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Project Moonwatch

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#1 starman876

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Posted 09 June 2015 - 09:28 PM

Over the years people have provided pictures of a lot of different satellite scopes that were sold for this project. I know Dave Trott has a few.

 

I am hoping that someone has the Micronta model which either looks like a knock off of the Edmunds unit or visa versa.

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=yj42-0UhCpg

 

Hopefully, we can get others to provide pictures of the other satellite scopes that were sold during the 50's.

 

I will post a picture of my Unitron satellite scope later. 

 

http://www.skyandtel...ject-moonwatch/

 

http://siarchives.si.../siris_sic_9832

 

http://xtra.xavier.e...yes-on-the-sky/

 

http://www.patrickmc...tion-moonwatch/

 

http://history.nasa....2/chapter6.html

 

https://www.rose-hul...-moonwatch.html

 

http://history.cap.g...ogram/capc1950s

 

the above are some of the links to websites that provide information on project moonwatch.


Edited by starman876, 09 June 2015 - 09:41 PM.

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#2 deepwoods1

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Posted 09 June 2015 - 11:31 PM

Interesting stuff from an interesting time. Now we can find video of the ISS with an Astronaut performing an EVA. Attached are images of a Swift 816 TECNAR Satellite Scope. Thanks for the links!

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#3 Chuck Hards

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 06:51 AM

Interesting that the TECNAR uses some of the same castings as the OBSERVER, but can be set-up in true equatorial mode.  In use, Moonwatch scopes are simply transit telescopes, for recording the elevation of the satellite as it crosses the meridian, as timed by the observer.  But the TECNAR can be used as a full astronomical telescope.  Cool.

 

I've discovered that the mirror in my OBSERVER needs re-aluminizing.  I"ll be paying NOVA optical a visit soon.  


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#4 deepwoods1

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 09:29 AM

Do you have an image of the Observer? I can't find one on the web. Curiously there's no mention of the equatorial adjustment in the instructions. I'd be happy to supply a PDF of them if anyone wants. Clear and Steady skies, Dave.

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#5 Chuck Hards

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 09:45 AM

Observer instruction sheet:

 

Observer 001.jpg

 

The Observer Satellite scope:

 

Observer 004.jpg

 

Box label:

 

Observer 003.jpg

 

Tube engraving:

 

Observer 002.jpg


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#6 Ken Launie

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 09:52 AM

Interesting that the TECNAR uses some of the same castings as the OBSERVER, but can be set-up in true equatorial mode.  In use, Moonwatch scopes are simply transit telescopes, for recording the elevation of the satellite as it crosses the meridian, as timed by the observer.  But the TECNAR can be used as a full astronomical telescope.  Cool.

 

I've discovered that the mirror in my OBSERVER needs re-aluminizing.  I"ll be paying NOVA optical a visit soon.  

Yes, I have both the Tecnar in its (cardboard) box as well as the Observer, and there's no question that they share common base and pillar castings/parts, though my Observer has four holes in the base that the Tecnar does not. Also, the tube assemblies of those two are completely different, so who knows if they were made completely by the same maker or if the castings went to more than one outfit. My Tasco satellite scope differs in other ways, as it's an elbow telescope on a small tripod, both with painted grey wrinkle finish. It came in a flashy purple cardboard box with gold lettering. Quite a few companies made them, seeing the market opportunity, and plans were published for amateurs to make their own.

 

Here's the link I posted recently about Fred Whipple's Micronta satellite scope, now part of Harvard's Collection of Historic Scientific Instruments:

http://tinyurl.com/ns446sy

 

Whipple (of "icy snowball" comet fame) was the founder and director of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's Moonwatch program, based at Harvard, and he had to convince a very skeptical military and others that amateurs could make valuable contributions. I don't know if he had other Moonwatch scopes besides the Micronta, though I suspect he did.

 

--Ken


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#7 starman876

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 11:07 AM

I really wonder how many satillite scopes were made. Also, it seems there were a lot of home made satillite scopes. I hope that someone still has their home made satillite scope and will post a picture.

The funny thing is that I was a kid when sputnik was launched. I remember a group of us would gather outside and watch it go overhead. It was small, but we could see it. We were all fascinated by this marvel of the space age.

There are still times when I am looking at the sky with a telescope and a satillite crosses my path of view. I am sure many of you have experienced that????????
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#8 deepwoods1

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 01:19 PM

 Observer instruction sheet:

 

Observer 001.jpg

 

 

Box label:

 

Observer 003.jpg

 

The Observer Satellite Scope:

 

Observer 004.jpg

What's the specs on this? Me likey the red box!



#9 combatdad

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 02:00 PM

Great thread Johann!

 

Here are a couple additional references on Moonwatch for those interested in the history:

 

http://www.universet...tion-moonwatch/

 

https://en.wikipedia...ation_Moonwatch

 

And Patrick McCray has written a book:

 

"Keep Watching the Skies!: The Story of Operation Moonwatch and the Dawn of the Space Age", published by Princeton Press: 

http://press.princet...itles/8645.html

 

Dave



#10 starman876

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 02:44 PM

 

 Observer instruction sheet:
 
Observer 001.jpg
 
 
Box label:
 
Observer 003.jpg
 
The Observer Satellite Scope:
 
Observer 004.jpg

What's the specs on this? Me likey the red box!

 

That red box is to kill for. I want one.



#11 Chuck Hards

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 02:45 PM



 

 

What's the specs on this? Me likey the red box!

 

Here are the Observer Specifications, engraved on the side of the OTA:

 

Observer 002.jpg

 



 

And Patrick McCray has written a book:

 

"Keep Watching the Skies!: The Story of Operation Moonwatch and the Dawn of the Space Age", published by Princeton Press: 

http://press.princet...itles/8645.html

 

Dave

 

One of Johann's links is to McCray's website.  I'm a little over halfway through that book.  Terrific history, though McCray does get just a tad repetitious in the first half.  Lots of familiar names in there.  Recommended reading for anyone interested in Moonwatch.



#12 starman876

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 03:12 PM

 

Anyone here have the 20 x 120 Moonwatch Apogee telescope, like the one linked to below?
Walter Scott Houston had one, it is pictured in the book version of Deep Sky Wonders.
 
http://www.geocities.../moonwatch1.jpg


I thought someone here just scored one on Ebay because no one knew what it was.

#13 Chuck Hards

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 04:23 PM

I bid pretty high on it, but someone sniped it for well  over five hundred.  Too much for this guy.  Nobody here has admitted to winning it.



#14 starman876

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 04:41 PM

the Unitron satellite scope

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#15 starman876

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 04:42 PM

inside the box

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#16 starman876

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 04:46 PM

scope set up

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#17 Cometeer

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 07:00 PM

scope set up

post-44298-0-52844900-1433972798.jpg

 

It's...it's...beautiful..... :blush:


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#18 starman876

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 07:33 PM

 

scope set up

post-44298-0-52844900-1433972798.jpg

 

It's...it's...beautiful..... :blush:

 

thank you


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#19 davidmcgo

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 08:28 PM

 

Anyone here have the 20 x 120 Moonwatch Apogee telescope, like the one linked to below?
Walter Scott Houston had one, it is pictured in the book version of Deep Sky Wonders.
 
http://www.geocities.../moonwatch1.jpg


I thought someone here just scored one on Ebay because no one knew what it was.

 

I almost bid on that one, it was listed as a large navy weapons telescope or something like that.  I ended up not because I figure my AP130 with a 50mm Axiom or 40mm XW will completely outclass it but I kept debating right up to the end before I decided to stay out of the bidding.

 

Dave


Edited by davidmcgo, 10 June 2015 - 08:29 PM.


#20 clamchip

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 08:47 PM

That Unitron is marvelous wow. Wonderful little bundle of precision.
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#21 Ken Launie

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 11:55 PM

Over the years people have provided pictures of a lot of different satellite scopes that were sold for this project. I know Dave Trott has a few.

 

<SNIP>

 

Hopefully, we can get others to provide pictures of the other satellite scopes that were sold during the 50's.

 

Here are a couple photos of my Tasco Imperial 7 x 40 Satellite Telescope. It came in a purple/blue box with a fuzzy texture on the outside that really loves dust, even in a fairly well sealed display case. I'll add a photo of a different one in a minute, too.

--Ken

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#22 Ken Launie

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 12:05 AM

And here's a Milben (Satellite) "Telescope for Young Scientists". You'll see that this looks to be at the bargain priced end of the spectrum. There's a world of difference between this one and the others shown so far. No information on the box or in the instruction sheet about any specs for the scope apart from "4.5X":

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#23 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 05:23 AM

All these Moonwatch scopes are absolutely beautiful.  :waytogo:

 

Rich (RLTYS)


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#24 Chuck Hards

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 06:30 AM

I'm amazed that Milben actually made something useful.  Terrific thread.  



#25 fjs

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 07:25 AM

Cool stuff! Thanks for all the pictures.




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