Saturday, April 26, 2008

Back Home Again

Earlier this week I posted about a virtual model of the Hale Telescope. Let me now tell you about a real model.

When I started here there was an old model of the 200-inch telescope & its dome that had fallen on hard times. Look at the 2 pictures below and you'll see what I mean.

The dome was broken in numerous places, part of the inside catwalk had also broken, paint was missing here and the. The entire thing was covered in sawdust.

There are lots of models of the 200-inch telescope in the world, so it would be possible to find or even make another. But this model was built by Russell W. Porter in 1936.

Russell Porter as you may know had a huge role here at Palomar in the early days. He led the surveying team and decided what domes went where. He also figured the optics on the 18" Schmidt, Palomar's first operational telescope. Perhaps Porter's most famous works are the series of detailed cut-away drawings that he did of the 200-inch telescope.

These engineering drawings were made from blue prints, often before the actual parts were assembled. They were detailed enough to show the workers how parts were to fit together. These drawings are magnificent works of art in their own right

Porter's cut-away style is evident in the model, which has been lovingly restored by Robert Kline of Design Dynamics. Bob brought it back last Saturday and I must admit to being overjoyed at seeing the fine work he did.

I think you'll agree that it looks vastly better than the broken-down version above.


Nikkolai Davenport said...

I'm very happy to see the original model was restored. Is this now, or will it soon be on display for public viewing?

Scott Kardel said...

It isn't on display yet, we've got to get a new display case ready. I'll post when it is out for all to see.

paul said...

Scott. Thank you for the wonderful blog and for illuminating Russell Porter's role at Palomar. I wonder if you have any information about a 1:10 operational model of the Hale telescope which was built and supposedly still resides in Corning, NY? I've heard it was donated to a local (Corning) high school or community college. Web searches have turned up nothing.

Also, are you aware of the bronze castings RWP did of the 200" dome with the telescope inside? The dome is about 10-12" in diameter and has the same artistic flare as his sundials and garden telescope. It resides in the ATM museum beneath the Hartness telescope (underground!) at the Hartness House in Springfield, VT. There are photos of it linked from the Stellafane homepage.