Friday, May 8, 2009

Porter Garden Telescopes. As Seen on TV!

Back in the 1920s Russell Porter made a number (at least 53, but the exact number is unknown) of Garden Telescopes. There are several of them in the photo of Porter above. Porter's elegant design made them truly remarkable. Look at the right and you'll see one in an open box. At the bottom is the pivoting base which houses the 6-inch, f/4 mirror. There is no tube for the instrument. Instead the bar that extends up holds the secondary mirror and the eyepiece. The design makes it a classic item to display outside, a sundial and a working telescope.

Learn more about them here and see his patent for the design here.

If you have got the money, they are now being reproduced and sold again (but only 200 0f them) by Telescopes of Vermont. Visit their site for more information on these amazing reproductions. Below is a video on how it is done.

The telescope will be included in a segment of CBS Sunday Morning scheduled to air this Sunday, May 10.

UPDATE: CBS Sunday Morning sends this along:

CBS News Sunday Morning will show you the past and the future of telescopes starting with Galileo's heretical look up at the sky 400 years ago. Correspondent Martha Teichner interviewed astrophysicist Neil De Grasse Tyson of the Hayden Planetarium and astrophysicist Mario Livio of the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute. She also talked to Fred and Russ Schleipman who have recreated the Porter Garden Telescope. You will find science and art, prose and poetry in this CBS News Sunday Morning story.


Scott Kardel said...

It doesn't look like CBS News has a video of the story posted online but the you can read it here:

Anonymous said...

it's toobad someone can't make these inexpensive enough so everyone who wants one has the chance to.

This just makes science and astronomy seem that much more remote and elitist.

Scott Kardel said...

Astronomy is less remote than it has ever been. There is a vast amount of astronomy at your fingertips and if you want a telescope you can get a Galileoscope for under $20 bucks. If you are looking for a bigger, better telescope you can get several for relatively low prices too.

The Porter Garden Scope is expensive. It is a blend of art and science. It is the art that drove up the cost. Not the science.

Anonymous said...

You know most people will not separate the two and it still comes across as very elitist.

Charging that much money in these dire economic times - is the company even aware of what is going on outside its ivory little world?

Scott Kardel said...

Well, "these dire economic times" came on well after their project began, but yes, they are very expensive.