Henry Fitz an notable American telescope manufacturer

Fitz was born in 1808 in Newburyport, Massachusetts. The family moved to Albany, New York, some eleven years later and to New York City later on. Fitz as a boy was already very interested in science and mechanics. He initially learned the printing trade from his father. They printed the religious weekly publication called “The Gospel Herald”. With his mechanical ability he learned the locksmith trade. One of the many hobbies he enjoyed was astronomy. In the 1830s Fitz was already well known as an amateur astronomer when he was a boy. His first telescope was made using a lens from a pair of eyeglasses when he was fifteen years old.

Fitz knew Alexander Wolcott, who was working on a speculum mirror for a Cassegrain reflector in the early 1830s. Fitz was able to obtain the half-finished blank that Wolcott had done. He then completed the mirror in 1837 to make a telescope.

Fitz traveled to Europe from August to November 1839 learning astronomical and photographic optics. He learned the French were the best makers of high quality glass. The English and German opticians taught Fitz the techniques of sawing and grinding glass. By the 1840s Fitz had turned his amateur astronomer hobby into a successful business building telescopes.

Fitz pioneered techniques of correcting poor quality glass which made him one of the first important American telescope makers. He was the first American to make very large professional refracting telescopes. Fitz made the largest refractor telescopes in America, five different times.

Fitz made forty percent of all the telescopes sold in the United States from 1840 to 1855. He also manufactured eighty percent of all astronomical telescopes made in the United States at this time. American made telescopes were significantly less expensive than comparable instruments from Europe. Manufacturing locally in the United States instead of Europe was an important factor in the proliferation of observatories in the nineteenth century in America.

Fitz contributed considerably in the development of astronomical photography. Making telescopes and related astronomical components was a labor of love for him. Often he would be found working after midnight. He was the best known American maker of telescopes and achromatic instruments before the Civil War. Fitz was in partnership with Wolcott and developed a patented Daguerrotype camera. They had a photographic studio in Baltimore in 1841. Fitz invented and built foot power machines for the grinding of lenses. He also had employees do all the other tasks involved and trained them accordingly in the process of making lenses and mirrors. The critical final mirror polishing he did himself, however, and did not allow his employees to do that. Fitz made a six-inch (152 mm) refractor telescope in 1845 for the American Institute Fair for which he received a gold medal.

The South Carolina College at Columbia in 1851 bought a 6.375-inch (161.9 mm) telescope form Fitz for $1,200. The telescope was used by the college for the next decade. After the Civil War it was stolen for scrap brass. The Haverford College in Pennsylvania purchased an eight-inch (203 mm) refractor telescope from Fitz in 1852. The West Point Academy purchased from Fitz in 1856 a 9.75-inch (248 mm) refractor telescope costing $5,000.

Source wikipedia

How far is the Earth from the Sun?

The sun is at the heart of the solar system. All of the bodies in the solar system — planets, asteroids, comets, etc. — revolve around it. The distance from Earth to the sun is called an astronomical unit, or AU, which is used to measure distances throughout the solar system. The AU has been defined as 149,597,870,700 meters (92,955,807 miles).

Astronomers use the AU for measuring distances throughout the solar system. Jupiter, for example, is 5.2 AU from the sun. Neptune is 30.07 AU from the sun. On the outer edges of the solar system, the Oort Cloud, where comets are thought to originate, is 100,000 AU from the sun. The distance to the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, is about 250,000 AU. However, to measure longer distances, astronomers use light-years, or the distance that light travels in a single Earth year, which is equal to 63,239 AU. So Proxima Centauri is about 4.2 light-years away.

The AU is the average distance from the Earth to the sun. Earth makes a complete revolution around the sun every 365.25 days ­— one year. However, Earth’s orbit is not a perfect circle; it is shaped more like an oval, or an ellipse. Over the course of a year, Earth moves sometimes closer to the sun and sometimes farther away from the sun. Earth’s closest approach to the sun, called perihelion, comes in early January and is about 91 million miles (146 million km). The farthest from the sun Earth gets is called aphelion. It comes in early July and is about 94.5 million miles (152 million km).

More here https://www.space.com/17081-how-far-is-earth-from-the-sun.html

What are Leonids? (meteor showers)

The Leonids (/ˈlənɪdz/ LEE-ə-nidz) are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Tempel–Tuttle. The Leonids get their name from the location of their radiant in the constellation Leo: the meteors appear to radiate from that point in the sky. Their proper Greek name should be Leontids (Λεοντίδαι, Leontídai), but the word was initially constructed as a Greek/Latin hybrid[citation needed] and it has been used since. They peak in the month of November.


More here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonids

About Sky and Telescope Magazine

This is my favorite magazine,

Sky & Telescope magazine, founded in 1941 by Charles A. Federer Jr. and Helen Spence Federer, has the largest, most experienced staff of any astronomy magazine in the world. Its editors are virtually all amateur or professional astronomers, and every one has built a telescope, written a book, done original research, developed a new product, or otherwise distinguished him or herself.

More here http://www.skyandtelescope.com/about/


Hi guys, my name is Harish. I created this site so that i can add information about Astronomy and Telescopes and also learn a few things about the subject in the process. Hope you enjoy the journey as much as me. Keep safe and stay calm.

Continue reading “Hello”