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Who made the the biggest SCT ever? Celestron?

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#26 Phil Cowell

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Posted 30 May 2016 - 08:39 PM

Hopefully the weight of the thing gave the thief a rupture that took them out of the breeding pool.

 

 

 

One of the Celestron C22's was at a theme park in upstate NY, Time Town, for a number of years.  Never looked through it though when I was a kid.  That park was shut at least 40 years ago.  I always wondered what happen to the scope. 

 

Kevin

 

If I recall, that one went missing...stolen apparently. Bob P. has the whole story in his book.

 

 

Might be worth a read just for that local connection.  Funny though, wasn't there a serial number and such.  Not like you can stuff one of these away in a closet or under the bed.  ;)

 

Kevin

 



#27 Tak North

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Posted 01 June 2016 - 01:47 AM

 

 

 

One of the Celestron C22's was at a theme park in upstate NY, Time Town, for a number of years.  Never looked through it though when I was a kid.  That park was shut at least 40 years ago.  I always wondered what happen to the scope. 

 

Kevin

 

If I recall, that one went missing...stolen apparently. Bob P. has the whole story in his book.

 

 

Might be worth a read just for that local connection.  Funny though, wasn't there a serial number and such.  Not like you can stuff one of these away in a closet or under the bed.  ;)

 

Kevin

 

 

 

Sadly it is doubtful the thief was into astronomy. It is most likely someone stole it because it would be a fun this to smash at a local quarry. Some simple minds derive great pleasure from such senseless destruction. 

 

 

Apparently there is still much mystery surrounding this.  The scope sat peacefully undisturbed until the owner  - Ted Yund - decided to close the park in 77-78 and put an ad in S&T advertising to the world that it was available.  Coincidentally the scope turned up missing the next summer after the park had been closed over that winter.  Also, the scope had been unbolted and expertly removed with no surrounding damage demonstrating detailed knowledge and care of how to disassemble and move the 1200 lb beast.  

 

At the time this was a big deal.  Multiple ads with rewards posted in S&T, police searches,  even Tom Johnson of Celestron got involved to keep a look out for any suspicious inquiries about a C22. But the case was never solved.  To this day someone may still have an unknown C22 in their private observatory!


Edited by Tak North, 01 June 2016 - 01:52 AM.

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#28 Mordakyblu

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Posted 01 June 2016 - 03:42 PM

 

 

Celestron had a C14, I think in the mid-seventies. If memory serves.

 

Newsflash for those just waking up from a 20-year snooze - Celestron still makes the C14.

 

:lol:

 

Mike

That be a forty year snooze for those of us who can add


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#29 Dwight J

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Posted 02 June 2016 - 02:30 AM

 

 

 

Celestron had a C14, I think in the mid-seventies. If memory serves.

 

Newsflash for those just waking up from a 20-year snooze - Celestron still makes the C14.

 

:lol:

 

Mike

That be a forty year snooze for those of us who can add

 

Rip Van Winkle


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#30 mitsos68

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 01:31 AM

Hi
A C22 was advertised in S&T June 1992 as available for sale from the Diffraction Limited Company (contact name Mr B. Anderson) for USD 50.000.
Regards
Dimitris

#31 mitsos68

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 01:32 AM

For the a/m scope I can not find any further info.


Edited by mitsos68, 18 June 2016 - 02:34 AM.


#32 cam1936

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 09:25 AM

Anyone know how many of the 20" Meade were made and how long they made them for? Seems like they put a lot of R&D into that thing for what looks like a short and limited production run. Did they have problems?
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#33 Ettu

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 11:08 AM

Anyone know how many of the 20" Meade were made and how long they made them for? Seems like they put a lot of R&D into that thing for what looks like a short and limited production run. Did they have problems?

 

I don't know how many were made, but I do know that Meade made and considered it their best ever.

A well respected amateur from the days of the Meade MAPUG group (Doc Greiner (sp)) either bought one or was seriously considering buying one. He was an expert in vibration analysis, with access to the equipment to do it with, and the knowledge of how to use it. For his purposes, the Meade 16", which I believe Meade considers their observatory class quality offering then and now, didn't measure up. Not that the 16" isn't a very excellent scope, it just didn't meet his qualifications. The last I remember of his conversation with Meade was their saying they'd take back  the 16", and he (Doc) would Not be disappointed with the 20". Which at that time was just ready for going into production. The MAPUG group broke up, and I never did hear the end of the story. Although I did hear hints that Doc may have just purchased the 20" OTA, and a different brand mount. (?) Anyway, it is my impression that Meade made every effort to spare no expense or effort to make the ultimate 20" SCT, for that period.


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#34 cam1936

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 11:15 AM

That is very interesting information. The review linked earlier in this thread had nothing but praise. What an interesting scope. I find it odd the production run was seemingly short, they obviously did a lot of R&D to make such a beast. Just a dollars and cents thing I would imagine.

#35 Ettu

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 12:05 PM

There's maybe been a link to the info here already, but I do believe they wanted around or upwards from $20k for it. that may have included the fork mount. At that time there weren't as many baby boomer retiree's that were willing to spend that kind of money. Digital photography was just getting started. The weak link in all Meade's fork mount scopes is the main bearing in the base. Doc's extensive and detailed analysis proved that no matter how well you cleaned up all the other issues, eventually you would be limited by vibrations originating with the capability of that bearing, Running a bolt into it as part of mounting it on a wedge was as good as you could do to help it. Apparently Meade was aware of, and greatly improved that issue with the 20". How much? Doc's the only guy I know who would have been able to tell us.



#36 GJJim

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 08:55 AM

There's maybe been a link to the info here already, but I do believe they wanted around or upwards from $20k for it. that may have included the fork mount. At that time there weren't as many baby boomer retiree's that were willing to spend that kind of money. Digital photography was just getting started. The weak link in all Meade's fork mount scopes is the main bearing in the base. Doc's extensive and detailed analysis proved that no matter how well you cleaned up all the other issues, eventually you would be limited by vibrations originating with the capability of that bearing, Running a bolt into it as part of mounting it on a wedge was as good as you could do to help it. Apparently Meade was aware of, and greatly improved that issue with the 20". How much? Doc's the only guy I know who would have been able to tell us.

IIRC, Meade offered the RCX 20 on their MaxMount which is a German equatorial. No one in their right mind would consider putting a scope this heavy on a Meade wedge/fork.


Edited by GJJim, 20 June 2016 - 08:56 AM.


#37 skywatcher3000

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Posted 22 June 2016 - 03:43 PM

I’d like to make some corrections and additions to what has been posted here:

First, I personally owned a C22 back in the early nineties. I bought it from an industrial surplus company that had gotten it and a lot of other equipment from an aerospace company that closed their space systems division near Los Angeles back in 1989. As a professional optical engineer with many contacts in the aerospace industry, I was in the right place at the right time and with the financial resources available to acquire it. Unfortunately, I had to put it up for sale before I had chance to finish my plans to install it in a permanent observatory in a dark location here in SoCal. My wife had gotten some severe health problems (that turned out to be terminal), and we needed the funds to pay for medical bills and such. I did set up the scope on a temporary Alt-Az platform that could be dragged out to be able to check it out. Unfortunately, it had a cast iron mirror cell (the OTA seemed to weigh a ton) that took forever to stabilize. I did get the scope interferometrically tested at an optical lab. It turned out to have an optical figure of 1/5 wave peak-to-valley. Not bad for a telescope of this size and complexity. It would be pretty much seeing-limited, anyway, due to local atmospheric seeing conditions, rather than the optical figure being the limiting factor most of the time. Of course, it wasn’t meant to be a planet-killer, but a general purpose scope. Since it was going to be in a permanent observatory dedicated to astrophotography, I ordered a very high quality equatorial mount in the place of the low-quality Celestron that had to be scrapped. I ended up selling the scope and new mount to a wealthy Texan, who prefers his anonymity (he is not on the CN Forums, nor any other).

Dimitris is right in his post from a few days ago about seeing our ad for the sale of it in an issue of Sky & Tel from the early nineties!! My friend and former business partner is Bill Anderson of Diffraction Limited (no connection with Cyanogen) in Tucson, Arizona. He is, ironically, one of the very few professional opticians who fabricates Schmidt plates using the original vacuum method (as prescribed by Schmidt, himself) and became a specialist in fabrication of Schmidt systems back in the late seventies. He originally worked at the Kitt Peak Observtory Optical Shop for a number of years before starting his own business. He opened up his own shop when he got the method of fabricating Schmidt plates down to a an efficient and cost effective process, which he could use as an advantage in the fabrication of Schmidt systems to sell to amateurs and professionals, alike. Eventually the shop was closed in the early nineties during an economic recession at the time that greatly affected his business. He eventually went to work for the Univ. of Ariz. Optical Sciences Center Optics Lab for the long term (where he still works).

While he worked at his own firm, he fabricated quite a number of Schmidt systems for a variety of amateur, commercial and scientific applications. The largest Schmidt type scopes that he ever made were two different types of 20” aperture Schmidt-Cassegrain scopes (of my own design) for a university in the Middle East!! Plans were made to build a series of 24” aperture Schmidt-Cassegrain scopes, but, unfortunately, an outside investor in the project eventually pulled-out before any of the optics were completed. As a side note, Bill also became noted for the fabrication of the original SimMak scopes (Maksutov-Cassegrain scopes of unique design) that were originally designed by Mike Simmons back in the late seventies. Just for the record, Mike quit working with Bill after a short time and went to work for Jim Riffle of AstroWorks. They came out with another series of Mak-Cass scopes known as the AstroMak, which became fairly prominent back in the eighties. Later, Mike went to work for Celestron and designed the original Compustar series, for which he became famous for. After that he disappeared from the astronomy world to pursue his own interests.

Anyway, my friend Bill had fabricated the optics for a number of classic Schmidt cameras as well as a variety of Schmidt-Cass scopes (including Baker Flat-Field designs and variations of them) mostly for photographic applications with film in the 6” to 20” aperture range. Of course, now, there is little call for such systems these days, and this is just another interesting facet in the history of telescope systems for amateur and professional astronomers.

As far as knowing about other C22 scopes in use at observatories around the country, I know that the Denver Museum of Natural History originally had one installed at their observatory. But, they had it converted a number of years ago to a Ritchey-Chretien system (due to problems with the original optical system). I also know of one in a private observatory at the home of a wealthy individual, whom I understand is the president of a bank, in the foothills above Reno, Nevada. I know that he actually made arrangements with a nearby college to allow the astronomy students to occasionally use his observatory. He also has a Celestron 14” Schmidt camera piggybacked on the C22!! I have also heard of a C22 in private hands on the East coast, but know little details of it.

As has been pointed out here, Meade did make a few 20” aperture Schmidt cameras a number of years ago, but only a handful. They also did a make a few 20” aperture Schmidt-Cass scopes. Unfortunately, I never got to see them, or meet any of the owners, so I don’t know any details.

Please excuse me for being a bit long-winded here, but I wanted to present everything involved with my own experience with some of the large Schmidt systems that I have had the privilege to own and/or work with.


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#38 Ptkacik

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 09:50 PM

Skywatcher3000:

That is a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing it.

Peter

#39 TCW

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 11:15 PM

As far as I know the C22 near Reno was up for sale several years ago, the ad was on the old version of Cloudy nights.



#40 skywatcher3000

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 12:08 AM

On seeing the post that TCW made, I did some research and found this article about the C22 being transferred to the University of Nevada at Reno after the original owner, whom I had mentioned in my previous post, had passed away in recent years. So, the C22 is now in a permanent observatory to be used for educational purposes for the long-term. See this news article for details:

http://wheredoyoucel.../celestron-c22/

 

That was a wonderful donation that the family made!! We now know where one will be kept in good running condition and is being used for education and research!!



#41 Struzzin

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Posted 05 July 2016 - 10:19 PM

This pic is right from the Meade general catalog. Yeah it was from a few years back but I'm pretty sure it still holds true. So yes the answer is the Meade 16" SCT as the RCX20 was never mass produced either.

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#42 rmollise

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Posted 07 July 2016 - 09:51 AM

This pic is right from the Meade general catalog. Yeah it was from a few years back but I'm pretty sure it still holds true. So yes the answer is the Meade 16" SCT as the RCX20 was never mass produced either.

 

Well, yeah, it was the largest "production" SCT at the time a flak wrote this piece, but both Meade and Celestron have sold larger ones before and since. And was no more a "production" item than the C22 was.  ;)

 

The 16 was hardly "mass produced," which is probably why it was never consistently better. The 14 Meade is a great telescope. The 16? Sometimes not. As I've said before, I don't think they ever made enough to get good at it. ;)


Edited by rmollise, 07 July 2016 - 09:55 AM.

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#43 gnowellsct

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 10:49 AM

Do any of these scopes ever need to be recoated?

#44 garret

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 11:39 AM

 

Do any of these scopes ever need to be recoated?

Can you remove both mirrors of the 22" Celestron and other big SCT for a recoat? 

 

Garret

 



#45 gnowellsct

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 09:50 PM

 

 

Do any of these scopes ever need to be recoated?

Can you remove both mirrors of the 22" Celestron and other big SCT for a recoat? 

 

Garret

 

 

Truth be told it ain't even easy to remove a c8 mirror for a recoat and get it put together right.  GN



#46 skywatcher3000

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 12:19 AM

As you can imagine, it's a major and costly project!!!



#47 TCW

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 06:54 PM

Check out OWL for SCT repairs and recoating.  http://www.opticwavelabs.com/



#48 gnowellsct

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 10:57 PM

I thought these guys made the largest SCT telescope



#49 Michael Covington

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 11:40 PM

Wow, I liked that Meade 20" story and am glad they made it so well. I too, wonder how many of those monsters were made (or the C-22's).

My C-11 on a DX mount is a monster, I can't imagine what it takes to lift 200 pounds onto a dovetail seven feet in the air. Ha! A crane.

Clear skies,
Peter

 

They need to supply a hoist (like an engine hoist) with the telescope!  One-man setup, with enough tools!



#50 Michael Covington

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 11:51 PM

 

That is a Schmidt, not a Schmidt-Cassegrain.  The image is formed on a camera inside the tube.  There is no eyepiece at the back.




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