Edmund Optics components chosen for reconstruction of historic telescope

Oct. 7, 2009
Edmund Optics (EO; Barrington, NJ) announced that Telescopes of Vermont (Norwich, VT) has chosen EO as the optics supplier for its recreation of the historic Porter Garden Telescope.

Edmund Optics (EO; Barrington, NJ) announced that Telescopes of Vermont (Norwich, VT) has chosen EO as the optics supplier for its recreation of the historic Porter Garden Telescope.

Russell Williams Porter (1872-1949), who originally designed the telescope in the 1920s, was a renowned artist and architect who was part of the design team that created the 200-inch telescope at the Palomar Observatory in California, once the largest in the world. Porter's Garden Telescope, a model for the split-ring mount used at the Palomar Observatory, stands only 35 inches high. Like the original, the exacting reproduction is a masterful blend of art and science designed for permanent installation in a garden setting where it is both ornamental and utilitarian. Only a handful of the original devices exists, one of which is in the Smithsonian.

Artful design
The reproduction Garden Telescope is fabricated from bronze and has a 6-inch, f/4 mirror in an open-tube Newtonian configuration. Two eyepieces give users a range of magnifications for both terrestrial and astronomical observing. The telescope's elegant design cradles the primary mirror in a bowl of lotus leaves, while a slender stem reaches up to hold the secondary mirror and eyepieces. The mirrors and eyepiece optics are all removable, allowing the telescope body to remain outdoors where it can also function as a sundial.

"I selected Edmund Optics for the mirrors because the sizes available from stock were exactly what we needed," said optical systems engineer Berton Willard. "The surface accuracy met our requirements and the costs were reasonable."

For the eyepieces, Willard chose EO's RKE series because of their simple triplet design and for the support that the company provided. "EO's openness in providing design information on the eyepieces allowed us to perform retracing to evaluate their use with the primary mirror and for the repackaging," said Willard. The eyepieces require installation in a 0.75-inch diameter cell to match the original design.

"We are thrilled to be a part of the effort to reintroduce this historic and beautiful instrument," said Marisa Edmund, EO's vice president of marketing and communications. "People will be able to admire both its beauty and, through EO's optics, the beauty of our spectacular universe."

About the Author

John Wallace | Senior Technical Editor (1998-2022)

John Wallace was with Laser Focus World for nearly 25 years, retiring in late June 2022. He obtained a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and physics at Rutgers University and a master's in optical engineering at the University of Rochester. Before becoming an editor, John worked as an engineer at RCA, Exxon, Eastman Kodak, and GCA Corporation.

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