List of largest optical refracting telescopes

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Here is a list of the largest optical refracting telescopes sorted by lens diameter and focal length.

The largest practical functioning refracting telescope is the Yerkes Observatory 40 inch (102 cm) refractor, used for astronomical and scientific observation for over a century.

Most are classical Great refractors, which used achromatic doublets on an equatorial mount. However, other large refractors include a 21st-century Solar telescope which is not directly comparable because it uses a single element non-achromatic lens, and the short-lived Great Paris Exhibition Telescope of 1900. It used a 78-inch (200 cm) Focault siderostat for aiming light into the Image-forming optical system part of the telescope, which had a 125 cm diameter lens. Using a siderostat incurs a reflective loss. Larger meniscus lenses have been used in later catadioptric telescopes which mix refractors and reflectors in the image-forming part of the telescope. As with reflecting telescopes, there was an ongoing struggle to balance cost with size, quality, and usefulness.

Name/Observatory Location at
debut
Modern location name or fate Lens diameter Focal length Built Comments Image
Quito Astronomical Observatory Quito La Alameda park 1875 An operational 1875 Merz Telescopes and the Oldest Observatory in South America, founded in 1873. Antique Telescope at the Quito Astronomical Observatory 002.JPG
Yerkes Observatory[1] Williams Bay, Wisconsin, USA - 102 cm (40″) 19.4 m (62′) 1897 Largest in current operation.[2] Yerkes 40 inch Refractor Telescope-2006.jpg
Paris 1900 Exposition Dismantled 1900 125 cm (49.21") 57 m (187 feet) 1900 Fixed lens, scrapped. Aimed via a 2m reflecting siderostat Great Ex Telescope Telescope.jpg
Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope,
ORM
La Palma,
Spain
- 98 cm (39.37") 15 m 2002 Single element non-achromatic objective[3] combined with reflective Adaptive optics and a Schupmann corrector. Swedish Solar Telescope.jpg
James Lick telescope
Lick Observatory
Mount Hamilton, California, USA - 91 cm (36″) 17.6 m 1888   Lick Observatory Refractor.jpg
Grande Lunette
Paris Observatory
Meudon, France - 83 cm + 62 cm (32.67" + 24.40") 16.2 m 1891 Double telescope
Großer Refraktor
Astrophysical Observatory Potsdam
Potsdam, Deutsches Kaiserreich Potsdam, Germany 80 cm + 50 cm (31.5"+29.5") 12.0 m 1899 Double telescope Potsdam Great Refractor.jpg
Grande Lunette
Nice Observatory
Nice, France since 1988 Côte d'Azur Observatory 77 cm (30.3″) [4][5] 17.9 m 1886 Bischoffscheim funded Grande Lunette Nice.jpg
William Thaw Telescope
Allegheny Observatory, University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA - 76 cm (30″) 14.1 m 1914 Brashear made, photographic[6] Allegheny Observatory 2007a.jpg
Pulkovo observatory Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire Destroyed 76 cm (30″) 12.8 m (42 feet) 1885 Destroyed during WWII, only lens (made by Alvan Clark & Sons) survives. Pulkovo 30 inch refracting telescope.jpg
28-inch Grubb Refractor
Royal Greenwich Observatory
Greenwich, London, Great Britain - 71 cm (28″) 8.5 m 1894 328SFEC LONDON-20070917.JPG
Großer Refraktor
Vienna Observatory
Vienna, Austrian Empire Vienna, Austria 69 cm (27" ) 10.5 m 1880 Largest refractor in 1880 [7] Refraktor Wien Kerschbaum 1.jpg
Great Treptow Refractor
Treptow Observatory
Berlin, Germany - 68 cm (26.77") 21 m 1896 renamed Archenhold Observatory 1946 ArchenholdObservatory-GreatRefractor.jpg
Leander McCormick Observatory Charlottesville, Virginia, USA - 66 cm (26" ) 9.9 m 1884 completed c. 1874, installed 1884 Mccormick observatory 1890.jpg
U.S. Naval Observatory Foggy Bottom Washington, DC, USA moved to Northwest, Washington, D.C., 1893 66 cm (26") 9.9 m 1873 Largest refractor in 1873. Alvan Clark & Sons mounting replaced with Warner & Swasey mounting in 1893. US Navy 030826-N-9593R-043 Personnel at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., prepare the facility's historic 26-inch refractor telescope for optical viewing of Mars.jpg
Royal Greenwich Observatory Herstmonceux, Great Britain - 66 cm (26") 6.82 m 1896  
Yale-Columbia Refractor
Yale Southern Station
Johannesburg, Union of South Africa Relocated 1952 66 cm (26") 10.8 m 1925–1952 Yale-Columbia Refractor moved to Mount Stromlo Observatory in 1952, same telescope as following entry.
Yale-Columbia Refractor
Mount Stromlo Observatory
Mount Stromlo, Australia Destroyed 2003 66 cm (26") 10.8 m 1952 Yale-Columbia Refractor - Previously located in South Africa. Relocated to Australia in 1952. Destroyed by bush fire on January 18, 2003.[8] Fisheye image of yale columbia refractor at stromlo.jpg
65 cm Zeiss Refractor, Pulkovo observatory Germany[9] Saint Petersburg, Russia 65 cm (25.59″) 10.413 m 1954 War reparation from Germany[9] In Pulkovo since 1954. Pulkovo refractor.jpg
Llano del Hato National Astronomical Observatory Llano del Hato, Venezuela - 65 cm (25.6″) 10.5 m 1976
Belgrade Observatory [10] Belgrade, Kingdom of Serbia Belgrade, Serbia 65 cm (25.6″) 10.55 m 1932  Zeiss made lens, same as at Berlin Observatory Pavilion of Large Refractor.JPG
Hida Observatory Gifu, Japan - 65 cm (25.6″) 10.50 m 1972
Observatory History Museum Mitaka 65 cm Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan - 65 cm (25.6″) 1929 Carl Zeiss Jena NAOJ-mitaka-65cm-refractor-dome.jpg
Berlin-Babelsberg Observatory
Berliner Sternwarte Babelsberg
Berlin, Germany 65 cm (26 in) 10.12 m (33 ft) 1914 Berlin Observatory just moved to Potsdam-Babelsberg in 1913; Zeiss lens Berliner Sternwarte Babelsberg.jpg
Newall Refractor
National Observatory of Athens
Athens, Greece - 62.5 cm (24.5″) 8.86 m (29 ft) 1869 Built by Thomas Cooke for Robert Stirling Newall. First located at his estate; donated and relocated to Cambridge Observatory in 1889; donated to Athens Observatory and relocated to Mt. Penteli in Greece in 1957. Currently used only for educational purposes as part of the visitor center.
Lowell Observatory Arizona, USA - 61 cm (24″) 6.7 m (22.6 ft) 1894 Alvan Clark & Sons telescope Clark dome.jpg
Sproul Observatory Pennsylvania, USA - 61 cm (24″) 11.0 m (36 ft) 1911
Craig telescope Wandsworth Common, London Dismantled 1857 61 cm (24″) 24.5 m (80 feet) 1852 Problem with lens figuring [11]
Grubb Parsons Double Refractor Saltsjöbaden, Sweden - 60 + 50 cm
(23.6″ + 19.7")
8.0 m 1930 Stockholms Observatory in Saltsjöbaden
Radcliffe Double Refractor
University of London Observatory
Oxford, UK Mill Hill, London 60 + 45 cm
(23.6″ + 18")
7.0 m 1901 Obtained from the Radcliffe Observatory and installed at ULO in 1938
Zeiss Double Refractor
Bosscha Observatory
Bandung, Dutch East Indies Bandung, Indonesia 60 cm (23.6″) 10.7 m 1928 Bosscha 2003.jpg
Der Große Refraktor (Great Refractor)
Hamburg Observatory
Bergedorf, Germany - 60 cm (23.6″) 9 m 1911 Bdstern 1.jpg
Halstead Observatory Princeton, USA Roper Mountain Science Center,[12] Greenville, SC 58.4 cm (23″) 9.8 m (32 ft) 1881 by Alvan Clark & Sons
Chamberlin Observatory Colorado, USA - 50 cm (20″) 8.5 m (28 ft) 1891 First Light 1894 Chamberlin Observatory Denver, CO.jpg
Van Vleck Observatory Connecticut, USA - 50 cm (20″) 8.4 m (27.5 ft) 1922 Vvo.jpg
Chabot Observatory Oakland, California, USA (2000) 50 cm (20″) 8.5 m (28 ft) 1914 "Rachael" Warner & Swazey Company (Optics John A Brashear Company) Refurb in 2000 and moved to present location. Rachel-2-modern.jpg
Carnegie Double Astrograph
Lick Observatory
Mount Hamilton, California, USA not in service
threatened with removal
50 cm (20″) 4.67 m (14 ft) 1941 F7.4
Imperial Observatory Straßburg, German Empire Strasbourg, France 48.5 cm (19.1″) 7 m (23 ft) 1880 [13] Then largest in German Empire Refracting telescope of the Strasbourg observatory.jpg
18½-in Dearborn Observatory Refractor Chicago, USA Evanston, USA 47 cm (18.5″) 1862 by Alvan Clark & Sons 2007-04-06 3000x2000 evanston nu observatory.jpg
Wilder Observatory Amherst College, Amherst, MA, USA - 46 cm (18″) (25 ft) 1903 by Alvan Clark & Sons Wilder obsv.jpg
Flower Observatory Philadelphia, USA - 46 cm (18″) 6.7 m (22.6 ft) 1896
Royal Observatory Cape Colony, British Empire South Africa 46 cm (18″) 6.7 m (22.6 ft) 1897 [14]
Gran Ecuatorial Gautier Telescope
La Plata Astronomical Observatory
La Plata, Argentina - 43.3 cm (17″) 9,7 m 1894 Gautier Telescopio refractor Gran Ecuatorial Gautier en La Plata.jpg
Herget Telescope
Cincinnati Observatory
Cincinnati, Ohio - 40.64 cm (16″) 1904 by Alvan Clark & Sons Cincinnati Observatory.JPG
Washburn Observatory Madison, Wisconsin, USA - 39.5 cm (15.56″) 6.7 m (22.6 ft) 1881 by Alvan Clark & Sons
Harvard Great Refractor
Harvard College Observatory [15]
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA - 38 cm (15″) 1847 largest telescope in America for 20 years [16] Great Refractor.jpg
Lunette Arago
Paris Observatory
Paris, France - 38 cm (15") 9 m 1883 by Gautier and Henry brothers Paris-observatoirelunettebrünner.jpg
Telescopio Amici
Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri
Florence, Italy - 36 cm 5 m 1872 28 cm lens by G. B. Amici substituted by Zeiss lens in 1926. Currently used only for educational purposes.
Photographic Refractor
Leiden Observatory
Leiden, Netherlands - 34 cm + 15  cm (13.4″ + 5.9") 524 cm 1897 Double telescope
by Gautier and Henry brothers
Dominion Observatory Refractor
Dominion Observatory
Ottawa, Canada Moved to Helen Sawyer-Hogg Observatory (Canada Science and Technology Museum, Ottawa) in 1974 [17] 38.1 cm (15″) 571.5 cm 1905 Original achromat doublet by John Brashear replaced with apochomat triplet by Perkin-Elmer in 1958. Currently used for education and outreach.
Fitz-Clark Refractor
Allegheny Observatory, University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA - 32.02 cm (13") 4.62 1861 Fitz made, visual/photographic. In 1895 Established that Saturn's Rings to be made up of particles and not solid.[6] Allegheny Observatory 2007a.jpg
Bamberg Refractor
Urania Observatory (Berlin)
Berlin-Moabit, Prussia Berlin, Germany 31.4 cm (12.36") 5 m 1889 then biggest in Prussia, moved to Insulaner Wilhelm-Foerster Observatory in 1963 [18]
Ladd Observatory,
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island, USA Still in use for instruction and public education 30 cm (12″) 12.0-inch (300 mm) 4.57 m (15 ft) 1891 Lens designed by Charles S. Hastings and made by John Brashear; telescope mount by George N. Saegmuller BrownUniversity-LaddObservatory.jpg
Irving Porter Church Memorial Telescope
Fuertes Observatory
Ithaca, New York Still used for instruction 30 cm (12″) - 1923 by John Brashear IrvingPorterChurchTelesciope.jpg
Silesian Planetarium and Astronomical Observatory Katowice/Chorzów, Silesia, Poland 30 cm (12")[19] 4.5 m 1955 Largest and oldest Planetarium and Astronomical Observatory in Poland.[20] The 3rd largest in Eastern Europe (east of Germany), after Pulkovo Observatory in Saint Petersburg, Russia and Belgrade Observatory in Belgrade, Serbia Planetarium WPKiW.jpg
Urania Sternwarte (Zurich) Zurich, Switzerland - 30 cm (12″) 5.05 m 1907 by Fraunhofer and Zeiss Zürich - Lindenhof - Urania-Sternwarte - Kuppel IMG 1911.JPG
University of Illinois Observatory Urbana, Illinois, USA - 30 cm (12″) 1896 by John Brashear, National Historic Landmark, still used for instruction Champaign-Urbana area IMG 1138.jpg
Jewett Observatory Pullman, Washington, USA Used for instruction and pleasure 30 cm (12") 4.57 m (15') Assembled from older parts 1953 [21] Alvan Clark & Sons 01-04-15.jpg
Mitchell Telescope
Cincinnati Observatory
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - 28 cm (11″) 1843 Merz & Mahler; Oldest professional telescope still used weekly by the public[22] Refractor Cincinnati observatory.jpg
Brashear Refractor
Nicholas E. Wagman Observatory
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA - 28 cm (11″) 1910 John Brashear, Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh [23] ll
Repsold Refractor (10-duims)
Leiden Observatory
Leiden, Netherlands - 26.6 cm (10.5″) 399,5 cm 1885 Repsold and Sons, optics by Alvan Clark & Sons
Mills Observatory Dundee, Scotland (1951) 25 cm (10″)   1871 by T. Cooke & Sons. Training telescope at St. Andrews 1938-1951 The 10-inch Cooke Refractormills.jpg
Coats Observatory Paisley, Scotland (1898) 25 cm (10″)   1898 by Howard Grubb. Replaced 5" refractor by Thomas Cooke, installed in 1883.]]. Grubb-Telescope.jpg
Fraunhofer-Refraktor
Berlin Observatory
Berlin-Kreuzberg, Deutsches Kaiserreich Moved 1913 to Munich, Germany 24 cm (9.6″) 4 m (13.4′) 1835 Used to discover Neptune; in Deutsches Museum, München since 1913[24] Sternwarte Berlin Schinkel.jpg
Great Dorpat Refractor (Fraunhofer)
Dorpat/Tartu Observatory
Dorpat, Governorate of Livonia Tartu, Estonia 24 cm (9.6″) 4 m (13.4′) 1824 "..the first modern, achromatic, refracting telescope." [25][26] Tartu tähetorn 2006.jpg

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://astro.uchicago.edu/vtour/40inch/
  2. ^ http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/653042/Yerkes-Observatory
  3. ^ solarphysics.kva.se The Swedish 1 m Solar Telescope "By using a lens of a single glass, excellent image quality is obtained through very narrow filters that isolate a single wavelength or color."
  4. ^ The Observatory, "Large Telescopes", Page 248
  5. ^ British university observatories, 1772-1939 By Roger Hutchins;page 252
  6. ^ a b http://www.flamsteed.info/fasother6_files/page0001.htm
  7. ^ http://www.flamsteed.info/fasother6_files/page0006.htm
  8. ^ Mount Stromlo Observatory brochure, page 12, The 26” Yale-Columbia Refractor, Australian National University, 2004, accessed 19 April 2008
  9. ^ a b Journal for the history of astronomy vol. 28, pt. 2, p. 177 (1997), Title: Book Review: Pulkovo / St. Petersburg : Spuren der Sterne und der Zeiten : Geschichte der russischen Hauptsternwarte / Peter Lang, New York, 1995, Bibliographic Code: 1997JHA....28..177H
  10. ^ http://www.aob.bg.ac.rs/
  11. ^ http://www.craig-telescope.co.uk/
  12. ^ http://www.ropermountain.org/Observatory/observatory.shtml
  13. ^ http://chestofbooks.com/crafts/scientific-american/Scientific-American-Reference-Book/The-Large-Refractors-Of-The-World.html
  14. ^ Scientific American Reference Book. A Manual for the Office, Household and Shop Author Albert A. Hopkins, A. Russell Bond Publisher Munn & Company Year 1905 Copyright 1904, Munn & Company
  15. ^ http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/hco/grref.html
  16. ^ http://amazing-space.stsci.edu/resources/explorations//groundup/lesson/scopes/harvard/index.php
  17. ^ http://www.sciencetech.technomuses.ca/english/whatson/hogg_observatory.cfm
  18. ^ http://www.wfs.be.schule.de/pages/hist/Bamberge.html
  19. ^ http://www.planetarium.edu.pl/oferta.htm
  20. ^ http://www.planetarium.chorzow.net.pl/onas_eng.htm
  21. ^ http://astro.wsu.edu/observatory.html
  22. ^ http://www.cincinnatiobservatory.org/history.html
  23. ^ http://3ap.org/>
  24. ^ http://bdaugherty.tripod.com/astronomy/berlin.html#GALLE
  25. ^ http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1967AmJPh..35..344W Fraunhofer and the Great Dorpat Refractor, Waaland, J. Robert, American Journal of Physics, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp. 344-350 (1967)
  26. ^ http://www.obs.ee/obs/instrumendid/fr.htm

Further reading[edit]