Photograph Ross Camera and Fauth finderscope


Photograph Ross Camera and Fauth finderscope


astronomy, telescope, camera, photography


Photograph of the 4-inch Ross-Fecker camera with the 4-inch Fauth refractor as the finderscope.

The instrument was a refractor of 4-inch aperture and 28-inch focal length (f/7) with a scale of 290”/mm. It held 8x10 inch glass plates covering 20 by 16 degrees. Mounted on former 30-inch reflector mount. Originally located at the Florida Avenue Observatory until 1966, moved to Prairie Observatory in 1968. First plate taken October 10, 1939, last recorded plate October 8, 1980.

In 1953, Fecker estimated the value at $18,000 and noted it was in good condition with the exception of outside surface paint scaling. Many of the plates are now at Yerkes Observatory where they will be digitized and preserved. Baker and his students, which included Elaine Nantkes, Lois Keifer, David Heeschen and Alan Sandage, published 7 papers in the Astrophysical Journal on the analysis of the Milky Way in Cassiopeia, Ophiuchus, Sagittarius, Auriga, Aquila, Cepheus and Perseus. This was the principal research in astronomy done at the University of Illinois from 1939 until 1951. Approximately 4000 photographs were taken with the camera.

The finderscope was a 4-inch Fauth refractor purchased in 1896. The receipt identifies it as an “Outfit” equatorial consistent with the 1893 Saegmuller catalog. "The smaller equatorial has an aperture of 4 inches and a focal length of 6 feet. It is provided with graduated circles of 6 inches diameter in both right ascension and declination, the former reading by two verniers to single minutes and the latter, also by two verniers to five minutes of arc. It is further supplied with a driving clock and finder and is mounted by means of a circular cast iron column 6 feet high which rests on a masonry pier, the whole being covered by a shed carried on rollers which may be easily and quickly pushed entirely away from the instrument."


J.W. Fecker


Description and price-list of first-class engineering and astronomical instruments manufactures by Geo. N Saegmuller successor to Fauth & Co. (1892). Gibson Bros Printers: Washington DC. Available as Google eBook at .

Myers, G.W. (1898) The Astronomical Observatory. The Technograph. No. 11, pp. 104-111


Astronomy Department, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois


circa 1940


Still image




University of Illinois Observatory, Urbana, Illinois

Original Format


Physical Dimensions

6 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches






J.W. Fecker, “Photograph Ross Camera and Fauth finderscope,” University of Illinois Observatory Collection, accessed September 19, 2017,