Pioneering telescope makers allowed a revolutionary ascendancy of American astronomy in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Astronomical Lyceum in New Mexico, originally built in 1936 as a theater and gymnasium, now houses a collection of telescopes, optics, archives, and literature from this ascendancy. Its volunteer staff find the artifacts and associated history surprisingly engaging for visitors of all interest levels. The presentation will include unusual items, large and small, created by some of the America's greatest early optical artists, including Henry and Harry Fitz, Alvan Clark and Sons, Carl and Robert Lundin, John A. Brashear, George Willis Ritchey, and the pioneer of astronomical spectroscopy and photography, Lewis Morris Rutherfurd. The collection includes artifacts originating right up through the Space Age, including from the amateur telescope making movement and its surprising influence. While time allows only an overview, the presentation hopes to remind participants how history of science and technology can be powerfully engaging and interesting for essentially anyone when offered in the right spirit.
Speaker: John Briggs, Astronomer
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