Monday, December 7, 2009

Palomar History Photo of the Week - December 7, 2009

Blake Mitchell was one of the opticians who worked under the direction of Marcus Brown on the Palomar project after World War II. Blake, who is 86 year old now, recently donated to the observatory his collection of photographs from that time.

For the very first picture from his collection I thought I would post his self portrait:

That is Blake in the Optical Shop at Caltech. His reflection is posed with the 200-inch telescope's three secondary mirrors three spherical mirrors that were used to test the 200" telescope's convex hyperbolic secondary mirrors.


jlp105 said...

Hey Scott,
Not to be nit-picky but judging by the fact that those mirror all seem to be the same size and appear to be magnifying, I'm wondering if those are actually the mirrors that are part of(still?) the Coude'spectrogpragh

Scott Kardel said...

Now that you mention it you may very well be right. I do know that Blake Mitchell did indeed work on the Coude mirrors as well.

Blake's label on the back of this photo doesn't specify what the optics are, but when I am back in the office I will try to confirm with his other pictures.

Scott Kardel said...

Hey jlp105, I found 2 more photos that show the same apparatus with what I think are the same mirrors.

Blake Mitchell did label the back of these photos and they say:

"spherical mirror trio for testing convex secondary mirrors for the 200"."


"The trio of test spheres against which all 3 convex hyperbolic secondary mirrors were tested."

So, the mirrors weren't secondary mirrors or for the Coude' room.

I will adjust the main text to more accurately "reflect" what they really are.

jlp105 said...

That makes perfect sense....

As Maxwell Smart used to say,
" Missed it by that much "

Shawn said...

Hello, Blake Mitchell was my Grandfather, he passed away a few days ago. I was hoping that you could post more of these photographs. I'm creating a tribute to his work on facebook.

Dr. Shawn Soszka

W. Scott Kardel said...


I am sorry to hear of Blake's passing. Two more photos are posted here:

I am no longer with the observatory, but will be in touch with more for you.

- Scott