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Passing of the 9" Clark refractor

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#1 Ziggy943


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Posted 25 December 2015 - 02:17 PM

Last night, as is our tradition brought over from Germany, we celebrated Christmas. I have realized over the last few years that I could no longer set up the 9" Clark by myself. I needed the help of my son Rob.  I had long ago determined that this telescope would, someday, go to my son, probably as an inheritance.  But sometime during this year, which was the centennial year, I resolved that, NO, rather than an inheritance, I would gift it to him this year and decided to do it at Christmas. For us, that was yesterday.


It is amazing how much weight the mount and all the pieces that go together have gained. It wasn't just me. My back just isn't good enough that I trust myself anymore. This telescope shaped my interest in astronomy. I learned the things that a telescope like this does well. I have seen Enke's division, split Sirius, see the b-c components of Gamma Andromeda, have seen many mutual events of Jupiter's satellites, and so much more.


The telescope will be in good hands. Rob has watched me or helped me set it up for many years. He has learned my system. He is young and strong. He is just a touch older than I was when this telescope came my way in 1978.  I'm a proud Dad, love my son and will be happy to see him with it. It was time.

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Edited by Ziggy943, 25 December 2015 - 03:03 PM.




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Posted 25 December 2015 - 02:22 PM

Great - I hope you put in a stipulation that Rob continues to bring it to the Bryce Canyon Astronomy Festival!

#3 mgwhittle


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Posted 25 December 2015 - 02:52 PM

Wonderful story!  I'm glad to see such a magnificent instrument will stay in the family and be appreciated in the years to come.  Merry Christmas!

#4 mikey cee

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Posted 25 December 2015 - 04:13 PM

Zig you and son Rob need a second pic with the passing of the lens too! :p  Mike

Edited by mikey cee, 25 December 2015 - 08:09 PM.

#5 junomike



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Posted 25 December 2015 - 04:38 PM

What an excellent way to "pass down" an amazing piece!

Now you and your Son can BOTH enjoy it (as his)  for years to come.

This also makes the "Changing of the Guard" less bitter sweet  which would have obviously been the case with an inheritance.



#6 BillP



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Posted 25 December 2015 - 08:28 PM



Congrats on taking the reigns of this part of American telescope history. Wishing you many decades of observing with it and exploring the heavans.   :bow:

#7 rguasto



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Posted 25 December 2015 - 08:39 PM

Beautiful story Ziggy. We should all be so fortunate.

Merry Christmas. 


#8 Cotts


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Posted 26 December 2015 - 09:52 AM

Very clever.  You get your son to do all the 'heavy lifting' then you do the observing!!!


"Oh, did you want to see this?"





#9 Jeff B

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Posted 26 December 2015 - 12:02 PM

When I first saw the title of this thread Ziggy, I thought "Oh no, something bad happened to the lens".


But I see something wonderful and touching has happened instead.



#10 turnerjs085



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Posted 26 December 2015 - 12:13 PM

Something special about a scope that will outlive us all.. May it stay in your family for many generations :)


#11 rwiederrich



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Posted 26 December 2015 - 12:35 PM

Great story Zigster....keeping it in the family is an amazing tribute to the builder as well as the family.....

Nice to see your son has picked up the mantle.......Astronomy is an amazing hobby...I have a grand daughter and now a new grandson I wish to introduce to astronomy.



#12 BillP



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Posted 26 December 2015 - 06:13 PM



Do you know the history of the lens?  Its previous owners and who Clark made it for?

#13 Colin exraaf

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Posted 26 December 2015 - 09:24 PM

That's a really nice story.....



#14 Ziggy943


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Posted 27 December 2015 - 12:29 AM

Thanks for all the kind comments.


It was made in 1915 for the University of Utah. It is a late Lundin lens. All of the Clarks were gone. The U of U disassembled it sometime between 1962 and May of 1965. At some point it was a white elephant donation to the College of Eastern Utah. That is where I acquired it. The college had no use for it nor the budget to house it and build a proper observatory for it.

I had used it numerous times at its original location at the U of U. It was in its own observatory on campus. My history with this telescope goes back to about 1959/1960. I have owned it since 1978. Rob was born in '77.

Edited by Ziggy943, 27 December 2015 - 12:29 AM.

#15 ed_turco



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Posted 27 December 2015 - 11:54 AM

That had to be a very sweet moment for you and your son.





#16 Axunator


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Posted 29 December 2015 - 02:11 PM

That was one nice Christmas story  :blush:! Very happy for both of you, great that you can keep that beautiful piece of art in loving hands!

#17 City Kid

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 11:16 AM

Great story. I've given a lot of thought to the things I want to pass down, both astronomy related and not, and my hope is to pass a lot of it down while I'm still alive just like you did. I have been on the receiving end of both inheritance after a death and gifts handed down prior to death and I can tell you that it creates a much happier memory to receive the inheritance as a gift while the giver is alive. Again, great story.

#18 Rocket Ron

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 11:23 AM

Such a touching story. Congrats!


(Let Rob know I'm up for adoption)

#19 george tatsis

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 12:42 PM

What I like more about this story is that Ziggy is lucky enough to have a son interested in Astronomy to take advantage of this once-


in- a- lifetime gift. Congrats guys!  :applause: 


My humble scopes are not of this caliber, but I would be very happy if my kids ever decided to put them to good use.



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