Nasmyth reflecting telescope on turntable stand, 1850-1852

Made:
1850-1852 in England, Manchester urban district and Patricroft
maker:
James Hall Nasmyth
Opening of - "Cosmos & Culture: how astronomy has shaped our world" exhibition.  James Nasmyth's 20-inch reflecting Opening of - "Cosmos & Culture: how astronomy has shaped our world" exhibition.  James Nasmyth's 20-inch reflecting

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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 and iron
Measurements:
Tube without pallet: 740 mm x 4180 mm x 1090 mm, 600 mm, 503 kg
Tube: 915 mm x 4180 mm x 1090 mm, 600 mm, 548 kg
Base without pallet: 1530 mm x 1630 mm x 1775 mm, 1069 kg
base (footprint) with pallet: 1690 mm x 1830 mm x 1775 mm, 1114 kg
type:
telescope - reflecting
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • optical instrument
  • telescope
  • disciplines
  • disciplines
  • science
  • natural sciences
  • physical sciences
credit:
Mr J.G. Bower