Friday, July 22, 2011

Antique Saturn

This rather poor image of Saturn was taken using a camera phone through the eyepiece of the Alvan Clark & Sons refractor at Sam Houston State University. The telescope was purchased in 1884 by the university (then known as Sam Houston Normal Institute) and sits on its original No. 5 mount. Mike Prokosch, the director of the SHSU Planetarium brought it out after a show one night to view the Moon and Saturn. The views were spectacular! Lunar features were crisp, with high contrast, and I could make out cloud bands on Saturn and the gap between the rings and planet quite easily.

A picture of Mike standing next to the telescope is located on Mike's web site.

Saturn; 1884 4.5" Clark refractor on No. 5 mount; Kyocera Loft camera through 0.6" eyepiece


  1. How delightful that you got to look through the Clark! I've always wanted to, just to have done it, but also to see the results of what was considered the best glass work at that time. Also, Clark did not get into that business until he was older than I am, so such a scope reminds me of my potential, like George Foreman.

  2. Antique Saturn ... love those words! Great title for a post!

  3. Thanks! The Clark refractor is a treasure. It needs a professional cleaning, but I was amazed at the quality of the optics. BTW, I enjoyed reading your blog!