Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 35

"nebulae" and discover that most show high velocities
of recession. This achievement led to Edwin Hubble's
finding that the universe is expanding. VM Slipher also
discovered spectroscopically that the Merope Nebula in
the Pleiades was not glowing gas but interstellar dust
reflecting starlight; it was the first known reflection
nebula. In 1905 Lampland used the Clark refractor to
obtain some of the earliest good photographs of Mars.
For the next half century E. C. Slipher used specially
built enlarging cameras and a technique called integration printing to secure some of the finest photographs of
the planets from that era (S&T: March 2014, p. 68).
With the arrival of the space age in the late 1950s and
1960s, the Clark telescope once again became a centerpiece of lunar and planetary research. NASA funded a
Planetary Research Center at the observatory, which carried out two major projects: high-resolution mapping of
the Moon in preparation for the Apollo missions (resulting in the U.S. Air Force/NASA Lunar Charts in 1963),
and running the worldwide International Planetary Patrol
Program, headed by William A. Baum, which generated
a database of 1.2 million photographs of the major planets
(as told in the January issue, page 52). These provided
invaluable information on Martian meteorology and
dust storms, the dynamics of Jupiter's atmosphere, the
retrograde rotation of Venus's cloud deck, and some of the
physical properties of Saturn's ring system, all in preparation for planetary exploration by space probes.
Since then, the great refractor has served as the core
attraction in the observatory's Public Program, which
welcomes some 80,000 visitors a year. The telescope has
also been used by many amateur astronomers for special
observing and imaging sessions.
But after performing for over a century, this classic telescope, mounting and dome were in dire need of
some tender loving care. Enter master instrument specialist Ralph Nye and his team of skilled co-workers: Jeff
Gehring, Glenn Hill, Peter Rosenthal, and Dave Shuck.

DISASSEMBLY A crane lifts the 900-pound declination shaft out of its
housing for inspection and cleaning. The mount was bolted to a temporary
pier at a 35° angle, so the polar axis (behind the big right-ascension circle)
would be horizontal for easier removal of parts.

A major problem was deterioration of the massive
bearing wheel at the bottom of the polar axis. Eighteen
inches in diameter and 3 inches wide, supporting three
tons of moving parts, it was made of relatively soft cast
iron; large steel bearings weren't available in 1895. After
some 116 years of use, the support wheel had flattened
and widened at damaged areas. Consequently, as the
telescope moved in right ascension, the polar axle shifted
out of its housing by 1/8 inch or so, and when the threeton assembly fell back to its original position, a loud
bang shook the entire telescope!
Replacing it would require taking the entire telescope
apart. On the positive side, this would give us a chance
to do many other repairs and restorations.
Lowell Observatory started a "Save the Clark Tele-

CAREFUL! A crane lowers the refurbished, 11,000-pound
equatorial mount through the dome slit.

Sk yandTelescope.com March 2016

LOWELL OBSERVATORY (2)

From the Ground Up

35


http://www.SkyandTelescope.com

Sky and Telescope - March 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sky and Telescope - March 2016

Contents
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - Cover1
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - Cover2
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 1
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - Contents
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 3
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - A
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - B
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 4
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 5
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 6
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 7
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 8
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 9
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 10
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 11
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 12
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 13
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 14
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 15
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 16
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 17
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 18
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 19
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 20
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 21
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 22
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 23
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 24
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 25
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 26
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 27
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 28
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 29
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 30
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 31
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 32
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 33
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 34
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 35
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 36
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 37
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 38
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 39
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 40
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 41
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 42
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 43
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 44
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 45
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 46
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 47
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 48
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 49
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 50
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 51
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 52
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 53
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 54
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 55
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 56
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 57
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 58
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 59
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 60
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 61
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 62
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 63
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Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 65
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 66
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 67
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 68
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Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - Cover3
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - Cover4
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