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Old 24-11-2019, 08:17 PM
Mickoid (Michael)
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GMT's 150th birthday

The Great Melbourne Telescope is celebrating its 150th birthday this year and to commemorate the occasion, Melbourne's Science works museum organised a public viewing. I went to one of the viewing sessions today and was very impressed with the work done on its restoration. The telescope has had a checkered life. Starting off in Melbourne where it was delivered from Dublin in 1868, reassembled and used for public viewing and research for about 75 years at the Melbourne Observatory. In 1944 the observatory closed and the GMT was transferred to Mount Stromlo Observatory in 1945. There it was modified extensively and very little of the original components were used.

Bushfires near Canberra in January 2003 devastated the Mt Stromlo observatory and little survived. All that remained of the GMT were a few original parts. Fortunately for original parts that were removed for the modifications, they were stored elsewhere and were saved from the destructive fires. The surving parts of the GMT that could be salvaged, were removed and transported back to Melbourne in 2008. It has been since then that a dedicated bunch of enthusiasts have voluntarily donated their time and skills in painstakingly trying to piece together the original parts that remain and assemble the telescope back to its 1868 specifications. There are little if any drawings that can be sourced to help with identifying and placing some of the parts back to where they came from. The best guide they have are some wonderful old photographs of the telescope being installed at the Melbourne Observatory not long after it arrived from Dublin.

I was surprised today to be told that after over 10 years of restoration the telescope is only about 50% complete. The expected time to complete the rebuild and be operational once more is in 3 yrs! As you can see it is a long process, delayed due to lack of funding and knowledge of reassembly. Despite the slow progress the instrument is looking mighty impressive with many missing parts having to be fabricated. A credit to the team who have been tirelessly working on it. The final triumph of this epic story is to return it to its original home at the Melbourne Observatory where it will operate as it did over 150 years earlier, entertaining future generations of the wonders of the night sky.
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Last edited by Mickoid; 24-11-2019 at 09:11 PM.
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Old 24-11-2019, 09:05 PM
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strongmanmike (Michael)
Woohoo it's clear

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Very Cool, thanks for the report and photo

Mike
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Old 25-11-2019, 12:48 PM
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Bart
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I read about this in an Aust Sky &Telescope a few years ago. Excellent project and looking more complete than when they pulled it out of the ashes.
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Old 25-11-2019, 08:23 PM
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erick (Eric)
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I'm in Melbourne. I must get there. Just looked - last tour Wed! Better get movin'! Thanks Michael.
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Old 27-11-2019, 09:23 PM
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erick (Eric)
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Yeah, I was there today! I was allowed to take and share photos of items in storage which we visited on the tour before going to the scope itself. I've shared the eyepieces photos.

Original suite of eyepieces with magnifications (in this telescope) from x238 to x1000. A two lens Hugyens design, manufactured by Grubb in 1868. I understand that the x238 weighs some 7kg.

Part of the 48 point mirror support for the 1,000kg speculum 1.2m primary mirror. Mirrors in the refurbished GMT will be glass. They have a (fragile) speculum primary for future display.

Me with the machine (a glass wall in between sadly). I understand that it was only recently that the tube unit was reunited with the mount.

No "first light" from this location - they cannot take the roof off the heritage building it is currently in.

It will eventually return to public viewing, from the middle of Melbourne. It was said it will be the largest telescope dedicated to public viewing in the world.

I've attached the ASV factsheet on the original scope for information.

Thanks again Michael for the "heads-up". Eric
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Old 27-11-2019, 10:42 PM
Mickoid (Michael)
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Glad you were able to get there in time Eric, it should have been promoted much better than it was. If not for a friend of mine emailing me about it, I would have missed the opportunity to see it too. I will be watching the progress of the GMT more carefully from now on. Yes, aren't those eyepieces massive!
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