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Johnny Carson and His Questar

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#1 Gregory Gross

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 09:18 PM

I was poking around online and came across these two classic vintage images from June 1967 taken by Arthur Schatz for Life Magazine:

Johnny Carson talks on the telephone in his apartment: have a look at what's sitting on the floor at the lower right side of the photo just above the edge of the desk.

Johnny Carson at home studying astronomy from the large telescope in his window: clearly the person who described this photo didn't know that the terms Questar and large don't go together.
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#2 agmoonsolns

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 09:48 PM

Great photos, thank you so much for the links!

 

It was posted in another group Johnny Carson had two Questars, one in California and the other in New York. One had the older pre-1971 design while the other was the newer design. I think Cary Grant had two Questars too?


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#3 ToxMan

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 09:50 PM

His interest in astronomy seems to explain his frequent guest, Carl Sagan.



#4 petert913

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 10:02 PM

Don't forget Johnny's  C-14  !

 

b9c39FFl.jpg


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#5 Astroscrub

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 10:02 PM

Neat pictures and the large telescope part is pretty funny. waytogo.gif



#6 JamesMStephens

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 10:04 PM

Just google "Johnny Carson telescope" and you'll see several pictures of him with a Questar, as well as with a Unitron refractor and a Celestron 14.  I remember him narrating a PBS astronomy documentary in the 1980s and his performance gave me the impression he knew the subject.

 

Jim

 

PS: The Q is plenty large!


Edited by JamesMStephens, 12 August 2019 - 10:04 PM.

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#7 Cali

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 10:06 PM

Don't forget Johnny's  C-14  !

 

b9c39FFl.jpg

I was at a star party once when I first spotted a C14 and I swear I thought someone had mounted an orange, spray painted garbage can.

 

It was that big.

 

- Cal


Edited by Cali, 12 August 2019 - 10:28 PM.


#8 Gregory Gross

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 03:02 PM

I also came across this story in this CN post of how it was Johnny Carson who came up with the idea for a flip-up solar filter for the finder lens.

I always chuckle to myself and shake my head when I read Questar’s instructions for blocking the finder mirror when using the Questar for solar observing. From the pink early 1960s instruction book, p. 15: “To locate sun, put filter in place and with finder in position, hold head 18 inches or more above eyepiece, not close to it. Point as near as you can to sun, using slow motions while watching for absolute minimum shadow barrel will cast on table top. When sun enters 10° wide finder field, bright but harmless image from small finder lens will appear in ocular. Center this image, turn finder lever up to filtered high-power position, and refine focus of solar disc. Then block off finder lens with card or handkerchief or kleenex, to avoid extra light in control box.”

It’s indeed the early 1960s vision of solar observing safety. Just like asbestos being perfectly harmless, no seat belts being perfectly harmless, leaded gasoline being perfectly harmless, etc.

Needless to say, I would never actually rely on these instructions for a safe solar observing session with my Q. I suppose we all have Johnny Carson to thank for the finder lens solar filter.

#9 Mr. Krabappel

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 06:13 PM

I also came across this story in this CN post of how it was Johnny Carson who came up with the idea for a flip-up solar filter for the finder lens.

I always chuckle to myself and shake my head when I read Questar’s instructions for blocking the finder mirror when using the Questar for solar observing. From the pink early 1960s instruction book, p. 15: “To locate sun, put filter in place and with finder in position, hold head 18 inches or more above eyepiece, not close to it. Point as near as you can to sun, using slow motions while watching for absolute minimum shadow barrel will cast on table top. When sun enters 10° wide finder field, bright but harmless image from small finder lens will appear in ocular. Center this image, turn finder lever up to filtered high-power position, and refine focus of solar disc. Then block off finder lens with card or handkerchief or kleenex, to avoid extra light in control box.”

It’s indeed the early 1960s vision of solar observing safety. Just like asbestos being perfectly harmless, no seat belts being perfectly harmless, leaded gasoline being perfectly harmless, etc.

Needless to say, I would never actually rely on these instructions for a safe solar observing session with my Q. I suppose we all have Johnny Carson to thank for the finder lens solar filter.

I can remember the first telescope I owned when I was a kid (a 50mm Tasco refractor w/alt-azimuth mount) coming with a solar filter which screwed into the .965 eyepieces. 

I doubt that would be considered safe today.



#10 cbwerner

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 06:14 PM

I suppose we all have Johnny Carson to thank for the finder lens solar filter.

That funny - that story had escaped my view until now. Thanks for pointing it out.

 

The irony though, is that it still petrifies me. I'm paranoid of forgetting to flip the finder solar filter in, or forgetting that I flipped it out, or accidentally flipping it out. crazy.gif



#11 Tom3

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 08:08 PM

I had a problem once when I did not realize the solar finder filter was flipped in--not so good at night.tongue2.gif


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#12 Optics Patent

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 10:27 PM

Reminds me of my favorite laser warning sticker:
“CAUTION: Do not stare into beam with remaining eye!”
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#13 bobhen

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 06:55 AM

Johnny Carson was also responsible (or mostly responsible) for introducing Carl Sagan to the general public. Early on he had Carl on his show many times.  And back then being on the Tonight Show was a huge deal.

 

Johnny was something of a renaissance man, being: a writer, musician, actor, comedian, astronomer, and, of course, for decades hosting one of the most popular TV shows. 

 

Bob


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#14 jwheel

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 10:13 AM

Wow! I never knew that he owned a Questar. Nice!



#15 Panotaker

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 01:16 PM

I wonder who has his Questars now? 



#16 Toxo144

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 02:36 PM

@Panotaker,

 

My money is on Ben Langlotz!

 

Toxo


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#17 Optics Patent

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 09:22 PM

No, but in recent years I have spoken to people who owned or had encountered those owned by Marlon Brando (ruined by Tahitian humidity) and Barry Goldwater.

The only famous one I own is the Cinema model originally owned by the late cinematographer co developer of that model.

#18 terraclarke

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:37 AM

Yep, Johnny loved iconic scopes. Questar, his classic orange Celestron, and the Unitron 60mm refractor (the model 114) with the Unihex are definitely icons in our hobby. 

 

http://www.company7....3_5675333.p.pdf

 

https://c8.alamy.com...1963-GD1MJA.jpg

 

Save that my pumpkin is an 8” rather than the 14, I am happy to have all three as well.


Edited by terraclarke, 17 August 2019 - 11:59 AM.

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#19 terraclarke

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:50 AM

And with regard to famous Questar owners, let’s not forget the late, great Arthur C. Clarke:

 

http://www.company7....ueacclarke.html




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