The restoration team is making great advances in cleaning and describing the hundreds of parts of the telescope. They are undertaking the arduous task of removing layers of paint, preparing detailed technical drawings, and undertaking crack testing of critical parts.
Every photograph of the original GMT shows its telescope tube, the lower part being sheet metal and the longer, upper part comprised of a criss-cross lattice of metal strips. This design was intended to save weight and reduce wind drag in the upper part of the tube.
A previous news item reported the disassembly of the northern end of the combined axis assembly. The next big job was to remove the declination axis from the cube – an undertaking of similar magnitude, which similarly occupied several Wednesdays and many challenges.
The five major pieces – cube, northern cone, southern cone, bell housing and declination axis – are now resting on their respective pallets, a joy to behold and a sight to gladden the heart of a tired telescope dismantler.
See the article in Phoenix Newsletter – Issue 3, November 2009 (PDF 597KB) for a blow by blow account.
Jim Pollock of the ASV restoration team has come across some more historical photographs, showing the newly-made GMT standing in Grubb’s Dublin factory in 1868, attended by Irish workers clad in hats, waistcoats and beards. Torn and faded depictions of a scruffy old industrial yard may be dull to most people, but these dog-eared daguerrotypes sent Barry Clark into excursions of ecstasy. Some hitherto baffling technical questions can now be answered by scrutiny of these photos.
Read more in Phoenix Newsletter – Issue 3, November 2009 (PDF 597KB).
This mighty effort was our frst job – I won’t call it a baptism of fire, as the GMT has already had one – and is best described as four tasks.