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A pedigree old telescope in New Zealand awaits a new home

2 Dec 2009, 23:00 UTC
A pedigree old telescope in New Zealand awaits a new home
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A famous old telescope has spent nearly half a century in New Zealand while awaiting a new home. There is now a good chance that a new life for the 18-inch (45-cm) Brashear refractor will be found.

The telescope has an illustrious history. It was installed in 1897 at the Flower Observatory in Pennsylvania, which was owned by the University of Pennsylvania. The mechanical construction took place in 1895-96 at the Warner and Swasey Co. in Cleveland Ohio. The optics were figured by John Brashear (1840-1920) in Pittsburgh. He was the famous American optical engineer and the equal of Alvan Clark. Together Clark and Brashear built some of the largest refractors of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The visually corrected achromatic objective lens was fabricated in the early 1890s, and at first it was installed in a temporary mounting by Percival Lowell at the Lowell Observatory. The telescope has a tube some 26 feet 4 inches (8 m) in length and it sits on top of a pier 17 feet 9 inches (5.4 m) high. The whole telescope weighs 7.32 tons. The original dome was 34 feet or 10 m in diameter. The Flower telescope was ...

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