TWC Observatory and the

Dr. Karl W. Keller Telescope

 

Dr. Karl W. Keller Telescope

The centerpiece of the new observatory at The Wilderness Center is the Dr. Karl W. Keller Telescope.  This 16" f/11 Ealing classical Cassegrain telescope is shown in its original condition at Dr. Keller's observatory in the image below on the left. It  has been completely refurbished with new mirror coatings, new bearings donated and installed by the Timken Company, and a computer controlled drive system.  It is shown in the image below on the right in its new location in The Wilderness Center's new Astronomy Education Building. The beautiful external appearance of the telescope is due to a fine sandblasting job donated by Terry Kirby and a durable, attractive powder coating donated by Powder Innovations of Canton. 
16 f/11 Ealing classical Cassegrain telescopeThe Keller Telescope at TWC with Giust refractor mounted on left
The telescope was originally purchased in the early 1970s by Dr. Karl Keller of Canton, a prominent local surgeon.  Dr. Keller had a life-long love of the stars, and this fine telescope was a logical extension of this interest.  Dr. Keller had a backyard observatory designed and built by Schneider Lumber of Canton.  Upon his death in 1990, Elizabeth Keller contacted TWC to inquire about our interest in this instrument.  We took possession of the scope in April, 1991.  It spent several years storage awaiting the expansion of TWC, and the successful completion of the recent capital campaign.  Major funding for the Astronomy Education Building was provided by the Fred F. Silk Foundation of Canton. With the completion of the Astronomy Education Building in early 1999, the stage was set for the Keller Telescope to spring back to life and open its wide eye on the universe once again.  A team of WCAC members led by Kent Rothermel spent many volunteer hours putting the telescope back into working order in its new home. Our next goal is to retrofit the Keller mount with the latest computer controlled Go-To pointing and guidance system. This project is currently in the planning stage. The Keller Telescope is an important part of TWC's educational program as well as a research instrument available to local students, teachers and members of the WCAC.

Giust Telescope 

Giust Telescope, Astrophysics 6’ f/8 apochromatic refractor
The Giust Telescope is an Astrophysics 6’ f/8 apochromatic refractor. It was donated to TWC in 1985 by the late Norman Giust of Canton in memory of his parents and nieces.  Mr. Giust had an armchair interest in astronomy, and he wanted to make a gift to a local organization that could use the telescope to show folks the sky.  He bought the telescope new, and it arrived in November, 1985, just in time for Halley’s Comet.  It was a standalone telescope on an outdoor pier until the AEB was completed.  At that time, the telescope was disassembled, powder coated at Powder Innovations, then reassembled and shipped back to Astrophysics for collimation and cleaning of the optics.  We designed a cradle to mount it on the Keller scope (as shown in the Keller photo on the top right), or it can be used as a separate instrument on its own mount and tripod as shown above.

Resetar Telescope

Resetar telescope, Meade 10 in. LX200
We were pleased to accept a new telescope on behalf of The Wilderness Center in 2001.  The Philip Janecko family of Jackson Township donated the instrument in memory of Mrs.Janecko’s late brother, Bill Resetar, who owned the telescope. Mr. Resetar lived in the Youngstown area.  The Resetar Telescope is a 10” Meade LX-200 Schmidt-Cassegrain with many eyepieces.  TWC was chosen as the home for this fine instrument because the Janeckos believe that we are in a position to immediately incorporate it as an integral part of our education program. It resides in the observing chamber of the Astronomy Education Building, and is not a loaner telescope.  We are grateful to the Janeckos for their generosity.

Dr. Pleshinger Telescope

Dr. Pleshinger scope, Meade 10 in. LX200
We were pleased to accept a new telescope on behalf of The Wilderness Center in 2005.  Dr. Pleshinger from Dover donated a 10 inch Meade LX-200 Schmidt-Cassegrain with an equatorial wedge and accessories. It is another part of our astronomy education programs at the observatory or at outreach programs. It is kept in the Astronomy Education Building and is not a loaner telescope. We are grateful to Dr. Pleshinger for his generous donation.

Solar filters

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Daytime observing activities are usually limited to the brightest star in our sky, the Sun.  Observing the Sun must only be done with special filters that safely block the harmful radiation and heat that is concentrated by a telescope or other optical device.  We use two filters that allow us to observe the sun safely.  First, the Baader Astro-Solar white light filter provides nice sharp views of the photosphere where we can observe sunspots as they cross the solar disk.  The second device is a Coronado Instruments Hydrogen-Alpha filter.  The H-Alpha filter transmits a very narrow slice of the visible spectrum (0.8 angstrom) centered on the bright hydrogen-alpha line at 656.3 nanometers, providing views of the chromosphere.  Here we see many interesting features including streams of matter called prominences, looping out  then  streaming back to the Sun, long dark filaments of cool gas, and granulation that shows the dynamic activity of the sun.

Video imaging equipment

Space Day, camera, telescope and filter at National Inventors Hall of Fame.Space Day, solar viewing on monitors at National Inventors Hall of Fame
Lunar observing with scope, camera and monitor at Public Viewing Night at TWC.M31 details projected on planetarium dome, scope and camera are in observatory chamber
A Stellacam EX integrating video camera and TV monitor (donated by Lockheed Martin – MS2 in Akron) is available to display live solar, planetary and deep sky images from the Resetar, Pleshinger or Giust telescopes. This is an excellent educational tool to point out features to large groups. It also allows viewing of objects on the TV monitor and/or in the Planetarium dome for those with disabilities that interfere with their ability to see images through a telescope eyepiece. A VCR, computer and frame grabbing software are also available to capture and save these images to video tape or computer disk.  If you plan to host an outreach program or attend a public viewing session and have a large group or have difficulty reaching the eyepiece, contact Joann Ballbach, Education Director, at The Wilderness Center so that we can arrange to have the video equipment ready. Sample images from this camera can be seen at the Display Gallery and Video Archive Gallery pages on this web site. (Close the new window to return.)

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Observatory Coordinator: Brian Gray

Last updated October 26, 2005 by Bill Castro