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The Leviathan of Parsonstown

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#1 bumm

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 10:12 PM

I ran across this delightful picture of the Earl of Rosse's 72 inch Leviathan Telescope on the title page of an old book "Wonders of the Heavens Illustrated - The Stars." It was the largest telescope in the world from 1845 until 1917. There are plenty of pictures of the old scope around, but this one is just... nice...

                                                                                                                                  Marty

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Edited by bumm, 06 October 2017 - 10:12 PM.

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#2 George N

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 01:03 PM

A few years ago I met a family from Ireland vacationing in the USA. They said that they had looked thru the refurb'ed "Leviathan". However, they were not amateur astronomers, so I was unable to glean anything meaningful from them about its current capabilities.


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#3 ascii

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 03:24 PM

Nice bit of history, Marty.  Of course there is a Wikipedia article:

 

https://en.m.wikiped...of_Parsonstown#

 

An interesting tidbit from the article is that the reconstructed mirror is not made of aluminized glass, but of aluminum metal.  This was an attempt to be somewhat like the original speculum mirror, but using aluminum as a more modern substitute.


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#4 goodricke1

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 05:33 PM

A few years ago I met a family from Ireland vacationing in the USA. They said that they had looked thru the refurb'ed "Leviathan". However, they were not amateur astronomers, so I was unable to glean anything meaningful from them about its current capabilities.

The refurbished Leviathan was never accessible to the public, mainly due to insurance reasons, and now - for diverse reasons ranging from hydraulics to ownership - it is non-operational. But the Birr Castle location remains a hotbed of astro research -

 

http://lofar.ie/



#5 starquake

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 03:22 AM

Thanks for this post. I think I've already seen this image in some other books from Ball, I remember the couple at the bottom, but I cannot recall any color reproduction. The whole story of this telescope is probably the finest example when money and dedication to science meets.


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#6 bumm

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 08:05 AM

Thanks for this post. I think I've already seen this image in some other books from Ball, I remember the couple at the bottom, but I cannot recall any color reproduction. The whole story of this telescope is probably the finest example when money and dedication to science meets.

I think the color was what made the picture pop for me.  :)  I'm big on what might be called "astronomical charm," which is probably part of what attracts me to OLD books.  

     Lord Rosse was evidently a heck of an engineer, figuring out how to cast and figure the huge speculum metal mirrors.  My impression from what I've read is that the mirrors, which had to be changed and polished frequently, at first were superb, giving excellent images.  Later, after many years of repolishing, it probably deteriorated somewhat, still showing DSO's better than smaller telescopes, but losing some of it's resolution.  It was obviously never good at measuring exact positions, which could occasionally draw some criticism at a time when positional astronomy was for many professionals "what it was all about." 

                                                                                                                                                      Marty



#7 Cali

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 10:01 PM

The Leviathan of Parsonstown. Wow!

 

- Cal


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#8 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 07:14 AM

Marty, an excellent thread, thanks for posting. waytogo.gif

 

Rich (RLTYS)


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