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John Mallas' 4" Unitron

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#51 Keith Parizek

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 10:03 AM

The Lines eventually built a  homemade 16 inch F-8 Newtonian including the optics all hand ground.  It was a great instrument but had all the troubles of a long focus big scope.  They originally set it up in their back yard in Phoenix.  When their observatory was complete they moved it to Mayer.  Chuck Nash and I hauled the mount up in the back of my truck.  It looked like a mortar cannon and we got a lot of strange looks from people.   It did not have a rotating tube, but had a top segment that could be unbolted and moved to four differnt positions.  They did great work with this scope but I told Dick that someday somone would have a accident and fall off a ladder.  He built a kind of platform for it and one day when he and I were standing on it  I said the day will come when we get older that a Cassegrain will be the way to go.  THey finally did make a 20 inch Cass. Dick and Helen were great observers and spent a great amount of time working with some professional on variable stars.  Dick won some kind of award from a national variable star group and soon after became ill and started down to his end.  They eventually moved back to Arkansas where they were had family.  Helen died somewhat later. 

Here is my first attempt to send some pics of my scopes and domes. These are at Alpine.

 

 


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#52 bremms

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 03:19 PM

That is an issue with any scope over about 14-16" ( Don't care for scopes under about F5) Eyepiece becomes difficult to reach. Looked through a 22 and a 26" and both need an orchard ladder. Not a fan of being 4-6 feet up on a ladder in the dark trying to look a Stephan's Quintet.


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#53 terraclarke

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 09:56 AM

For those interested, here is Mallas’ obituary:

 

http://www.messier.s...ios/mallas.html


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#54 Keith Parizek

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 06:23 PM

In response to your many requests here .is a picture of the Alpine  domes

The big building is 26 feet diameter built in 1971and has an 18 foot dome.  The little dome is 10 feet diameter and was built in 1980. The large dome contains a dark room, warm room, and storage area.

More info later.

Regards
Keith Parizek

 

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#55 Keith Parizek

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 06:34 PM

Alpine Schmidt Camera.JPG Here is a picture of the 12inch classic Schmidt of 65 inch focus. There is going to be a lot of explaining to do later about this setup.
Regards
Keith Parizek
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#56 Keith Parizek

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 06:53 PM

Here is a photo of the back end of the  24 inch classical Cassegrain that sits on the opposite side of the big mounting in the big dome.  I build big and strong mounts.

Regards.

 

Keith Parizek

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  • Alpine 24 inch Cassegrain.JPG

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#57 rolo

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 08:43 PM

Wow, that's impressive! What kind of work was done with the 24" Cass?



#58 John P

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 04:38 AM

We used I believe it was type 4415 black and white film.  As I recall, it was designed by Kodak as a copy film and had an untreated/uncooled ASA of 25.  It was very high contrast and when you took a photo of, say a star field, the developed negative was so clear it was hard to see the star images.

This was almost 50 years ago....my God am I really that old?


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#59 EJN

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 11:33 AM

The Lines eventually built a  homemade 16 inch F-8 Newtonian including the optics all hand ground.

 

 

That was in S&T, Sept. 1968 Gleanings for ATM's.

 

That's a real scope, not a flexy ultralight dob or string scope, or f/3 coma bucket which are

in vogue now. yay.gif

 


Edited by Ken Sturrock, 22 March 2018 - 10:15 PM.
article link removed in line with an agreement with S&T. Sorry.

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#60 Masvingo

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Posted 15 March 2018 - 02:34 AM

Keith

 

Thanks for your wonderful stories.  Brings back happy memories of when I was a teen and getting interested in astronomy.  Although I was in Africa then our school astronomy club had a S&T subscription with back issues going into the 1950s which gave me many hours of pleasure.

 

I'm looking forward to more of your memories.

 

James


Edited by Masvingo, 15 March 2018 - 02:38 AM.

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#61 terraclarke

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Posted 15 March 2018 - 06:52 AM

We used I believe it was type 4415 black and white film.  As I recall, it was designed by Kodak as a copy film and had an untreated/uncooled ASA of 25.  It was very high contrast and when you took a photo of, say a star field, the developed negative was so clear it was hard to see the star images.

This was almost 50 years ago....my God am I really that old?

Ah good old Tech Pan! Another loss to lament!! I used to use 2415- the 35mm roll-film equivalent to the 4415 sheets. Both are long gone. :bawling:


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#62 Keith Parizek

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Posted 16 March 2018 - 10:52 AM

My wife wanted a place for a washer and dryer.  I had to admit she needed more space so I decided to try to satisfy her wishes.  My solution was to build a 26 foot round building with a second floor observatory.  The dome was to be 18 feet in diameter.  The main floor has a dark room, laundry room, library room  and a lot of workshop space.  THe dome floor has a drop shutter for looking at the east horizon and a warm room as well as a bunch of storage out around the edge.  The roof space between the dome and the outer edge of the building made for a great scaffold to assemble the  dome. All this work was done with human muscle power.   When I got ready to do the trench for the footers I found two guys working a back hoe out in the middle of a field.  I got them to come up and dig my 26 foot diameter foundation.  The word got out around town that some goofy guy was getting ready to build a round cabin.  It took a whole summer of hauling material from Phoenix to Alpine a distance of 250 miles.  I could not have done it without the help of my four boys and a lot of other friends.  Dick Lines made sure the dome would be level by using his transit.  Evered wired the dome.  The dome framework was prefabed in Phoenx and hauled up in pieces and assembled  then welded.  The  dome design is basically two half cylinders modified but still basically  stolen from the design of the Steward dome on Kitt Peak.  Everything was sheathed in aluminum twin rib which they do not make anymore!  When it was all finished I could not make the dome rotate.  Old friend Harry Simmons came to the rescue and we made chain drive that cured the problem.  The little dome was basically the same construction.  My wife was happy with laundry room, but didn't think I needed to go that far to handle her wishes. 

Regard

Keith Parizek

 

Question of the day  Does anyone else remember  C.W. Jamer of Manorsville, NY ?


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#63 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 17 March 2018 - 06:25 AM

Wonderful story! Would you have a photograph of your observatory?

#64 Keith Parizek

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Posted 17 March 2018 - 07:50 AM

Hi Joe-  I finally managed to post some of my pics at posts 54,55,and 56.  Later I plan to write about the Schmidt, and 24 Cass. 

Regards

Keith Parizek


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#65 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 17 March 2018 - 10:56 AM

Thanks, Kieth! The Alpine Domes are fantastic! They look like something out of a science fiction movie. Clever design, with intersecting cylinders creating the functionality of a dome, without the need to construct a hemisphere.

Are they still standing? And, these were in your back yard? With your wife's laundry room in the larger dome? Hmm; Lady Cepleur would like a meditation room. Maybe I should get to work!

#66 Keith Parizek

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Posted 17 March 2018 - 01:50 PM

Hi Joe-  Alpine is 250 miles from Rio Verde which is a community northeast of Fountain Hills, Arizona.  Our place at Alpine is a small three bedroom house.  The domes are about 60 feet out the  back door  of the house.  Alpine is on the New Mexico border about halfway up  the state.  It is about 8200 feet elevation.  Alpine has aptly been described as a poor mans paradise.  We have trout fishing within one mile, golf course adjacent to our home, all the animals in our front yard, activities for non astro type women, etc.  The place was a compromise for me and astronomy,  golf and cards for my wife, and fishing and  hunting for my four boys.  Like the great Walter Scott Houston once told me: all life is a compromise. Brother you can say that again.   I better stop writing or I am going to get kicked off this forum.  We also have a home  in Rio Verde with an observatory. Cannot ever have too many telescopes or observatories.  I will talk about  it later, but it does not have the history that Alpine did.

 

Regards

Keith Parizek


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#67 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 17 March 2018 - 02:07 PM

Keith, you've finally said something that is manifestly untrue!

"I better stop writing or I am going to get kicked off this forum."

You can be entirely confident that, the more of your stories you tell, the happier the rest of us will be! It's easy enough to read about telescopes and astronomy, but far more difficult to find anything about the day-to-day life and work of famous astronomers. Mallas and Kreimer must have been everyday guys, yet they became immortal through their work on one great book. Until you came along, that was the only way the rest of us knew them. Just hearing how they wired a friend's observatory, or were present for star parties, much like the one I shall be attending tonight, is intrinsically interesting. No; "fascinating!" Please keep the stories coming!
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#68 Masvingo

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Posted 17 March 2018 - 05:46 PM

+1  

 

Keith, you're definitely right that you cannot have too many telescopes or observatories, and we also cannot have too many stories of the days gone by and the personalities from those times.  Please keep them coming.


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#69 Geo31

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 10:07 PM

+2

 

Keith, I'd rather read your stories than most threads on this forum.  A lot of us are waiting for the next post.


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#70 Keith Parizek

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 12:48 PM

Horace Dall had an article in a 1948 or so JBAA dealing with obstructions in the path of an optical system.  I was greatly impressed by him and have been a fan of small diagonal, secondaries, etc. ever since.  Old friend Lloyd Horton was a great mirror maker and had a 8 inch f.9 that left nothing to be desired.  Ted Paoloni made a 12.5 inch F-9 that was really fantastic.  I got Lloyd  to help me make a similar mirror.  When the mount was done at Alpine we made a rotating steel tube 20 inches diameter to hold this mirror.  THe view was great way up at the top of this long tube I think because it was closer to the stars.  We had an 12 inch Kodak Ektar mounted on it and used my 6 inch Brashear refractor to guide.  The exposures were long and When AstroPhysics came out with their autoguider we decided to get one.  We could not make it work and Evered and I took it down to Phoenix and had Louis Boyd who was a friend and club member check it out.  You may remember Louis as the guy who coinvented the automatic telescope with Genet.  Evered and Louis took it apart .  Roland Christen must have got a good buy on yellow wire as all I could see was yellow.  Louis and Evered started laying big words on me which I did not understand anyting about and figured out the RA part was producing square waves which the motors on the alpine mount did not respond to.  Roland modified the RA part to be the same as the Dec part and it worked very well and still does.  It has the problems of all those early devices in that the detectors from that era have been replaced by more senstive ones.  We tried using an ST-4 guider but could never make it trigger the heavy duty relays that Evered made in the control boxes.  Enter Dave Erickson and Ken Hebert and on to the Schmidt optics in the next post.

Regards

Keith Parizek


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#71 Masvingo

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 04:03 PM

Thanks Keith.

...on to the Schmidt optics in the next post.

Waiting eagerly!



#72 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 05:00 PM

Kieth, it is truly, truly amazing, the history through which you lived. At the time, were you aware of the astonishing changes seen in your everyday life, or, at the time, did all of these improvements simply feel like the result of ordinary hard work? One name after another, slipping through your history.

#73 Keith Parizek

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 10:17 AM

Hi Joe- I never met anyone who did't have something they could teach me if I was smart enough to let them do it.  We were on the cutting edge of homemade scopes in those early days.  All of us mostly built our own equipment.  Things have changed now and I hardly ever hear of ATM activity.  If we were making history we did not know it.  Here are some of the things that I have lived by:

1. Cherish your friends and never compromise that friendship at any level.

2. Eat a somewhat healthy diet.

3. Exercise a little bit.

4. Always be working on some interesting thing.

5. Think happy thoughts

6. Practice saying" I love you" and "I am sorry" enough times that someone will finally believe you.

 

Amen

Keith Parizek

 

 


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#74 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 07:27 PM

Gosh, Kieth; there it is: The greatest post of all time! Look where astronomy can take us!

*** Thank you ***

#75 kcb

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 10:18 PM

I still have  '' the messier album '' by mallas and Kramer , date I bought it inside cover says 1985, my first book on the messier objects and I loved that 4'' unitron , wonderful book !




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