Saturday, March 5, 2011

the UK Schmidt Telescope

just across the mountain from the AAT lives the UK Schmidt telescope, a 1.2 meter scope built in the early 1970s. in the photo below, the UKST is the dome on the left as seen from the catwalk of the AAT.

solid 70s construction (the tape is not part of the support structure ;)

the rooms inside this telescope dome feel like museums of old equipment and techniques in astronomy. this is the original analog mini-dome model that is still in control of moving the opening of the dome relative to where the telescope points.

while we can make much more precise measurements with digital CCD technology, there's something romantic about investigating old developed images.

nowadays, the UKST is used to survey the sky and collect velocities of 1 million stars zooming around our milky way galaxy for a project called RAVE. this robot works hard to position all optical fiber on the heavy plates in order to collect spectra of each individual star.

here's an old note i found in the dome...


Ron said...

The "old brown knob"? That sounds like a beer drinking song that you might hear in an Irish pub! :-)

amydove said...

Those photographic plates are great!

heroineworshipper said...

Weird to see them look at photos of galaxies. Nowadays, telescopes just produce spectrograms, or a single dot.

skywatcher88 said...

Great to see what is now considered old tech still working!
I Have an 8" Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope that is 33+ years old that I bought new and is still working for me.It is my goto scope.I go to it and look through it.All I need is a cloud removing filter to use it more often!
No brown Knobs but a few black ones attached. !!I think I know that song the Old Brown Knob!!She aint what she used to be !(I`m of Irish Descent)
Peace and Clear Skies!