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John Mallas' 4" Unitron

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#1 Tim Hager

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 04:42 PM

The last couple of nights I've been perusing my limited collection of Review of Popular Astronomy magazines from the 1960's.  I've particularly been attracted by the excerpts from Mallas' Observer's Catalog of Celestial Objects in the later issues.  The catalog as far as I know has never been published in its complete form. The observations for the catalog and for the more famous Messier Album series in Sky and Telescope and the book of the same name were made with a four inch Unitron refractor.  Mallas passed away in 1975.  Does anyone know what happened to the 4 inch Unitron and if it survives, where it is today?

 

....Tim


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#2 Chuck Hards

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 04:57 PM

Tim, one of our members actually met and spent some time talking to Mallas' collaborator on the Messier Album, Evered Kreimer, before Kreimer passed away.  Maybe you could contact the member and see if he could shed some light on it?

 

LINK  to thread


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#3 jim kuhns

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 05:14 PM

Question here, a bit off the subject. Did  Evered Kreimer  have a article in S&T in the mid  1960's pertaining to a

cold camera? some how that name rings a bell.



#4 Tim Hager

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 06:00 PM

Chuck,

Thanks for the lead and I've PM'd Justin to see if Kreimer mentioned anything else about Mallas' instrument or his unpublished manuscript.

Tim
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#5 Tim Hager

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 06:03 PM

Jim,

Yes Kreimer did have an article in S&T detailing his cold camera in the 1960's.  I don't have the issue handy but I do remember it.  He used that camera to make all of the beautiful photos for The Messier Album through his 12.5" Newtonian. 

 

...Tim


Edited by Tim Hager, 28 January 2018 - 07:16 PM.


#6 terraclarke

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 06:13 PM

I remember that article! I think it was around 1966.



#7 rolo

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 07:04 PM

Jim,

Yes Kreimer did have an article in S&T detailing his cold camera in the 1960's.  I don't have the issue handy but I do remember it.  He used that camera to make all of the beautiful photos for The Messier Album thought his 12.5" Newtonian. 

 

...Tim

12.5" Cave...



#8 Chuck Hards

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 07:17 PM

I think Justin is in college now, so if it takes him some time to reply, I suspect that is the reason.  



#9 Bob S

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 08:10 PM

The article on the cooled camera by Kreimer is in the August, 1966 S & T, pp. 106-110.


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#10 terraclarke

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 09:23 PM

The article on the cooled camera by Kreimer is in the August, 1966 S & T, pp. 106-110.

Dayuumm!!! I still have my memory!!! (Post #6) :lol:


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#11 jim kuhns

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 12:52 AM

Thanks gang for the replies. I remember when I read the article at that time how unique a camera he had made.

I know a few years later a number of companies came out with commerce ones, Celestron. All you added was dry icecoldday.gif .


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#12 Piggyback

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 02:23 AM

Oh yes, I do remember the infamous Celestron Williams cold camera. That thing drove me nuts. I was trying hard to utilize that beast but only managed to get a single blurry image out of M42 and that was it. The setup was a pita, a noburger. Breaking the dry ice into small pieces and taking care not to burn your hands from touching the steaming stuff you had to pack the cold chamber, insert a single frame of Kodak TRI X, aim the telescope, guide, open shutter, close shutter, remove single frame into a lightproof developer drum and hope for the best. The Celestron cold camera was the Edsel of telescope accessories.

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edsel


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#13 Geo31

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 06:54 AM

The Williams Cold Camera was actually pretty interesting.

 

Cold Cameras used to have to have a vacuum drawn because the dry ice would cause water crystals to form on the film, ruining the image.  By drawing a vacuum, the moisture from the air was removed.

 

The Williams Cold Camera used a Lucite plug, polished optically smooth on both sides that was used as a thermal barrier.  the film was placed against one side of the plug.  The other end was inserted into the draw tube.  The theory was that the exposure would be up by the time the exposed side of the plug frosted over.  The design was originally published in Scientific American.  I used to have a copy of the article.  Celestron licensed the design from Williams.  It eliminated the need for a vacuum chamber.

 

Anybody know which kind Kreimer used?  I'm just curious.


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#14 highfnum

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 07:26 AM

cold camera cool idea (no pun intended )

but a bit of a,kluge 

but idea of cooling off sensor 

still alive and well 

my mallincam camera  has internal auto

Peltier cooling 


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#15 deSitter

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 08:57 AM

cold camera cool idea (no pun intended )

but a bit of a,kluge 

but idea of cooling off sensor 

still alive and well 

my mallincam camera  has internal auto

Peltier cooling 

Yes but the reason was completely different for a cold camera, which was a method of inhibiting reciprocity failure (non-linear relation of exposure time to film grain density). The electronic cooler is to keep down noise by suppressing thermal electron currents.

 

-drl


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#16 Chuck Hards

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 09:19 AM

Soaking film in a "forming gas" (hypersensitzing) spelled the end of the cold camera.


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#17 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 09:33 AM

I remember Young Astronomer's inspiring thread about Kreimer. What was the whole story? Kreimer shot the photographs with his 12.5" Cave Newtonian. Did Mallas write the accompanying descriptions based on observations with a 4" Unitron refractor? Wouldn't the big Cave have had far deeper reach into these objects than the 4" Unitron? or, was the long refractor's superior contrast necessary to writing the descriptions, but the fast Cave's aperture necessary to the photographs? Were these instruments somehow more specialized back in the day?

Edited by Joe Cepleur, 30 January 2018 - 09:34 AM.


#18 Geo31

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 10:23 AM

 

cold camera cool idea (no pun intended )

but a bit of a,kluge 

but idea of cooling off sensor 

still alive and well 

my mallincam camera  has internal auto

Peltier cooling 

Yes but the reason was completely different for a cold camera, which was a method of inhibiting reciprocity failure (non-linear relation of exposure time to film grain density). The electronic cooler is to keep down noise by suppressing thermal electron currents.

 

-drl

 

It has to do with the fact film become less sensitive, the longer it is exposed.  Normally, you can trade shutter speed for focal ratio (f-stop) in a linear fashion.  IOW, the film didn't care if you gave more light through a lower f-stop or more light through longer exposure.  With reciprocity failure, the sensitivity drops like a stone.  Some 40+ years ago we had a presentation at our club meeting by someone prominent at Kodak (may have even been George Keene) on the matter.  After about 10 minutes, ASA (now ISO) 400 film had the sensitivity of ASA 10.  Without cooling the film or hypersensitizing the film, longer exposure gave diminishing returns.


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#19 Chuck Hards

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 10:47 AM

A fellow in our club used to work at Kitt Peak.  Once we ran into each other when shooting some comet now lost to memory.  I was using ASA 400, he was using ASA 100.  I asked him why he wasn't using a faster film, and he claimed that the slower film had finer grain, and it would catch-up with the 400 with a slightly longer exposure.  He was unconcerned about combatting reciprocity failure with faster film.  His shots came out about the same as mine, and with finer grain.  I switched to ASA 200 after that, figuring it was a good compromise.



#20 Geo31

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 10:49 AM

A fellow in our club used to work at Kitt Peak.  Once we ran into each other when shooting some comet now lost to memory.  I was using ASA 400, he was using ASA 100.  I asked him why he wasn't using a faster film, and he claimed that the slower film had finer grain, and it would catch-up with the 400 with a slightly longer exposure.  He was unconcerned about combatting reciprocity failure with faster film.  His shots came out about the same as mine, and with finer grain.  I switched to ASA 200 after that, figuring it was a good compromise.

He was dead-on.  It didn't take long for films of different sensitivities to essentially be the same, and as he said, he ended up with finer grain.



#21 Tim Hager

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 10:56 AM

I remember Young Astronomer's inspiring thread about Kreimer. What was the whole story? Kreimer shot the photographs with his 12.5" Cave Newtonian. Did Mallas write the accompanying descriptions based on observations with a 4" Unitron refractor? Wouldn't the big Cave have had far deeper reach into these objects than the 4" Unitron? or, was the long refractor's superior contrast necessary to writing the descriptions, but the fast Cave's aperture necessary to the photographs? Were these instruments somehow more specialized back in the day?

Joe,

Essentially the premise was that Mallas would give a sketch and verbal description of each object though a "typical" amateur instrument.  Kreimer took the photos to illustrate the articles and compare to Mallas' sketches.  However, you're correct that the photos went MUCH deeper than Mallas could visually and to my eye at least, most of the sketches bore little resemblance to the photos.   

 

Their book which was based on the series in S&T is available for very reasonable prices on the used market if you want to take a look for yourself.  There is some additional material in the book but I do think that the photos and sketches were reproduced better in the magazine.  They seem to have much more contrast in the book and the sketches seem to have lost some of their delicacy to my eye at least.   



#22 Chuck Hards

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 11:10 AM

I have a copy, I should dig it out and refresh my memory.



#23 highfnum

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 03:22 PM

Oh yes 

almost  forgot about Hyper film 

anyone still to that?



#24 TSSClay

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 04:37 PM

Oh yes 

almost  forgot about Hyper film 

anyone still to that?

I still have the hypering chamber and other "stuff", but I haven't used any film since around 2005.  I still have a bunch stashed in a freezer should I get the urge.....

 

Clay



#25 highfnum

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 04:44 PM

How long in freezer,do they last




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