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24" Clark Telescope - Reinstallation Begins!

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#1 rockethead26

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 07:48 PM

The 24" Clark Telescope at Lowell Observatory in starting to come back together. These shots are from yesterday. I'll post more as I get them. Current target date to have it back on line is May 1st. Sorry for the quality of the iPhone images, but that's all we had.

 

The refurbished pier awaits in the restored dome:

 

16672549269_6986ea8b5c_o.jpg

 

First up in  the equatorial head, counterweights (less 800 lbs worth) and the center tube section:

 

16671294000_4ffa24eeec_o.jpg

 

Steady as she goes:

 

16832817406_6811a3c987_o.jpg

 

 

Thread the needle:

 

16671293340_43eeaaa47e_o.jpg

 

 

Swish!!! That's our head engineer, Ralph Nye, reaching out to steady the 10,000 lb load:

 

16858680175_570373164b_o.jpg

 

 

Ah, it's safely in place:

 

16857645241_d667b36771_o.jpg

 

 

Then the first of the two long tube sections:

 

16832815886_8b2aa4f9cf_o.jpg

 

 

Thread the needle:

 

16858678975_3b27419d6e_o.jpg

 

 

Lucky says, "What's all the fuss???"

 

16671291430_aa8d09c02d_o.jpg



#2 deepwoods1

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 08:46 PM

WOW!!!! Honestly, my heart skipped looking at the stills. Impressive! I'm sure "Lucky" was the luck you needed. 



#3 havasman

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 09:41 PM

Heavy riggers get the coolest jobs. Those guys are such fun to watch and to deal with.

Great that you get to be involved with that project and nice of you to share it with us. 

Please give Lucky a scratch behind the ear from his new admirers.



#4 GeneT

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 09:51 PM

Beautiful post! Looking forward to more as progress continues.



#5 rockethead26

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 10:34 PM

Thanks guys. If the weather is good tomorrow (it's not supposed to be), they will finish up with the crane by installing the lens cell, the final 800 lbs of counterweights and the visual back. I'll try to get some photos tomorrow and throughout the rest of the process.

 

Lucky gets lots of scratches behind the ears by everyone on campus. He belongs to Dave, our head maintenance guy.



#6 sewhite

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 11:41 PM

Jim

 

I really like the wheels and tires used for dome rotation, cool. :waytogo:

 

Stan



#7 rockethead26

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 11:57 PM

Jim

 

I really like the wheels and tires used for dome rotation, cool. :waytogo:

 

Stan

 

Stan,

 

Those are 1954 Ford Pickup tires. We have a stash...



#8 MikeBOKC

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 07:26 AM

That just might be the most beautiful telescope on earth. I believe it was also the instrument Percival Lowell used to sketch the Mars "canals". Quite a history there!



#9 Balok

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 08:40 AM

Wow!

 

That' s one enormous equatorial mount... it's surreal.

 

Thank you very much for posting this.

 

Judging from the pooch's behavior ; everything is proceeding like clockwork.

 

The interior of the dome is great too.

 

Love it!



#10 joe4702

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 08:49 AM

Nice.

Look forward to a return visit to see the Clark.



#11 csrlice12

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 10:50 AM

Wow, Lucky certainly is......lookatdat scope he's got........wouldn't he see into the infrared too?   Seems the scope would pass it, it's still light....



#12 MDB

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 11:51 AM

Great news!  I am patiently awaiting the re-installation and looking forward to seeing this magnificent telescope.  

 

My wife and I visited Lowell Observatory on the night of Feb. 18th. (85th. anniversary of the discovery of Pluto) and sorely missed the 24 inch Clark.....but we'll be back soon.  

 

Thanks for update.

 

Mike



#13 Rick Woods

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 08:42 PM

We'll have a good apparition of Mars next year, for it to really strut its stuff!



#14 hm insulators

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 10:13 AM

I'll have to get up to "Flag" this summer and pay the Lowell Observatory another visit; been a few years since I've been there. I'll definitely want to meet Jim.



#15 Kent10

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 01:52 AM

I visited the Lowell yesterday.  I talked to someone there and they said the lenses of the Clark are being made new and that one cracked and had to be done again.  Is that right?  And that the lenses are being made right there at Lowell.  I am anxious to look through the new Clark!



#16 rockethead26

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 09:21 AM

I visited the Lowell yesterday.  I talked to someone there and they said the lenses of the Clark are being made new and that one cracked and had to be done again.  Is that right?  And that the lenses are being made right there at Lowell.  I am anxious to look through the new Clark!

 

That's news to me! I'm interested to know who passed along that false info. The lens was mounted safely in the scope over a week ago. We do not have the capability to grind new lenses. On our Pluto tours, we talk about when we cracked the 42" mirror in a reflector in the 60's when trying to turn it into a cassegrain design by drilling through the center. This is the telescope originally installed in the "Jiffy Pop" dome (the Carl Lampland Dome) in 1909 whose structure is now the lawn ornament outside the rear of the visitor center.

 

Could this be what the tour operator was referring to?

 

Sorry for any confusion and I hope you enjoyed your visit.



#17 Kent10

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 09:49 AM

Thanks Jim.  Yes I had a great time.  I waited in a long line to view Jupiter in the McAllister.  I enjoyed talking with a couple who didn't know much about viewing and the skies and it was fun for me to explain what I know to them.  There was a younger lady walking the line offering to answer questions while we were waiting and I heard her talk about the "mirror" cracking in the Clark so I asked her if she meant the lens.  She admitted she wasn't sure but I told her that the refractor did not use mirrors but had lenses.  Then we were talking about the renovations of the Clark.  I asked her how they were going and when it would be open again.  So I know we were talking about the Clark but I think perhaps she must have gotten mixed up with the 42" mirror you are talking about but it sounded like something had just cracked and the Lowell just made a new one.  It didn't sound like anything from the 60's she was referring to.  I told her I was surprised if they could make the lenses for the Clark there at Lowell.  I don't want to get her in trouble.  There were a lot of questions thrown at her at once so I think she just got here facts mixed up.  There was a group directly behind me that was very loud and obnoxious.  Great they were having a good time but it made it difficult for us to hear anything and perhaps that got to our host too :)

 

Perhaps it was you (a few months ago) or someone else at the Lowell who mentioned to me that the McAllister wasn't in the best condition and if I recall needs to be cleaned or is it out of collimation or both?  So the view of Jupiter wasn't that good that night (compared to my Tec 180FL earlier).  It could have been my eyes though.  I wore my contacts that night and sometimes I will wear my glasses but the views also aren't that good with glasses because they are scratched.  When I view at home I don't use glasses or contacts but I can't do that at public events because it would be so out of focus.  I can't wait to view through the new Clark!

 

I also enjoyed talking with Klaus and some other scope operators.  I missed Klaus's astrophotography talk unfortunately but I told him I was out with my scope at home and was viewing the Alpine Valley Rille on the moon for the first time and I couldn't leave my scope.  It was a major accomplishment for me to see it.  The seeing was really good in our neighborhood that night.



#18 Mike G.

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 09:51 AM

Wow!  I remember visiting the Observatory about 10 years ago and seeing the Clark in place, the unique wooden dome with the automobile wheels for movement. was during the day so didn't get a chance to look through the magnificent Clark Scope. its great to know that it has been rejuvenated and will be seeing use for many more years.

 

just being old doesn't make you useless! (I keep telling my wife)



#19 jwheel

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 10:12 AM

Wow!



#20 Kfrank

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 10:49 AM

I visited the Lowell yesterday.  I talked to someone there and they said the lenses of the Clark are being made new and that one cracked and had to be done again.  Is that right?  And that the lenses are being made right there at Lowell.  I am anxious to look through the new Clark!

 

The  ( original ) optics ( lenses ) are what make an Alvan Clark telescope, An Alvan Clark telescope.  



#21 rockethead26

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 10:52 AM

Thanks Jim.  Yes I had a great time.  I waited in a long line to view Jupiter in the McAllister.  I enjoyed talking with a couple who didn't know much about viewing and the skies and it was fun for me to explain what I know to them.  There was a younger lady walking the line offering to answer questions while we were waiting and I heard her talk about the "mirror" cracking in the Clark so I asked her if she meant the lens.  She admitted she wasn't sure but I told her that the refractor did not use mirrors but had lenses.  Then we were talking about the renovations of the Clark.  I asked her how they were going and when it would be open again.  So I know we were talking about the Clark but I think perhaps she must have gotten mixed up with the 42" mirror you are talking about but it sounded like something had just cracked and the Lowell just made a new one.  It didn't sound like anything from the 60's she was referring to.  I told her I was surprised if they could make the lenses for the Clark there at Lowell.  I don't want to get her in trouble.  There were a lot of questions thrown at her at once so I think she just got here facts mixed up.  There was a group directly behind me that was very loud and obnoxious.  Great they were having a good time but it made it difficult for us to hear anything and perhaps that got to our host too :)

 

Perhaps it was you (a few months ago) or someone else at the Lowell who mentioned to me that the McAllister wasn't in the best condition and if I recall needs to be cleaned or is it out of collimation or both?  So the view of Jupiter wasn't that good that night (compared to my Tec 180FL earlier).  It could have been my eyes though.  I wore my contacts that night and sometimes I will wear my glasses but the views also aren't that good with glasses because they are scratched.  When I view at home I don't use glasses or contacts but I can't do that at public events because it would be so out of focus.  I can't wait to view through the new Clark!

 

I also enjoyed talking with Klaus and some other scope operators.  I missed Klaus's astrophotography talk unfortunately but I told him I was out with my scope at home and was viewing the Alpine Valley Rille on the moon for the first time and I couldn't leave my scope.  It was a major accomplishment for me to see it.  The seeing was really good in our neighborhood that night.

 

Glad you had a good time. I think the girl at the McAllister may have just been overwhelmed. We had about 850 visitors Saturday night, a new record.

 

Yes, the McAllister is due to be recoated after we get the Clark back on line. Our 16" Discovery provides much better views, but folks love being in the dome with the computer controlled telescope. Thanks for you and your group coming out and helping with the Dark Skies celebration.



#22 Kent10

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 11:02 AM

 

I visited the Lowell yesterday.  I talked to someone there and they said the lenses of the Clark are being made new and that one cracked and had to be done again.  Is that right?  And that the lenses are being made right there at Lowell.  I am anxious to look through the new Clark!

 

The  ( original ) optics ( lenses ) are what make an Alvan Clark telescope, An Alvan Clark telescope.  

 

:) Yes that is exactly what I told her.  That sure would be something if the Lowell staff could easily make new lenses to replace cracked ones any time.  Probably a cracked lens on the Clark would be irreplaceable.  Or would that be something someone could and would do.  I wonder who.



#23 rockethead26

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 05:22 PM

 

 

I visited the Lowell yesterday.  I talked to someone there and they said the lenses of the Clark are being made new and that one cracked and had to be done again.  Is that right?  And that the lenses are being made right there at Lowell.  I am anxious to look through the new Clark!

 

The  ( original ) optics ( lenses ) are what make an Alvan Clark telescope, An Alvan Clark telescope.  

 

:) Yes that is exactly what I told her.  That sure would be something if the Lowell staff could easily make new lenses to replace cracked ones any time.  Probably a cracked lens on the Clark would be irreplaceable.  Or would that be something someone could and would do.  I wonder who.

 

 

I'm not sure anyone is left who could do a 24" doublet. Not worried though, the refurbed Clark has at least another 100 years in it. :D



#24 Rick Woods

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Posted 31 March 2015 - 01:16 AM

I don't think the 24" is cracked. It's always been treated with the utmost care. It's one of the finest large refractors on Earth.

 

The McAllister telescope is, as far as I know, just not a very good telescope. I've looked through it a few times, and my Meade 14" SCT gives a better image.



#25 rockethead26

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Posted 31 March 2015 - 09:36 AM

The McAllister telescope is, as far as I know, just not a very good telescope. I've looked through it a few times, and my Meade 14" SCT gives a better image.

 

It will be again after we get the work done on it later this year. There is a serious coating issue on the secondary causing the issue. We couldn't take it out of service yet as the Clark has been out of commission for 15 months and we didn't want to have both scopes down at the same time.

 

Hopefully, by the end of this year, the McAllister will be back to "research quality".




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