Back to All Events

RCA General Meeting: History of Telescope Making in the Portland Area

  • OMSI 1945 Southeast Water Avenue Portland, OR, 97214 (map)
  Maksutov by Harold Haggart, Oregon City, 1960s

Maksutov by Harold Haggart, Oregon City, 1960s

There is an extensive history involving telescopes in our area — contrary to most expectations. A major public telescope was in use in Portland by 1910. An Alvan Clark telescope was in use by the 1920s.  An amateur built reflecting telescope of 16 inches aperture was photographed in Portland in 1930, very early for such a large ATM project — though the mirror was commercial.

 Observatory by Robert Millard, Portland, 1930

Observatory by Robert Millard, Portland, 1930

A particularly beautiful small private observatory was in use by the later 1930s. In the 1940s, an amateur built of steel a 1/8 scale model of the Palomar telescope, using a cellular mirror made in testing for the 200 inch project. In more recent times, ATM projects in our region have been innovative and ambitious.

There is more in this history than can be shown in an hour, but we can have a quick overview as part of marking the upcoming 30th anniversary of RCA.

Peter Abrahams has been an RCA member for 24 years, and served RCA as secretary and president. He spends much more time reading about astronomy, telescopes, and observing, than actually getting out under the sky.  The history of the telescope is a particular interest.

Slides from Our February Meeting

Earlier Event: February 19
New Member Orientation
Later Event: February 21
Cosmology SIG