Shooting the stars

What happens if you shoot a telescope? Although this may seem like a strange question to ask, it is what happened at the Mc Donald Observatory, on the summit of Mt. Locke in Texas, in 1970.

Apparently, a new employee of the observatory suffered a breakdown and took a gun with him to the observing floor. There he took a shot at his supervisor and shot the rest of the bullets at the primary mirror of the 107" Harlan-Smith telescope. Luckily, the mirror didn't break but left some impact craters. The craters were bored out and the holes were painted black.

As the mirror is not in the focal plane, this doesn't produce 'bullet holes' in the image; it just reduces the amount of light collected and so reduces the effective size of the mirror down to about 105". If you have a telescope, try obscuring part of the aperture and then look at the image. You should see that it looks the same but is just dimmer.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Monday 22nd Nov 2004 (13:49 UTC) | Permalink
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]