Monday, October 13, 2008

The Artist Signs His Work

The 200-inch mirror spent 11 and a half years in the Mirror Lab at Caltech. During its time there the opticians removed 5 and a half tons of glass from the big disc in the process of turning the disc's flat surface into a parabola.

In October, 1947 it was announced that the work had been completed and the opticians took time to pose with the glass giant. From left to right is Alexander Shepherd, Robert George Smith, Blake Mitchell, Cecil Harvey, Arthur Brown, Marcus H. Brown, William Hawes, Melvin Johnson and Lewis Brown.

In the center of the disc is a full-sized replica of the first reflecting telescope ever built, constructed by Sir Isaac Newton in 1671.
After the mirror was crated up and transported to Palomar (a story for another day) it was discovered that Marcus H. Brown, the chief optician for the project, had done what many artists do - he signed his work. Here is his signature, put onto the 200-inch mirror 61 years ago today.

1 comment:

David said...

I read about him, apparently the son of a chicken farmer way back in the 1960's in the book "The glass giant of Palomar" which I borrowed from the library, no Internet in those days. Now just by chance (and Google) I found this. Glad you signed it Marcus.
What are the secrets to it all? it seems in the blink of that giant eye you made Man landed on the moon and now I am no longer that young man I used to be.....still building telescopes though.
David