We were pleased to return to the physical/hybrid meetings at the Augustin United Church on Friday. The invited speaker this week was Professor Giles Hammond from the University of Glasgow who gave an interesting and personal account of his work renovating the 20” Grubb-Parsons telescope. It was next followed by the ‘Sky in February’ by the society’s Horst Meyerdierks and then lastly, we had a brief history of one of the society’s antique telescopes, the Charles Tulley from Andrew Farrow. Unfortunately, Professor Hammond was unable to make the meeting in person as originally planned, but was able to deliver his presentation via Zoom. We had a large group on Zoom as well as in the church hall and on YouTube.
Professor Hammond started his presentation with providing the background on the makers and founders of the company Grubb-Parsons. The company was based in Newcastle, but initially founded in Dublin by Thomas Grubb with a reputation for manufacturing high quality optical instruments. In 1925 the company was then acquired by Sir Charles Parsons and traded until 1985. The company is known for building many renowned telescopes such as the Isaac Newton and the William Herschel.
We were next introduced to the Glasgow 20” telescope and its sister telescope that was based in Edinburgh. Professor Hammond provided a background into each instrument’s history and then focused on the renovation of the Glasgow telescope. We were then taken through a detailed rebuild of the RA and Dec clock drive of the telescope and the technicalities of the electronics involved. Professor Hammond lastly shared the functionality of the instrument, showcasing the various images/observations made over the years and the teaching projects it has been involved in.
Following the main presentation, Horst Meyerdierks next presented his insights into “The Sky in February”, highlighting what to look out for over the coming month, including the movements of the planets, the star constellations and deep sky objects. This is always a very informative presentation for the society’s keen astrophotographers and imagers.
We ended with a short but intriguing delve into our society’s history and the connection with the Charles Tulley telescope. Andrew Farrow explained through digging into the society’s archives how the ASE had acquired the telescope and further revealed some interesting stories in connection with the makers. The telescope was on display in the church hall and could be seen in greater detail for those that were able to attend the meeting in person.