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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • WE HAVE A BIG JOB: WWII
 

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Naval Gazer: 1924

Naval Gazer: 1924

August 18, 1924. "Prof. Hall of Naval Observatory with 26-inch telescope." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

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Big

nds, nice observation on the control knobs!

People don't realize how big these refractor 'scopes are. Think about it: A glass objective lens 26" in diameter. Insanely expensive to make. Also very heavy (I'm guessing the weight of the objective lens for this telescope is 80-100kg). Finally, the optical tube assembly has to be really long. The largest refractor ever made was 40", and this 26" unit was the largest in the world when it was made.

That's why they fell out of favor over (mirror-based) reflector telescopes. But for pure mechanical and technical coolness, the old refractors are the best.

Plus, you get to look straight through it, like a "real" telescope (and unlike a reflector).

$125,000 for the telescope

$3.95 for the chair.

Astronomy Legacy

This is Asaph Hall, Jr. (1859–1930). He worked at the Naval Academy on several occasions during his career. He was about 64 when this picture was taken, five years before he retired and six years before his passing.

His father, Asaph Hall III (1829 – 1907), was responsible for the USNO getting this 26-inch telescope. He later found the two moons of Mars with it.

Low Tech

You'd think that somebody could have found a more appropriate viewing chair!

Privacy

It is devices like this that prompt Martians to keep their shades drawn.

Astronomer's hat

Should be pointy with stars/moons/comets/etc. on it.

The knobs

Note how each of the adjustment wheels has knobs of a different shape (stripes, flats), to identify them by feel.

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