Telescopes are the eyes on the universe and an observatory typically has a variety of telescopes, some permanently mounted other portable. Telescopes can be designed for specific purposes such as measuring the position of a star or for taking photographs. Telescopes are also designed for different audiences including students and the researchers. The Observatory contains a variety of telescopes gathered over the years serving a variety of uses.


Department of Astronomy

Collection Items

12-inch equatorial refractor
The telescope is a refractor with an objective of 12.4 inches clear aperture and of 15 ft. focal length. The objective is by J.A. Brashear of Allegheny, the curves used being those of Professor Charles Hasting. The objective is a doublet, or…

3-inch combined transit and zenith telescope
Metal, glass

The principle transit circle was a 3-inch Combined Transit and Zenith telescope designed by Warner & Swasey especially for Illinois. The objective, by John Brashear, was held in place by a special cell that compensated for the…

2-inch altitude-azimuth universal telescope
Wood, metal, glass

Stored in 2 large wooden boxes (22 ¼ x 12 ½ x 14 ¼ and 22 x 22 ½ x 17 inches). Transit consists of base with three leveling screws, telescope, striding level, 3 eyepieces, several lens caps for the eye pieces and an objective…

Engineer transit telescope
Metal, glass, wood

There are two transits. The first is transit includes compass and is marked no. 898. Objective is 1-inch diameter and tube is 8” long. One frosted glass shade is missing.

The second transit is marked no. 862 and comes with a…

Collimator lens and meridian mark
Metal, glass

Measures 8 ¼ x 6 x 11 ½ inches, lens is 1.7” in diameter.
Director G.W. Myers articulated the need for a Meridian or mire Mark in a March 6, 1897 letter to university President Draper. “Mire mark and Collimator for 3-inch Combined…

6-inch f/16 equatorial refractor by Jeslerski
Metal, brass, glass, wood

Donated by Mrs. Ruth Scott of Chrisman Illinois in 1971. Equipped with solar filter, diagonal, slow motion, 60 mm guide telescope, 25 and 50 mm finders, equatorial mount on heavy movable wooden tripod. Valued at $1,500 in…

30-inch mirror
Wood, metal, glass

Frustrated by the selenium cell photometer's lack of sensivity, Joel Stebbins purchased a large 30-inch reflector in 1912. The original telescope was purchased from C.W. Draper, $1500, #573, July 26 1912. It has previously been…

4-inch reflector Celestar
Metal, glass, wood

Celestar telescope with fork-type mounting and electric drive. Includes wood tripod, slow motion adjustment both axes, right ascension and declination setting circles and achromatic 30 mm finder scope. A chain links the three…
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