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Boller and Chivens 16" Cassegrain

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#1 Peter Ceravolo

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Posted 06 August 2023 - 07:13 PM

Hi Gang,

 

Back in 2021 I "rescued" Berea College's (Kentucky) 16" Boller and Chivens telescope.

For background check out the original thread:

 

https://www.cloudyni...ens-retirement/

 

A month or so ago I finally reassembled the instrument in our 3 meter Observa-Dome backyard observatory.

My astro-imager wife Debra and I live on a mountain top on the 49th parallel in the British Columbia interior. The atmospheric conditions on the mountain can be superb, ideally suited to large aperture and long focal length instruments like the Boller and Chivens 16".

 

_N3A9797_small.jpg

 

I love the scope!

 

I've already done a handful of occultation observations, had diffraction limited views of double stars, and the detail on the waning gibbous moon one night last month was overwhelming.

The planets are not well placed yet, but Jupiter and Saturn have been wonderful at dawn. The Gallilean moons present discs, not points of light in good seeing.

I've used the telescope at Ludicrous Power, 1400x, on one of my favorite planetaries, NGC 7662, the Blue Snow Ball. I could make out a lot of the coarse detail seen in ccd images.

 

On the evening of August 2, I was having fun looking at stars in the daytime sky. The sun was still a few degrees above the horizon behind some distant wild fire smoke. Vega looked awfully steady so I slewed the scope to Eta Crb, current separation 0.57 arc seconds. I could see the double, just past the zenith, was steady at 700x so I bumped it up to 1200x with a 6mm TeleVue Ethos eyepiece. I saw two beautiful Airy disks separated by span of dark blue sky equal to their diameter. Now, I've seen this before at night, but just fleeting glimpses of the Airy discs in moments of ideal seeing. That evening I could hold the diffraction limited view for many seconds before a waft of warm air, probably from me, passed over the front of the OTA. Then the diffraction limited view was back again for many seconds.

 

EtaCorB.jpg

 

The drive system has been upgraded twice on this scope. The original electro-mechanically complex drive was upgraded by DFM in the 2005. This time around I upgraded the drive again to an Astrometric unit.

After initial syncing on a star, the goto pointing was excellent - without the need of a pointing model to clean up mount/OTA build quality issues. Slewing across the sky objects were within a 14 arc minute field of view.

 

So we have been having fun with Venus, Mercury and Mars in the daytime sky...

 

IMG_7423_Debra and Venus.jpg

 

_N3A9946_venus_23_07_29.jpg

 

Although I do love the scope, I will admit it's not perfect. I did touch up the optics a wee bit, but despite what I wrote above, the performance is till not up to what we need for the imaging we want to do with it. More on that later.

The mount is huge, it will support a modern instrument of 20" - 24" aperture easily. And to be frank, that was the initial driver for acquiring the telescope.

 

In this thread I'll go over the telescope's construction detail for the benefit of those who may want to rescue their own Bowler and Chivens telescope one day.

 

Peter


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#2 Scope2

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Posted 06 August 2023 - 07:45 PM

Hi Peter.  Beautiful job on the scope. Wishing you many many clear skies. 

 

                                             Best Regards.

 

                                                Pat Mog.



#3 kgb

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Posted 06 August 2023 - 07:55 PM

I'm just gonna have to say 'Holy Crap! That is just awesome.'

#4 jgraham

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Posted 06 August 2023 - 07:55 PM

Oh wow, it is so wonderful to see the scope in its new home. Congratulations! I am sooo looking forward to following this thread!

 

Enjoy!



#5 plunk111

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Posted 06 August 2023 - 08:22 PM

I was privileged to use the 24" (replaced by a 1-meter scope in 2019) at the Air Force Academy while teaching there from 1992 to 1996. You have an awesome scope! I think the 24 used the same mount you have, btw.

 

Pat



#6 Bob4BVM

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Posted 07 August 2023 - 01:18 AM

Spent some years volunteering outreach at U of O's scopes on Pine Mtn in Oregon.

One of which is a 24"f16 B&C cass.

Beyond fine, it is an amazing instrument.

Have had a few views thru that scope which will stay with me forever, most memorable being the deep core of M42. No photograph, or stacked "image" I have ever seen comes anywhere close to the fine detail we saw with our own eyes that night.

 

I am amazed that you have one of these, even a 16" version, as a personal scope. Good for you !

 

CS

Bob

 

PMO 24-F16 Cass.jpg


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#7 jragsdale

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Posted 07 August 2023 - 11:11 AM

I've been following the progress on this one from the ATS forum and you did such a good job on it, very impressive!



#8 MassiveRedTelescope

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Posted 07 August 2023 - 03:43 PM

I've been doing astronomy for over half a century and I think saving this Boller and Chivens was one of my happiest achievements.  Some of you may have read my desperate pleas on this forum for someone to give this telescope a good home.  Certainly CN deserves some of the credit for it returning to operation. In 2021 the telescope narrowly avoided being dropped 5 floors to the basement during the demolition of the of the Charles Martin Hall Science Building on the campus of Berea College in Kentucky.  I could have not saved it alone.  Local friends, Howard Carlberg and Don Cardwell, both active retirees like myself, provided invaluable help despite only having superficial interest in astronomy.  When Mark Sproul came on the scene I knew we would be successful.  With much more experience with big instruments than myself, Mark brought knowledge and his own equipment that made the salvage of the telescope and the related 14' Ash Dome a reality.

 

None of this would have been possible without the offer by Peter Ceravolo to pay for the crane operation and shipping costs.  The deal put forth by the college was that anyone who could pay for the crane and shipping of the telescope off campus could have it.  My interest in this telescope?  As a zero-tuition college, students are required to work in some department in lieu of tuition.  Part of my assignment from 1974 to 1978 was to operate the Boller and Chivens for public outreach, as well as assist in, and perform, research.  Tough job but somebody had to do it!

 

I have been in contact with my former physics professor, and labor supervisor, Dr. Smith T. Powell, who provided invaluable background information on the Gilbert Roberts Observatory (the B&C and dome atop the science building).  Dr. Powell originally arranged having the telescope brought to Berea in 1972.  He has followed the salvage and rebirth of the telescope with great satisfaction.  Lately, I provided an update on a forum of Berea alumni and townspeople and was surprised at the broad interest in "whatever happened to the observatory?" Spindle in flight_s.jpg

 

I am looking forward to learning what else Peter has achieved with this instrument and hope someday to visit 'Ol Blue' in her new digs .

 

Thank You, Peter.


Edited by MassiveRedTelescope, 07 August 2023 - 03:46 PM.

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#9 deSitter

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Posted 07 August 2023 - 04:19 PM

I've been doing astronomy for over half a century and I think saving this Boller and Chivens was one of my happiest achievements.  Some of you may have read my desperate pleas on this forum for someone to give this telescope a good home.  Certainly CN deserves some of the credit for it returning to operation. In 2021 the telescope narrowly avoided being dropped 5 floors to the basement during the demolition of the of the Charles Martin Hall Science Building on the campus of Berea College in Kentucky.  I could have not saved it alone.  Local friends, Howard Carlberg and Don Cardwell, both active retirees like myself, provided invaluable help despite only having superficial interest in astronomy.  When Mark Sproul came on the scene I knew we would be successful.  With much more experience with big instruments than myself, Mark brought knowledge and his own equipment that made the salvage of the telescope and the related 14' Ash Dome a reality.

 

None of this would have been possible without the offer by Peter Ceravolo to pay for the crane operation and shipping costs.  The deal put forth by the college was that anyone who could pay for the crane and shipping of the telescope off campus could have it.  My interest in this telescope?  As a zero-tuition college, students are required to work in some department in lieu of tuition.  Part of my assignment from 1974 to 1978 was to operate the Boller and Chivens for public outreach, as well as assist in, and perform, research.  Tough job but somebody had to do it!

 

I have been in contact with my former physics professor, and labor supervisor, Dr. Smith T. Powell, who provided invaluable background information on the Gilbert Roberts Observatory (the B&C and dome atop the science building).  Dr. Powell originally arranged having the telescope brought to Berea in 1972.  He has followed the salvage and rebirth of the telescope with great satisfaction.  Lately, I provided an update on a forum of Berea alumni and townspeople and was surprised at the broad interest in "whatever happened to the observatory?" attachicon.gif Spindle in flight_s.jpg

 

I am looking forward to learning what else Peter has achieved with this instrument and hope someday to visit 'Ol Blue' in her new digs .

 

Thank You, Peter.

Just a grab and go... what a photo!

 

-drl



#10 YourNotSirius

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Posted 07 August 2023 - 04:48 PM

If I were a rich man
Ya ba dibba dibba dibba dibba dibba dibba dum

 

You do realize that my old man is envious as the devil do you not?

 

BWAHAHAHAHA!!!

 

Q



#11 Peter Ceravolo

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Posted 07 August 2023 - 05:56 PM

Fortunately the original assembly drawings survived all these years, so I had them scanned to preserve them.

Please feel free to download and share the drawings.

 

https://1drv.ms/b/s!...9DM4DQ?e=UOj7da

 

Peter

 

B&C16.JPG


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#12 starman876

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Posted 07 August 2023 - 06:09 PM

I want onegrin.gif


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#13 jcruse64

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Posted 07 August 2023 - 06:45 PM

Outstanding, Peter!!!!!! So glad you got this and have revitalized it. Really awesome!!!!!



#14 MGAR

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Posted 07 August 2023 - 06:52 PM

I want onegrin.gif

Me too!

 

I'd put a bed and other necessities so I could live there 24/7 and still doubt I'd ever make full use of it.

 

Gary 



#15 CHASLX200

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Posted 07 August 2023 - 06:55 PM

Too big for me to take outside. Gonna need a much bigger house. I gotta wonder if any of these scopes were freaky sharp or mush dogs.



#16 clamchip

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Posted 07 August 2023 - 07:11 PM

Sure is nice to have the drawings.

I see the guide scope uses a 4 inch Jaegers objective, good choice!

 

Robert



#17 Bob4BVM

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Posted 07 August 2023 - 07:21 PM

Too big for me to take outside. Gonna need a much bigger house. I gotta wonder if any of these scopes were freaky sharp or mush dogs.

Are you kidding ? Have you ever observed thru one of these ? 

The one we have here is nothing short of amazing, from my 5 years of running it on weekends, it is still the best visual instrument I have ever had the pleasure...  Of course F16 helps a lot but it takes back seat to nothing !

CS

Bob


Edited by Bob4BVM, 07 August 2023 - 07:23 PM.

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#18 CHASLX200

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Posted 07 August 2023 - 07:23 PM

Are you kidding ? Have you ever observed thru one of these ?  The one we have here is nothing short of amazing, from my 5 years of running it on weekends, it is still the best visual instrument I have ever had the pleasure...  Of course F16 helps a lot but it takes back seat to nothing !

CS

Bob

Don't think any of them scope have ever been in FL. So none near me.  I just hope they are better than all the SCT's i have owned.



#19 Bob4BVM

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Posted 07 August 2023 - 07:27 PM

I've been doing astronomy for over half a century and I think saving this Boller and Chivens was one of my happiest achievements.  Some of you may have read my desperate pleas on this forum for someone to give this telescope a good home.  Certainly CN deserves some of the credit for it returning to operation. In 2021 the telescope narrowly avoided being dropped 5 floors to the basement during the demolition of the of the Charles Martin Hall Science Building on the campus of Berea College in Kentucky.  I could have not saved it alone.  Local friends, Howard Carlberg and Don Cardwell, both active retirees like myself, provided invaluable help despite only having superficial interest in astronomy.  When Mark Sproul came on the scene I knew we would be successful.  With much more experience with big instruments than myself, Mark brought knowledge and his own equipment that made the salvage of the telescope and the related 14' Ash Dome a reality.

 

None of this would have been possible without the offer by Peter Ceravolo to pay for the crane operation and shipping costs.  The deal put forth by the college was that anyone who could pay for the crane and shipping of the telescope off campus could have it.  My interest in this telescope?  As a zero-tuition college, students are required to work in some department in lieu of tuition.  Part of my assignment from 1974 to 1978 was to operate the Boller and Chivens for public outreach, as well as assist in, and perform, research.  Tough job but somebody had to do it!

 

I have been in contact with my former physics professor, and labor supervisor, Dr. Smith T. Powell, who provided invaluable background information on the Gilbert Roberts Observatory (the B&C and dome atop the science building).  Dr. Powell originally arranged having the telescope brought to Berea in 1972.  He has followed the salvage and rebirth of the telescope with great satisfaction.  Lately, I provided an update on a forum of Berea alumni and townspeople and was surprised at the broad interest in "whatever happened to the observatory?" attachicon.gif Spindle in flight_s.jpg

 

I am looking forward to learning what else Peter has achieved with this instrument and hope someday to visit 'Ol Blue' in her new digs .

 

Thank You, Peter.

Well. that pic is a gem !

Knowing how massive that mount is from direct experience, the pic put a big grin on my old mug.

Yeah, there's your grab n go, for sure.

Any whiners who say it's too big, well buck up, the views are worth it :)

CS

Bob



#20 Bob4BVM

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Posted 07 August 2023 - 07:34 PM

Don't think any of them scope have ever been in FL. So none near me.  I just hope they are better than all the SCT's i have owned.

Well, i can agree with you there, my SCT's were ...meh.

 

But this scope, it's not an SCT, it's a classic Cassegrain.

And it is most certainly not a Celestron or a Meade !


Edited by Bob4BVM, 07 August 2023 - 07:36 PM.

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#21 jragsdale

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Posted 08 August 2023 - 12:25 AM

Too big for me to take outside. Gonna need a much bigger house.

I don't think a multi-ton observatory scope on a pier "goes" anywhere. Permanent observatory or bust.


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#22 deSitter

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Posted 08 August 2023 - 12:59 AM

Are you kidding ? Have you ever observed thru one of these ? 

The one we have here is nothing short of amazing, from my 5 years of running it on weekends, it is still the best visual instrument I have ever had the pleasure...  Of course F16 helps a lot but it takes back seat to nothing !

CS

Bob

I'm sure the optics on these scopes are thought out to the last fraction of a mm in spacing, baffling etc. and have smooth surfaces to produce the least possible blooming of star images - necessary for precision astrometry. IOW they are probably superior by any standard.

 

-drl


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#23 tturtle

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Posted 08 August 2023 - 03:48 AM

Thank you for posting this detailed information on your resurrected Cassegrain that is close to 60 years old now (almost as old as me).  I spent a lot of time going through the very cool drawings (I’m an engineer so yeah I like that sort of thing). I would love to here more about how you are tweaking the mount and OTA to get it to perform at a slightly higher level so please keep us updated on your progress. Congratulations on a superb observatory!



#24 deSitter

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Posted 08 August 2023 - 05:15 AM

Here's Google Maps satellite view of where this scope was. We need not heave a sad sigh, rather smile, because dome and scope are alive.

 

https://goo.gl/maps/TJC1kqfWdY1MjUb48

 

-drl


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#25 CHASLX200

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Posted 08 August 2023 - 05:47 AM

I don't think a multi-ton observatory scope on a pier "goes" anywhere. Permanent observatory or bust.

Rand made it easy to carry around a 32" Cass. It was called RAMO.




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