2014: 75th Year of Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium Historic Zeiss II Planetarium Projector at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science.

Astronomical Observatory of
The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science

The People's Observatory

Buhl's 10-inch, Siderostat-type, refractor telescope.

Buhl Planetarium's long-time Director, Arthur L. Draper, looks through the Institute of
Popular Science's new ten-inch, Siderostat-type refractor telescope in November of 1941.

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Authored By Glenn A. Walsh
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The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science opened to the public on October 24, 1939. However, it would be a little more than two years before Buhl's Astronomical Observatory would be finished and open for public use.

"The People's Observatory" was dedicated, on the third floor of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, on November 19, 1941. At a cost of $30,000(1941 dollars), a ten-inch, Siderostat-type, refractor telescope was manufactured as the Observatory's primary instrument, by the Gaertner Scientific Company of Chicago. Well-known Astronomer, Harlow Shapley, who was then Director of the Harvard College Observatory, presented the keynote address at the dedication ceremony.

"First Light," viewed through the Siderostat-type telescope, dedication ceremony attendees saw the ringed-planet Saturn--a favorite of the public. Of course, in this era, Saturn was the only planet known to have rings. Today, we know that the planets Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune, the other three "gas giants," also have rings. Pittsburgh Astronomer James E. Keeler, second professional Director of the Allegheny Observatory, used spectroscopic evidence to proof that Saturn's rings are composed of thousands of individual pieces of rocks and ice, late in the nineteenth century.

Click here to download a computer representation(bit map: .bmp) of the southern sky on the evening of the dedication of The People's Observatory: 1941 November 19 at 21:48:43 Eastern Standard Time(9:48:43 p.m.).

A Siderostat-type telescope is a very unique telescope arrangement. The telescope tube is mounted permanently on a concrete base; the tube does not move, save for the continual motions of the Earth. A flat, first-surface mirror is located behind the telescope, which reflects the sky into the telescope objective--in Buhl's case, a 10-inch objective lens. The mirror is located on the actual siderostat electric motor unit, which moves the mirror east or west in Right Ascension[by the Hour Angle, determined by a simple mathematical equation which takes into consideration the Local Mean Sidereal Time(LMST)] and north or south in Declination. Electric controls on the Control Console in the Observing Room are used by the telescope operator to move the mirror.

There are limitations to how much of the sky can be observed by a siderostat-type telescope. The walls and the roof(in Buhl's case, a flat, roll-away roof instead of a dome) limit the observable sky. However, even if the wall and roof could permit more of the sky to be seen(a possibility), the greater the angle of reflection of the sky into the telescope creates a lower quality image. In the case of Buhl's siderostat-type telescope(as well as most such telescopes), the Observatory is designed so that the telescope has the best view of the ecliptic, so the Sun(observed by projecting the solar image onto a large projection screen--visitors DO NOT look into the telescope when the Sun is being viewed, as this would burn their eyes and cause blindness INSTANTLY!), Moon and all observable planets can easily be seen.

The major advantage of a siderostat-type telescope is that the observers can stay in a climate-controlled Observing Room(as the telescope tube is actually constructed through a wall), while the objective lens remains in the open-air(when the roof is open) Telescope Room(it is necessary for the telescope objective to maintain the same temperature as the outdoors, to ensure a steady image, an image not disturbed by heat waves). In the case of Buhl Planetarium, the Observing Room is heated; however, this is the only public room in the building which is not air conditioned.

Another major advantage of a siderostat-type telescope is that the eyepiece remains fixed, hence people do not have to move their neck in awkward positions to view an object in the telescope. And, neither children, nor anyone else, can accidentally bump the telescope, requiring the telescope operator to reacquire the image for other members of the public waiting to view the celestial object.

The siderostat-type telescope was invented by the famous French physicist Jean Bernard Leon Foucault, in the middle of the nineteenth century. Foucault was a very sickly man, and he died before he had the opportunity to build a siderostat-type telescope. A large siderostat-type telescope was built for a special exhibition in Paris, around 1900. However, after the exhibition concluded, the telescope was dismantled and has not been used since.

Foucault also developed what is now known as the Foucault Pendulum, which provides scientific evidence that the Earth does rotate on its axis. Buhl Planetarium's Foucault Pendulum has displayed this scientific proof since 1939.

Prior to the dedication of the "Siderostat," Buhl did use the building's third floor for astronomical observing. In addition to the Telescope Room of the Observatory, which uses a flat, roll-away roof(a manual chain is used to open and close the roof) to access the sky, two outdoor wings(east and west of the Telescope Room, hence called the "East Wing" and "West Wing") were also accessible to the public, where portable telescopes were often used.

Buhl Planetarium's 4-inch Zeiss Terrestrial Refractor Telescope

A four-inch (110-millimeter) portable, refractor telescope [pictured to the right of this paragraph; click on the image for an enlarged photograph (5)] was purchased from the Zeiss Optical Works in Jena, Germany, at about the same time Buhl's Zeiss II Planetarium Projector was received from the same company. This was the Buhl Planetarium Observatory's original telescope, before the Siderostat-type 10-inch Refractor Telescope was completed and installed in November of 1941. In this photograph [on the right], taken by long-time Buhl Planetarium Lecturer Francis G. Graham [Founder of the American Lunar Society and now Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Kent State University], this telescope is shown on the Buhl Planetarium Observatory's outdoor West Wing on 1983 September 24, prior to the conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus [whereby Uranus could be easily found].

Here is a second photograph of the Zeiss Terrestrial Refractor Telescope (5), being used by Robert Wamsley (an astronomy student of Professor Graham, in the early 1980s), also on the Buhl Planetarium Observatory's outdoor West Wing, where portable telescopes were often used. The outdoor East Wing was also often used, depending on whether a celestial object was rising (East Wing gives the best view) or setting (West Wing gives the best view).

Buhl Planetarium officials were quite disappointed when they received this telescope in 1939. The Zeiss Optical Works had sent Buhl the wrong type of telescope! The telescope they received was a terrestrial refractor, which corrects for the usual upside-down image of simpler telescopes using an additional lens. This is normally sold to people who would use the telescope to view objects on the Earth, not for celestial viewing (where an upside-down image is irrelevant).

Buhl had ordered an astronomical telescope which does not correct for the upside-down image; hence, no detail is lost in the correction process. Buhl officials would have liked to return the telescope to the Zeiss Company for a replacement. However, by this time World War II had broken-out in Europe and trading this telescope for a replacement seemed unlikely (once the war began, the Zeiss Optical Works in Jena, Germany was converted to make bombsights for German military aircraft; the Allies later bombed the factory). Hence, Buhl learned to live with a terrestrial telescope until the Siderostat was ready in 1941. This historic, four-inch Zeiss terrestrial refractor telescope is still in use by the Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium and Observatory / Buhl Digital Dome at The Carnegie Science Center, usually on Friday and Saturday evenings, weather-permitting.

An interesting historic anecdote: On the same evening of the Observatory dedication, Buhl started a new Planetarium Sky Show and opened a new gallery exhibit. The Sky Show, regarding Celestial Navigation, was titled "Bombers by Starlight"(Buhl provided Celestial Navigation classes to many military servicemen, during World War II). The new exhibit, in Buhl's lower-level Octagon Gallery(which encircles the planetarium projector pit, below the planetarium theater) was titled "Can America Be Bombed?" This exhibit opened two and one-half weeks before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii!

After the October 5, 1991 opening of the Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium and Observatory/Buhl Digital Dome in the The Carnegie Science Center, Buhl's Siderostat-type telescope continued to be used for Science Center classes, until February of 1994 when the decision was made to move all classes to the main building. Portable telescopes used in Buhl's Observatory, including the historic four-inch Brashear refractor telescope and the historic four-inch Zeiss, terrestrial, refractor telescope, were moved to the new Science Center building immediately upon its opening. Several of these portable telescopes are used for the Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium and Observatory/Buhl Digital Dome's astronomical observing sessions, usually on Friday and Saturday evenings weather-permitting(admission charge: one dollar per person) . In addition to the portable telescopes, the Science Center's fifth floor observation deck includes an observatory dome, which houses a 16-inch Meade reflector telescope.

Previous to the early twentieth century, research observatories would, from time-to-time, allow the public to tour the facility and look through the research telescopes, particularly during special astronomical events such as a bright comet or a lunar eclipse. The idea of a "public observatory" did not begin to be somewhat common until the 1930s, with the advent of astronomical observatories built in conjunction with other public education facilities such as planetaria and science museums. Observatories built in conjunction with Philadelphia's Franklin Institute/Fels Planetarium (1933), Los Angeles' Griffith Observatory and Planetarium (1935), and Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science (1941) were the earliest such public observatories.

In his autobiography, John Brashear writes, "In my early struggles to gain a knowledge of the stars, I made a resolution that if ever an opportunity offered or I could make such an opportunity, I should have a place where all the people who loved the stars could enjoy them;...and the dear old thirteen-inch telescope, by the use of which so many discoveries were made, is also given up to the use of the citizens of Pittsburgh, or, for that matter, citizens of the world." With the new Allegheny Observatory containing two new, large research telescopes, there no longer was a major research purpose for the original, smaller telescope, or for that matter, for the construction of a third telescope dome.

However, Dr. Brashear felt so strongly that a telescope should be reserved for public use, he made sure that the original 13-inch telescope was mounted in a third dome designed for public use. Hence, the 1912 Allegheny Observatory building may truly be considered the first "public observatory," constructed in conjunction with a two-dome research observatory!

And, Buhl Planetarium's original "People's Observatory" could be considered the fourth public observatory constructed.

* Biographies of the inventor of the Siderostat-type Telescope, Jean Bernard Leon Foucault by Dr. William Tobin, Senior Lecturer, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand:

French Language Biography [2002 October]: Léon Foucault. Le miroir et le pendule
English Language Biography [2003 October]: The Life and Science of Léon Foucault. The Man who Proved the Earth Rotates

Great Paris Exhibition Telescope of 1900
Largest Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope that every existed.

"The People's Observatory" - Buhl's Astronomical Observatory -

Brief History: Link 1 *** Link 2 *** Link 3

Description and other information - Aide's Book, Copy 8, pages 36 through 39, 58 through 63.

Description, operating instructions, Observatory program - Aide's Book, Copy 25, pages 20 through 31

Photographs of the Ten-inch, Siderostat-type, Refractor Telescope -
Special Note: "Danger" sign, seen in these images, refers to the danger of looking directly at the Sun through the telescope. Looking directly at the Sun with a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical aid will result in permanent loss of vision!!! This is also true during most stages of an eclipse of the Sun or Solar Eclipse. During a daytime tour of The People's Observatory, the staff member would project the image of the Sun from the telescope onto a large projection screen; people would then safely view the image of the Sun on the projection screen. Not only is this a safe way to view the Sun(and, possibly sunspots and/or granulation on the surface of the Sun), this also allows everyone in the tour group to view the Sun at the same time. The Observatory Tourguide, usually during the daytime tour, would also place a piece of wood close to the eyepiece lens of the telescope(where people would normally look into the telescope to see planets and stars in the evening). The piece of wood would immediately start to burn!!! This very graphic demonstration was presented to emphasize the danger of looking into the telescope at the Sun.

Image 1 (5) *** Image 2 (5) *** Image 3 (5) *** Image 4 *** Image 5

* Telescope Room Used as Classroom (5) -

As the original Buhl Planetarium building was rather small (construction of the 40,000 square-foot building cost $1.07 million during the Great Depression), all possible spaces were used as classroom space for Saturday Science Classes and the Summer Science Academy. Hence, the Telescope Room, in the Observatory, was also used as a classroom. As the Telescope Room was not heated (as was the Observing Room), sometimes a space heater was used for classes in the cooler weather.

A blackboard was also installed on the west Telescope Room wall. In the mid-1980s, Special Programs Director Bill Moser removed the blackboard (it was taken to the Lab 2 classroom, then used as a supply room for Science classes), so chalk dust would not disturb the optics of the 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope, or any of the several portable telescopes stored in the Telescope Room.

This photograph shows Buhl Planetarium Lecturer Francis G. Graham teaching an Astronomy class in the Telescope Room.

News article from Dedication of "The People's Observatory" -

Image 1

Rouvalis, Cristina. "A question of Merit, Scholarships come with strings attached."
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 1987 July 27: A-1.
Buhl Planetarium Student Volunteer from Shaler Area High School, Yuri A. Saito, Pictured at the
Control Console of Buhl Planetarium's Astronomical Observatory [Front Page Photograph and News Story] --
Observatory photograph on the front page of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
- The following photograph, showing Buhl Observatory Volunteer Yuri A. Saito at the control console of Buhl's Ten-inch Siderostat-type, Refractor Telescope, was published on the front page of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Monday, July 27, 1987. This picture accompanied an article regarding Ms. Saito's pursuit of a National Merit Scholarship to fund college.
* Photograph
* News Article - Page 1
* News Article(continued) - Page 5, Part 1
* News Article(continued) - Page 5, Part 2
* Yuri A. Saito, M.D.

In February of 1983, the Buhl Planetarium Floor Staff became part of the new Department of Visitor Services and Volunteers, of the newly-renamed Buhl Science Center [name change occurred in February of 1982]. Although there had always been a few volunteers assisting with Buhl programs [particularly members of the Amateur Astronomers' Association of Pittsburgh (AAAP) who staffed Buhl Planetarium's "People's Observatory" in the 1940s and 1950s, scheduled by AAAP Co-Founder Leo J. Scanlon], this new department aggressively sought volunteers to assist in many aspects of Buhl operations. After a few years, volunteers were involved throughout the Buhl Science Center.

For instance, beginning in June of 1986, a newly expanded program in Buhl's Astronomical Observatory was almost entirely operated by volunteers, reminiscent of how the Observatory began operation with AAAP volunteers in November of 1941. This permitted Buhl's Observatory to be open to the public every Friday evening 7:30 to 10:30 p.m., weather permitting, year-round.

The Buhl volunteer program included many senior citizen volunteers, as well as some young-to-middle-aged volunteers usually [but not always] employed in the Science professions [the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) provided several volunteers]. In addition, some of the best and brightest high school students in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County became Buhl Volunteers.

Yuri A. Saito was one of these high school student volunteers at the Buhl Science Center, who was truly one of the best and brightest students in Allegheny County. Despite the fact that she did not obtain the National Merit Scholarship, she attended Medical School at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Today, she is known as Yuri A. Saito Loftus, M.D., a physician and medical researcher at the prestigious Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota (also, see Dr. Saito's letter of support of 2005 June 30, endorsing historic designation of Buhl Planetarium).

* Photograph of the Waxing Crescent Moon (5) taken using Buhl Planetarium's 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope by long-time Buhl Planetarium Lecturer Francis G. Graham.

Dyke, Barb V., et.al. "Saturn Through the Buhl Planetarium Heliostat."
Report of the Alternative Curriculum Astronomy Workshop,
The Tripoli Federation, Pittsburgh 1975 April 2.

* Walsh, Glenn A. "Buhl Planetarium Poem by Ann Curran." Blog Posting.
SpaceWatchtower 2012 May 3.
Poem "At the Late Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science," written by Pittsburgh Poet and
former Buhl Planetarium employee Ann Curran, who held a poetry reading at the Main Branch of
The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh on 2012 April 15.
Observatory remembrance in poem.

* Telstar 1 Satellite Model displayed in the original Astronomical Observatory of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Other Telescopes -

* Brashear 4-inch Refractor Telescope (Now at The Carnegie Science Center) -
> Photographs at The Carnegie Science Center
> Donation, to Buhl, of 37th telescope (serial number 37), circa 1900, manufactured by John A. Brashear - In Buhl Annual Report of Programs, 1972-1973, pages 9, 10, and 11.

* Model (nonusable) of first Newtonian Reflector Telescope displayed behind large glass window of Buhl Planetarium Observatory.

* Astronomical Transparencies Mounted in Wooden Box on South Wall of Observing Room.

* Strip of Quilt squares dedicated to the original Buhl Planetarium Observatory, on the Great Pittsburgh Friendship Quilt created at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science in 1988; this strip of squares is located just to the right of the "Boggs and Buhl" Department Store quilt strip.

* 1980s photograph of Buhl Planetarium Astronomy Lecturer and Instructor (and Penn Hills High School Planetarium Director) Larry Meghan, along with Allegheny General Hospital Public Relations Director (and former KDKA-TV 2 News Reporter and Anchor) Marlynn Singleton, in the Telescope Room of Buhl Planetarium's Astronomical Observatory (at western entrance to the Telescope Room, from the Observing Room) (5). This photograph shows a blackboard mounted on the western wall of the Telescope Room for Buhl Planetarium Science classes that took place in this room. Although the Telescope Room was purposely constructed without any heating (to ensure that heat does not disrupt telescopic images), a portable space heater was often used in the Telescope Room during Science classes. In the mid-1980s, Special Programs Director Bill Moser removed the blackboard (it was taken to the Lab 2 classroom, then used as a supply room for Science classes), so chalk dust would not disturb the optics of the 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope, or any of the several portable telescopes stored in the Telescope Room.

* 6-inch f/12 Mazur Reflector Telescope with a photo-electric cell (5), owned by long-time Buhl Planetarium Lecturer (and American Lunar Society Founder) Francis G. Graham. The meter mounted on the telescope reads microamps, and it has a bridge circuit. This photograph was taken on 1983 September 24 in Buhl Planetarium's Little Science Theater, located near the projection screen in the front of the Lecture Hall, between the Lab Table (east of the Lab Table) and the wooden enclosure that housed Transpara, the Talking Glass Lady.

* 8-inch f/8 Edmund Reflector Telescope (5), owned by long-time Buhl Planetarium Lecturer (and American Lunar Society Founder) Francis G. Graham. This photograph was taken on 1983 September 24 in Buhl Planetarium's Little Science Theater, located in the front of the Lecture Hall, between the Lab Table (west of the Lab Table) and the emergency exit doors to the outside. Since that time, Professor Graham has sold the telescope tube and mirror; the heavy cast iron stand now holds Professor Graham's 7-inch Refractor Telescope.

"The Theater of the Stars" - Buhl's Planetarium Theater

Friends of the Zeiss Internet Web Site

"Save the Buhl" Internet Web Site and their Siderostat Telescope Page.

History of Astronomer,Educator, and Optician John A. Brashear

Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium and Observatory / Buhl Digital Dome at The Carnegie Science Center

See Telescope, Newtonian Non-usable Replica.

See Astronomy Exhibits - Hallway Wrapping Around Theater of the Stars.

See Astronomy Exhibits - Astronomical Observatory Transparencies

See Radio Astronomy Exhibit.



Observatory-Related News: General News

Observatory-Related News: Buhl Planetarium/Friends of the Zeiss

Walsh, Glenn A. "100 Years Ago: Planetarium Concept Born ." Blog Post.
SpaceWatchtower 2014 Feb. 24.

Roach, John. "Ten ancient observatories spied from space."
MSNBC 2008 Aug. 20.



Observatory-Related News: Buhl Planetarium/Friends of the Zeiss

Observatory-Related News: General News

"Update" Year-End Report for 2008 December:
Buhl Planetarium and Carnegie Library

News Archives

Walsh, Glenn A. "100 Years Ago: Planetarium Concept Born ." Blog Post.
SpaceWatchtower 2014 Feb. 24.

Walsh, Glenn A. "Northside Chronicle: Buhl Planetarium Turns 75." Blog Post.
SpaceWatchtower 2014 Feb. 8.
The 2014 February edition of North Side Pittsburgh's monthly newspaper, The Northside Chronicle,
includes a feature article on the 75th year of Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium.

Douty, Kristin. "Buhl Planetarium turns 75."
The Northside Chronicle On-Line, Pittsburgh 2014 Jan. 30.

Walsh, Glenn A. "Dobsonian Telescope Inventor Dies." Blog Post.
SpaceWatchtower 2014 Jan. 16.
Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center) purchased a 13-inch Dobsonian Reflector Telescope in the Autumn of 1985, to assist in public viewing of the 1985-1986 apparition of Halley's Comet, during Buhl's "Halley Watch" program.

Walsh, Glenn A. "Laserium: 40th Anniversary."
SpaceWatchtower 2013 Nov. 19.
Today (November 19) marks the 40th anniversary of the musical concert set to laser lights known as Laserium, once seen in many planetaria worldwide, including Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center). As Laserium is considered the first on-going laser show that was not part of a special or one-time event, it is also thought that Laserium launched the international laser display industry.
November 19 marks another anniversary for Buhl Planetarium. On the evening of 1941 November 19, Buhl Planetarium's third-floor Astronomical Observatory (originally known as The People's Observatory) opened to the general public with the dedication of the rather unique 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope.

Walsh, Glenn A. "Former Buhl Planetarium Curator Jim Mullaney To Be On National Radio." Blog Post.
SpaceWatchtower 2013 June 26.

Walsh, Glenn A. "New Mullaney Book: "Celebrating the Universe!" Blog Post.
SpaceWatchtower 2013 May 18.
A new book, Celebrating the Universe!, introduces the reader to the wonders of the celestial heavens, with a focus on the "soul" of the night sky. The author, James Mullaney, is a lifelong astronomer who has served as Curator of Exhibits and Astronomy at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science and Staff Astronomer at the Allegheny Observatory. He was also Director of the DuPont Planetarium on the campus of the University of South Carolina, Aiken.
James Mullaney has authored several books and publications including the classic, The Finest Deep-Sky Objects (with Wally McCall, reprint from the Sky and Telescope Magazine,1978), The Cambridge Atlas of Herschel Objects (with Wil Tirion, 2009), and Star Checking Your Edmund Telescope (1977).

Walsh, Glenn A. "1938 Fireball Explosion Over W PA Remembered." Blog Post.
SpaceWatchtower 2013 March 11.
About 6 p.m. June 24, 1938, a huge fireball exploded over the small borough of Chicora, Pennsylvania. At first, the commotion was thought to have been caused by an explosion in a nearby building used to store gunpowder.
Had it progressed closer to Earth before exploding, note the studies, it would have destroyed much of nearby Pittsburgh and resulted in very few survivors. (Special Note: When this event happened, Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science was under construction, in the center of the North Side's business district.)
The fist-size meteor fragments were split into two collections, one set going to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and the other to the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh.

Walsh, Glenn A. "Preservation? Buhl Planetarium & Schenley High School." Blog Post.
SpaceWatchtower 2013 Feb. 21.
Although the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector is now on display at The Carnegie Science Center, it no longer does what is does best: a second-to-none, realistic depiction of the planets and stars in the night sky. The 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope and most other artifacts remain in storage, benefiting no one.

Walsh, Glenn A. "Astronomer's Son Wins Nobel Prize in Economics ." Blog Posting.
SpaceWatchtower 2012 Oct. 16.
"Lloyd S. Shapley, Professor Emeritus of the University of California at Los Angeles and son of distinguished 20th century astronomer Harlow Shapley, has won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Economics, sharing the prize with Alvin E. Roth of Harvard University...
"Harlow Shapley also supported planetaria and science museums. While Director of the Harvard College Observatory, he delivered the keynote address at the dedication of the rare 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science on 1941 November 19."

Walsh, Glenn A. "Centennial: New Allegheny Observatory Dedication ." Blog Posting.
SpaceWatchtower 2012 Aug. 28.
Both Henry Clay Frick and Andrew Carnegie made large contributions toward the construction of the new Allegheny Observatory.
Also, John Brashear accompanied Andrew Carnegie to the dedication of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall,
in Carnegie, Pennsylvania, on 1902 April 22.
"Previously, research observatories would, from time-to-time, allow the public to tour the facility and look through the research telescopes, particularly during special astronomical events such as a bright comet or a lunar eclipse. The idea of a "public observatory" did not begin to be somewhat common until the 1930s, with the advent of astronomical observatories built in conjunction with other public education facilities such as planetaria and science museums. Observatories built in conjunction with Philadelphia's Franklin Institute/Fels Planetarium (1933), Los Angeles' Griffith Observatory and Planetarium (1935), and Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science (1941) were the earliest such public observatories.
"In his autobiography, John Brashear writes, "In my early struggles to gain a knowledge of the stars, I made a resolution that if ever an opportunity offered or I could make such an opportunity, I should have a place where all the people who loved the stars could enjoy them;...and the dear old thirteen-inch telescope, by the use of which so many discoveries were made, is also given up to the use of the citizens of Pittsburgh, or, for that matter, citizens of the world." With the new Allegheny Observatory containing two new, large research telescopes, there no longer was a major research purpose for the original, smaller telescope, or for that matter, for the construction of a third telescope dome.
"However, Dr. Brashear felt so strongly that a telescope should be reserved for public use, he made sure that the original 13-inch telescope was mounted in a third dome designed for public use. Hence, the 1912 Allegheny Observatory building may truly be considered the first "public observatory," constructed in conjunction with a two-dome research observatory!"

Walsh, Glenn A. "Telstar Satellite Accidentally "Nuked" 50 Years Ago." Blog Posting.
SpaceWatchtower 2012 July 12.
Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science displayed a model of Telstar 1, first in an AT&T exhibit, and then in Buhl's Siderostat Observatory.

Walsh, Glenn A. "Buhl Planetarium Poem by Ann Curran." Blog Posting.
SpaceWatchtower 2012 May 3.
Poem "At the Late Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science," written by Pittsburgh Poet and
former Buhl Planetarium employee Ann Curran, who held a poetry reading at the Main Branch of
The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh on 2012 April 15.
Observatory remembrance in poem.

Walsh, Glenn A. "Former Buhl Planetarium & Observatory Lecturer Bestowed as Kent State University Professor Emeritus."
Blog Posting.
SpaceWatchtower 2012 Feb. 17.

Walsh, Glenn A. "Former Buhl Science Center President Dies." Obituary.
SpaceWatchtower 2012 Jan. 29.
Joshua Whetzel, who transformed Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science and spearheaded
construction of The Carnegie Science Center, dies at age 90.

Walsh, Glenn A. "70th Anniversary: Buhl Planetarium Observatory." Blog Post.
SpaceWatchtower 2011 Nov. 19.

Lowry, Patricia. "City's Friendship Quilt back for show."
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 2009 Jan. 24.
Great Pittsburgh Friendship Quilt, created at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium in 1988,
found in basement of Carnegie Science Center's original
SportsWorks/warehouse building, after being unseen for 20 years.
Quilt includes quilt strip dedicated to original Buhl Planetarium Observatory.

"Planning commission OKs several requests."
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 2008 Sept. 24.
Boren, Jeremy. "Panel approves South Side restaurant."
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 2008 Sept. 24.
City Planning Commission approved Science Center Master Plan,
after Carnegie Science Center Interim Co-Director Ron Baillie stated
that failure of the Master Plan to show a Siderostat Observatory on the
roof of the proposed 80,000 square-foot west building addition was simply
because planning for the building addition had not yet reached that "level of
detail." At the request of the City Planning Commission, Mr. Baillie also agreed
to provide the Commission with a copy of the legal Memorandum of Understanding,
between the City and the Science Center, which states that the Science Center
agreed to reassemble and reuse the 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope
on their expansion of the Science Center building.

Walsh, Glenn A. "Science Center Master Plan: Siderostat Observatory Missing."
Address. Pittsburgh City Planning Commission 2008 Sept. 23.
Also see: PAT Purchases and Will Demolish Science Center Warehouse, Where Historic Buhl Planetarium Artifacts are Stored, including Siderostat Telescope.

Transit of the Planet Venus Across Image of Sun - 2004 June 8
Friends of the Zeiss sponsored the only observing session of this historic event
in the City of Pittsburgh, open to the general public, in conjunction with
the Society for the Preservation of the Duquesne Heights Incline.

2001 November 19 marks the 60th anniversary of the Astronomical Observatory of
The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science !

Dyke, Barb V., et.al. "Saturn Through the Buhl Planetarium Heliostat."
Report of the Alternative Curriculum Astronomy Workshop,
The Tripoli Federation, Pittsburgh 1975 April 2.


Other Internet Web Sites of Interest

History of Andrew Carnegie and Carnegie Libraries

History of Astronomer, Educator, and Optician John A. Brashear, Friend of Andrew Carnegie

History of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh -

Including the oldest operable major planetarium projector in the world !

History of The Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, Chicago - America's First Major Planetarium !

The Duquesne Incline, Pittsburgh - Historic Cable Car Railway Serving Commuters and Tourists since 1877 !

Antique Telescope Society

Other History Links


Authored By Glenn A. Walsh
Sponsored By Friends of the Zeiss

This Internet Web Page: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com >
Internet Web Cover Page: < http://www.planetarium.cc >
Electronic Mail: < siderostat@planetarium.cc >

Internet Web Site Master Index for the History of
The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh

Eclipse of the Sun / Solar Eclipse:
Tips For Safe Viewing

Quick Reference Page -
Science

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) -
Astronomy and Other Sciences


Disclaimer Statement: This Internet Web Site is not affiliated with the Andrew Carnegie Free Library,
Ninth Pennsylvania Reserves Civil War Reenactment Group, Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium and Observatory/Buhl Digital Dome,
The Carnegie Science Center, The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh/Carnegie Institute, or The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

This Internet, World Wide Web Site administered by Glenn A. Walsh.
Unless otherwise indicated, all pages in this web site are --
© Copyright 1999 to 2011, Glenn A. Walsh, All Rights Reserved.
The author thanks The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the Carnegie Library Community Network/Three Rivers Free-Net
for use of their digital scanner and other computer equipment, and other assistance provided in the production of this web site.
Contact Web Site Administrator: siderostat@planetarium.cc

Last modified : Saturday, 05-Apr-2014 14:54:44 EDT.
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