Monday, February 22, 2010

Palomar History Photo of the Week - February 22, 2010

Recently a wonderful cache of old photos was discovered at Palomar. Virtually every image has a date and some accompanying text to go with it. Scanning of this collection has just begun and most of the images have not likely been seen by anyone in decades.

The oldest image in the collection is this one:


The writing on the envelope that contained the glass negative for this shot indicated that the image is from 1929. It was labeled: 4" telescope & stand used for testing seeing.

That means that this telescope is likely one of the ones that was used to evaluate the conditions on various mountain tops as a part of the survey to decide which mountain would be chosen as the home for the 200-inch telescope. Palomar was, of course, finally chosen in 1934. I do not know what became of the site testing telescopes.

The photo was taken by Ferdinand Ellerman.

UPDATE: Thanks to eagle-eyed reader Matt who noticed that there were letters on a box that were backward, meaning that the image was reversed. It has now been corrected. The letters on the box were from a Van Dyck cigar box, shown in full resolution below:

5 comments:

Ben said...

Scott!!!! WOW!!! To read of these telescopes and now to see one!!! This is ssssooooo exciting and amazing! Thanks for scanning and posting this image!
Your blog is so important as a way of showing the world all things Palomar!
Thanks!

Jim Davidson said...

I love it! Look at the details in the background, notice the lathe....

Scott Kardel said...

Ben, I am happy to be able to share these shots.

Jim, I certainly agree that the items in the background make this a much cooler picture as it gives a glimpse to a different era.

mconsidine said...

Hi, I think the picture is shown "flipped" left to right, as the wording on the box visible in the lower left is reversed. Also, while I would need to double check the editions of "Amateur Telescope Making" by Porter/Ingalls, I think this example is also pictured in one of those volumes and is identified as a Palomar site survey scope.

Scott Kardel said...

Thanks for catching that Matt! I have flipped the image to the correct orientation.