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A Legend lost - Edward R Byers

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#1 Dave Radosevich

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 12:50 AM

It is with sad news that I report that Edward R Byers has passed. He lived 93 years giving the astronomy community the finest machining and most elegant designs ever achieved.  Byers belongs to the greats like Russel Porter and Alvan Clark. A Master Craftsman of the greatest generation. 
 

The stars have surly dimmed tonight... 
72BF1F2D-7B53-4D2D-8EFC-E57E99056F86.jpeg

 

 


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#2 petert913

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 01:16 AM

I’m honored to have owned one of his marvelous RA gear drives. RIP Mr. B. Thanks for giving us excellence. 


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#3 Simcal

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 01:33 AM

Condolences to his family and friends.


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#4 555aaa

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 02:02 AM

A sad loss. When I was young (and not so young) I always admired and was inspired by his handiwork. Condolences to family and friends.


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#5 B 26354

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 02:09 AM

It is with sad news that I report that Edward R Byers has passed. He lived 93 years giving the astronomy community the finest machining and most elegant designs ever achieved.  Byers belongs to the greats like Russel Porter and Alvan Clark. A Master Craftsman of the greatest generation. 
 

The stars have surely dimmed tonight... 

Dreamed for decades about having a Byers drive for my C8, but never managed it. Thank you for your beautifully eloquent words.


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#6 TOMDEY

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 02:47 AM

A sad loss; a magnificent legacy. Thanks for the superlative RA Drive, Ed. Your 1980 handiwork breathed new life into my trusty Cave Astrola, thousands of perfectly-guided hours and hundreds of great images. I built the clear housing so we could admire your work of art!    Tom

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#7 skywatcher3000

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 03:08 AM

Another loss of a great one in astronomical instruments!! I knew him from around 1970, when I first met him while visiting his shop out in the California desert to buy some small gears for a scope that I was upgrading at the time. He was such an immense help to me and even introduced me to other astronomers that had become regular customers in those early years. I and my cousin, who was my astronomy partner for many years (who also recently passed away just a few months ago), had bought, sold and traded much equipment over the past decades with Ed. We had gotten to know him and his family over the years from visiting him so often. His keen interest in astronomy and the universe in general was the topic of many conversations that we had late into the nights we visited. But, on every visit he couldn't wait to show us his latest achievements that he had produced in his shop. His work has raised the level of telescope and mount manufacturing to the highest levels over the many decades he worked. He achieved many contributions in the design and manufacture of telescope instruments and equatorial mounts. We were a witness to a true master craftsman and expert machinist, the likes that we had never seen before. His mounts and instruments were really like works of art that he was very proud to produce for each and every customer. And the customers ranged from young, beginner amateur astronomers all the way up to professional observatories, NASA and even government agencies involved with super-secret, black projects!! I knew he wasn't doing well, when during this past summer I had E-mailed him about some info he was interested in and he told me that he had some very serious health issues which would probably take his life in the beginning of the new year. I was hoping to make one last visit next month, but now, that is even not possible. I waited a bit too long!! Anyway, I'm sure that now he will be able to learn the secrets of the universe and see the wonders of our galaxy for himself. Rest easy my friend and thank you so very, very much for all of the help that you provided to myself, personally, as well as all of the astronomers that had personal dealing with you!! You will be really missed by many!!


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#8 R Botero

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 03:10 AM

Dave

Thank you for letting us know. A very sad day for those who knew him or of his work but his legacy will live on as a celebration of his achievements for he was such an inspiration. 

Rest in peace Mr Byers!

Roberto


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#9 jwheel

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 12:29 PM

So sad to hear about this.


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#10 Terra Nova

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 01:13 PM

Another giant in our community is gone. Sad news indeed! R.I.P. Mr. Byers.


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#11 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 01:48 PM

I'm sorry to hear this.


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#12 mmalik

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 01:55 PM

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un

 

 

(Indeed, to God we belong and to God we shall return)


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#13 turtle86

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 02:06 PM

A huge loss to astronomy.  Our only solace is that even though he is gone and with the stars now, his amazing work is still with us.  In my neck of the woods, the Orlando Science Center has the last large refractor (10”) that was made by him, and it sits regally upon one of his exquisite mounts:

 

https://www.osc.org/...ts/observatory/

 

R.I.P.


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#14 Al Paslow

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 02:07 PM

In my phone conversations over the past few years Ed was sad there was really no one that could take over the business. His son was a quadriplegic so that wasn't an option.

 

He spoke of a possible overseas buyer but I felt he didn't want to sell out that way. He never disclosed to me who that might have been.

 

For awhile many of his gears were available on eBay and he was the seller. He told me he was selling the last of his precision gear-sets this way, and still doing a few custom orders.

Ed's 28 inch Newtonian/Cassegrain is still on ebay as well as a few gears:

 

https://www.ebay.com...ccAAOSwOytdj2c~

 

Ed has a number of patents to his name and has been serving both amateur and professional astronomy for so many decades it will be hard to imagine our community without him!

 

Rest in peace, my friend.

 

Al Paslow


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#15 Davey 8V71

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 02:07 PM

I knew of him from ads in  Sky And Telescope Magazine. I "knew" him from a reply in a thread here at Cloudy Nights. Am saddened to hear of his passing. Am happy for and envious of those who knew him personally; face to face. Heart goes out to family and friends who now miss him terribly.


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#16 Dan /schechter

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 03:06 PM

I knew of him from ads in  Sky And Telescope Magazine. I "knew" him from a reply in a thread here at Cloudy Nights. Am saddened to hear of his passing. Am happy for and envious of those who knew him personally; face to face. Heart goes out to family and friends who now miss him terribly.

I met Ed while driving home with a newly acquired Zeiss telescope and mount. I was accompanied by Caveman Clint Whitman and he suggested that since we were driving by Barstow, Ca. we should give Ed a call, Ed did not know who we were, but graciously invited us to his place and gave us a tour of his factory and projects. Ed took a liking to Clint and showed up at our Coudy Nights star party the next year.

 

He was a quality guy and did quality work. He will be missed and much appreciated.

 

RIP Ed,

Dan


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#17 rcwolpert

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 03:15 PM

Very sad news. He will be missed.


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#18 jgraham

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 03:41 PM

Awww, very sad news. We were just talking about Ed last Friday and how helpful he was in rebuilding the drive and controller on the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery's 50cm Cassegrain (the Dayton Museum of Natural History when the telescope was originally installed). It is a work of art! He will be missed.
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#19 starman876

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 03:46 PM

A name and a craftsman that gave us so many memories and will continue to provide memories for many years to come.  May Ed rest in peace.


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#20 Jeff B

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 06:53 PM

I am so sorry to hear this news.  What a wonderful fellow he was.  I purchased several items from Ed and talked to him on the phone several times over the last 10 years.  

 

Ed, you took the death of your wife pretty hard but now you can join her and RIP sir.

 

 

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#21 Benach

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 07:21 PM

My condolences to those who knew him.
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#22 Astroman007

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 07:46 PM

RIP, Mr. Byers. :(


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#23 Ben H

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 08:26 PM

We shall not look upon his like again. 


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#24 Neptune

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 08:38 PM

He was a great machinist with a penchant for creating beautiful and very accurate telescope drives. Not sure who can ever replace him.  R.I.P. Ed


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#25 skywolf856

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 09:51 PM

Being a mechanical guy at heart, I was always impressed with his craftsmanship.

He raised it to an art form.

 

R.I.P. Ed, you will be missed.


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