© 2012 Fourtoes Godlee2

The Godlee Observatory, Manchester Astronomical Society

On Wednesday I attended one of MAS open days at the Godlee Observatory. At the MHF Celebration Day at the Town Hall one of their members stopped by my stall and chatted about an old wooden plate camera they still had attached to one of their telescopes. I was invited along to take a look.

Sorry the images are pretty poor but it was dark and I only had my little digi snappper with me but you’ll get the idea.

Another of the MAS members has undertaken the project of getting the camera “restored” back to its original condition. From what I could see there were no makers labels or text around the lens. With a bit of rough maths I guess the lens is about 36 inch F6, from further reading online it looks like this would be used for “wide field” astrophotography. The lens needs a good clean and it seems that some of the back end has been adapted or is missing.

I was aware that collodion was the preferred method of astrophotography well into the C20th. I guess this camera was more likely to be used for Dry Plate rather than the earlier wet plate, this ties in with the history of the society.

I’m meeting the person responsible for the restoration on Thursday next week so will have a chat about the history of the camera, its use and what other accessories they still have.


Meanwhile, at the open day, we were told about the Societies history and what they get up to at this great observatory, we then headed up the spiral staircase to the telescopes and had the chance to look at Jupiter and its moons… pretty cool.

Thanks to MAS for making us feel so welcome and all the great info. If you ever get chance pop along to one of their events.


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