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Announcing Project 27 during the 7th ASSA Symposium
Uploaded on 8 October 2006

During the dinner event of the 7th ASSA Symposium on 29 September 2006, Dr. Patrick Seitzer of the University of Michigan announced an ambitious new project: the possible re-use of the Lamont 27 inch refractor as an educational telescope.

The 4 major components of the telescope is in safe-keeping: the lens is at the University of Michigan and the tube (separated into to pieces), mounting and counterweight is in storage at the Mangaung Fire Station Museum in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

The project calls for the relocation of at least the tube and lens to Boyden Observatory, where it will be on display as a museum piece and possibly to be used for educational, observational purposes. It will not be installed in its original configuration due to practical reasons, but there are many other configurations which might support such an challenging thought. Another option even suggests using only the lens and feed mirrors with a another tube structure, the Lamont tube becoming only a museum exhibition at Boyden.

At this stage the project is only a dream: a dream that could either be very successfully or might turn out to be nothing more than a fantastical idea. There are no timeline for project implementation at this stage. If the lens is re-used at Boyden Observatory, in whatever configuration (with or without its original tube), it will form part of the largest refractor in the southern hemisphere and the largest educational telescope in Southern Africa.

Initial throughts about the project was discussed on 27 September 2006 at Boyden Observatory between a representative from the University of Michigan (Dr. Patrick Seitzer), the Boyden Observatory and Science Centre, ASSA Bloemfontein Centre and ASSA's Historical Section. As the project continues, the astronomical community of Southern Africa will be kept up to date of developments. Your support towards this endeavour will be very much appreciated!

The massive 27 inch Lamont Refractor during its operational lifetime in the Lamont-Hussey Observatory on Naval Hill, Bloemfontein (photo taken in 1965, received from Dr. Patrick Seitzer, University of Michigan).

Lens of the 27 inch Lamont Refractor, currently in safe-keeping at the University of Michigan. Picture received from
Dr. Patrick Seitzer, University of Michigan).

The tube of the Lamont refractor, separated into two parts, on display in the Fire Station Museum in Erlichpark, Bloemfontein (SA). The counterweight is visible at the back, the mounting is just off the photo. Credit: Alfred Jenkinson.

Part of Boyden Observatory, photo taken from the dome of the 60 inch UFS-Boyden reflector.

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