Otto Struve Telescope
The Otto Struve Telescope was the first major telescope to be built at McDonald Observatory. Located in the Davis Mountains in West Texas, the Otto Struve Telescope was designed by Warner & Swasey Company and constructed between 1933 and 1939 by the Paterson-Leitch Company. Its 2.1 meter (82 inch) mirror was the second largest in the world at the time. It is named after the Russian-American astronomer Otto Struve.
The Davis Mountains are an excellent location for astronomical research because of the clear dry air and moderately high elevation but the remote nature of the facility proved to be a significant challenge in transporting such a large mirror. It was a very precarious journey for the Otto Struve Telescope's mirror to this remote part of Texas and up to the top of Mount Locke. The mirror was transported from the local town of Fort Davis up the mountain by Carleton D. Wilson, owner of a local trucking company while locals cheered as they looked on.
The Otto Struve telescope is still in use today. It is equipped with modern imaging detectors allowing astronomers to conduct many types of research.
Contemporaries on commissioning
The Otto Struve telescope saw first light in 1939, behind the 100-inch Hooker telescope and ahead of two large British Commonwealth telescopes, both in Canada. Many competing projects were delayed due to a large war in the early 1940s.
Four largest telescopes in 1939:
Mount Wilson Obs.
|1917||George Ellery Hale
|2||Otto Struve Telescope
|3||David Dunlap Observatory||74 inch
Dominion Astrophysical Obs.
|1918||John S. Plaskett|
- List of largest optical telescopes in the 20th century
- List of largest optical reflecting telescopes
- It was second only to the Mt. Wilson 100-inch (2.5 m) telescope.
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- 2.1-meter Otto Struve Telescope
- "Pour Three Ton Telescope Mirror." Popular Science, April 1930, p. 41.