* Astronomy

Members Login
Post Info TOPIC: McCormick Observatory


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
University of Virginia observatory
Permalink  
 


Man who set fire at UVa observatory pleads guilty to destruction of property

An Albemarle County judge ordered the man who attempted to burn down the University of Virginia observatory in February to pay $418.52 in restitution to the university's facilities management. Read more



__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
RE: McCormick Observatory
Permalink  
 


McCormick Observatory Celebrates 125 Years

Today, the birthday of University of Virginia founder Thomas Jefferson, marks the 125th anniversary of the dedication of the University's Leander McCormick Observatory - one of the oldest operating observatories in the world.
Read more

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Permalink  
 

McCormick Observatory gets new look for birthday

As the University of Virginia's Leander McCormick Observatory turns 125 today, a refurbishment project is under way to make the observatory appear more as it did when it opened in 1885.
Read more

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Permalink  
 

McCormick Observatory Public Night
Location McCormick Observatory
Date and Time Friday November 21, 2008
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM (EST)

Read more

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Permalink  
 

The Clark telescope at the McCormick Observatory at the University of Virginia will be undergoing a small but crucial renovation soon -- the polishing of the lens that has scanned the stars for more than 100 years.

Robert and Rose Capon donated $20,000 for the renovation of the 32-foot-long telescope in hopes it would lead to even grander things.
The Capons, who live in Albemarle County, US, hope to see the eventual restoration of the observatory itself and the construction of a science-education centre at the observatory's location on Mount Jefferson overlooking the U.Va. campus.
"We hope the university will see the progress and people will get excited (after the telescope's renovation). We're hoping the money will serve as a catalyst for a very large project that will probably take $5 million." -Robert Capon, amateur astronomer.

But meanwhile, the telescope, still in use for students, will be refurbished starting in January.
"The goal is to make it look like it originally did. Fortunately they never threw anything out. . . . This is the best-preserved Clark refractory telescope in the world" - Ed Murphy, assistant professor of astronomy at U.Va. "
It may well be the prettiest telescope and observatory, too, built with a blend of mechanical ingenuity and an artist's eye for aesthetics.
The telescope, whose 26-inch lens once made it the largest in the United States, is mounted with such precision it can easily be swung into place by hand. Enclosed overhead by a tin and canvas dome, the brick observatory is rich with architectural details from its arched windows and buttressed walls to the elaborately engraved hinges on its doors.



The $20,000 renovation will be used to restore the pier on which the telescope is mounted and reinstall the original mechanism that allowed the telescope to turn mechanically. The project will also install smaller electric motors that can be better hidden to replace larger motors and a spider web of wires installed in a 1960s upgrade. The telescope could then be moved either by the motors or by the mechanical devices.

"We want to strip off the 1960s stuff. We want to go back to the clean look"

The project also hopes to find money to rip up linoleum laid on the original wooden floors of the observatory and remove panelling that covers the observatory's plaster walls.
The bigger project envisioned by the Capons and others would include renovating the nearby Alden House, built in 1883, into a science centre that would offer educational and exhibit space. The project would also include the planting of gardens and the construction of needed parking spaces on the mountain as well as providing handicapped access to the observatory.
The history of the observatory, which celebrated its 120th anniversary on April 13, is a rich one.

Leander J. McCormick, the brother of inventor Cyrus McCormick, decided in 1870 to give a telescope to a college in his home state of Virginia, though he lived in Chicago. The McCormick family had moved from Rockbridge County to the Midwest to further their harvesting-machine business.
Though he had no interest in astronomy, McCormick was probably encouraged to donate a telescope because a friend in his social circle had given one to the now-defunct Chicago University, Murphy said.
McCormick spoke about donating a telescope to Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general who later became president of Washington University (later named Washington and Lee). Lee referred McCormick elsewhere, possibly to U.Va., because Washington University could not afford to hire an astronomer.

Charles Scott Venable, a U.Va. mathematician who had served on Lee's staff during the Civil War, eventually was contacted by McCormick and, though it took a number of years, the telescope was eventually built and dedicated on April 13, 1885.
The telescope was valued then at $50,000.
McCormick also gave an additional $18,000 toward building the observatory itself. U.Va., with the assistance of alumni and other donors, raised the remaining $75,000 needed to complete the entire structure.

McCormick requested that the telescope lens be built 26 inches in diameter -- the biggest the technology of the day could create -- so it would supersede in size the 26-inch telescope made for the U.S. Naval Observatory.
For years, the telescope was used for research by university scientists, including a long-range program of measuring the distance to stars. Eventually, more than 3,000 stars were measured before the program came to a halt in 1995 because of light pollution. Research is now conducted at the university's Fan Mountain Observatory in southern Albemarle.
Today, students still use the Clark telescope, which is also available to the public twice a month. School groups, Scout troops, teachers and others are taught about the mysteries of the stars through the observatory.

http://www.astro.virginia.edu/research/observatories/McCormick.html

__________________
Page 1 of 1  sorted by
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.



Create your own FREE Forum
Report Abuse
Powered by ActiveBoard