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124-year-old Victorian telescope to be restored in New Zealand

Brashear Telescope
Asia   Brashear Telescope was used in the late 1800s

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




Dallas Poll, who is restoring the 124-year-old telescope, said that to have an instrument of this caliber 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 nine meters tall, has an 18-inch 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 realized.

Graham Kennedy 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 center.

When the astronomy center opens in autumn 2019, the Brashear Telescope will be free for the public to view during the day and anyone who wishes to get a closer look can be taken on a guided tour, according to the builder of the new astronomy center, the Earth & Sky Limited Partnership.

 
 
 

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