Nasmyth reflecting telescope on turntable stand, 1850-1852

Made:
1850-1852 in Patricroft, Manchester urban district and England
maker:
James Hall Nasmyth

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Opening of - "Cosmos & Culture: how astronomy has shaped our world" exhibition. James Nasmyth's 20-inch reflecting
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Opening of - "Cosmos & Culture: how astronomy has shaped our world" exhibition. James Nasmyth's 20-inch reflecting
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Reflecting telescope, 20-inch aperture with speculum mirror and altazimuth mounting, by James Nasmyth at Patricroft, Manchester, England, 1850-1852. Later the instrument was moved to ‘Hammerhurst’, Nasmyth’s new home at Penshurst, Kent, when he retired from industry in 1856. (see note)

James Nasmyth, a successful entrepreneur built this reflecting telescope at his foundry at Patricroft near Manchester around 1850. With a 20-inch metal mirror, it originally had an optical configuration with the eyepiece perilously located at the top of the tube. To improve matters, Nasmyth lengthened the light path so that it was directed through trunnion axis of the turntable stand. As Nasmyth was observing the Sun and the bright Moon, the additional reflection off the extra mirror was not a problem. From drawings of the Moon made at the telescope, he made relief models of the lunar surface. These were then photographed with suitable lighting to produce results better at the time than could be achieved with direct lunar photography.

Details

Category:
Astronomy
Object Number:
1933-21
Materials:
brass, complete, iron
Measurements:
base (footprint): 1700 mm x 1690 mm,
Tube: 4100 mm 600 mm,
type:
telescope - reflecting
taxonomy:
  • disciplines
  • disciplines
  • science
  • natural sciences
  • physical sciences
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • optical instrument
  • telescope
credit:
Mr J.G. Bower
status:
Permanent collection

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