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A Trip to Madison

To get a larger version of each image, click on the image. Full size images are in JPEG .

These images were taken on a 1997 Labor Day visit to a RAS alumnus, Chris Conselice, who is a grad student in astronomy at UW-Madison. Part of the curricula requires them to hold public viewing nights with the 15-inch refractor at Washburn Observatory! Peggy Wilkins and myself convinced Chris to show us all the cool things up there. (Perhaps he required no convincing himself).

Washburn Observatory building

The view from the north. The observatory rests on a high hill overlooking the UW campus and Lake Mendota to the north. A very nice view. We had a tour of the facilities at sunset and then after dinner returned to a cooled telescope and a clear night of observing. The observatory is now the offices of a humanities institute and only the dome and auxillary room are untouched.

I looked around for traces of the underground structure built to search for the planet Vulcan, but didn't see any.

The 15-inch refractor at UW-Madison

The fine refractor. Like the other famous refractor on campus, this one has its tube painted light blue and the mount blue. The mount has the steering wheel common to large refractors; this is to move the scope in R.A. when flipping the scope over the meridian. I found it very useful, thrilling to say the least. "Arrg, maties! Jupiter off the starboard!". The clock drive inside has been electrified, but the clock governors are still present. I took this photo from atop the stable viewing chariot.

Photo looking up the tube.
There is a power supply mounted on it, probably relating to the use of the scope for photometric work by Stebbins et al.

Peggy Wilkins took this shot of Chris and myself relaxing in the evening.
Unfortunately, I don't think I've ever got Chris with a normal look on his face. (But believe me, he is quite normal.)

The six-inch Clark refractor of S.W. Burnham

The six-inch Clark refractor owned by S.W. Burnham and used by him to make many discoveries and positions of double stars. The clock drive on this one has been replaced by electric ones as well. The dome gets rather warm on sunny days.

Chris and the Clark refractor.

Eyepiece side of the scope.
You can see the inscription by A. Clark and Sons. The other side mentioned the town in Mass. where they were located.

The business end of the scope.
Here is a view of the objective of the Clark refractor.

All photographs on this page copyright by their respective photographers.

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Dean W. Armstrong <dean+ras@uchicago.edu>