics should be of the classic cassegrain design with a parabolic primary and hyberbolic secondary. Making a 16" f/4 parabolic primary is not easy, especially if you do it with a Foucault tester vs other methods. Then you need to make a 4" diameter convex hyberbolic secondary. That is even a more difficult figure to get right and to get the figure correct you need to use a Hindle sphere which in this case would require a 16" f/2 spherical mirror. On top of that you need to get the baffling correct and all the Cave Cassegrains I've seen had the baffling wrong which leads to washed out image at the Cass focus. On top of all that even if you have perfect optics you have to get the spacing between the primary and the secondary correct to get the most out them. All this can be fixed but you can't assume that what is in the scope now is right. My advice is spend the same amount of time making sure the optics are right as one does making the mechanical aspects of the scope right. That way you'll have both a pretty telescope to look at and also one to look thru.
The scope is now in the best hands I know of, of giving it a new life and making what might be wrong with it, right. Good Luck Tom. Tom Cave is smiling on you from up above !

- Dave
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#25 Geo31

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 05:21 PM

eek2.gif

 

Tom!  Wow!  Speechless!

 

Great work just to get to this point!  I'm sure you'll do an incredible job restoring this. 

 

So good on you to not only take this on, but to donate the results!  Not many would be willing to do so.  :bow:

 

BTW, if you're setting up a company, you may want to see about setting it up as a non-profit that could accept tax-deductable donations.  ;)




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