124-Year-Old Telescope to be Restored in NZ

One of the world’s most famous Victorian telescopes will be restored and available for public viewing in autumn 2019 at Lake Tekapo after spending five decades in storage.

Dallas Poll, who is restoring the 124-year-old Brashear Telescope, said that to have an instrument of this calibre is “an astounding privilege” and it is even more special that it will be in the heart of the world’s largest dark sky reserve.

The Brashear Telescope was used in the late 1800s by Percival Lowell for his studies of Mars. It stands at a maximum of 9m tall, has a 46cm-refracting lens, and is beautifully crafted of brass, iron, steel and wood.

In the 1960s, the Brashear Telescope was gifted to the Christchurch-based University of Canterbury by the University of Pennsylvania for installation at Mt John Observatory in Tekapo. Unfortunately, there were not enough funds to build a dome suitable to house the telescope so it was resigned to a life in storage.

In 2016, the University of Canterbury gifted the telescope to the Tomorrow’s Skies Charitable Trust to enable the long-held dream of restoration to be realised.

Graham Kennedy (pictured) of the Tomorrow’s Skies Charitable Trust said that the importance of this project to astronomy is tremendous. The Trust is seeking support to restore and house the Brashear Telescope in a purpose-built observatory dome in the new astronomy centre.

Original article by Xinhua, Global Times, December 7, 2018.

Tags: Brashear Telescope  Global Times  Graham Kennedy  Mt John Observatory  Percival Lowell  Tomorrow’s Skies Charitable Trust  

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