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Author Topic: big telescope needs a new home located in Pennsylvania  (Read 659 times)
Wilhelm Smydle
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« on: March 24, 2017, 07:51:00 pm »

Sproul telescope at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania  is looking for a new home.

Its a  24-inch Brashear refractor scope The cast iron mount and pier weighs 50,000 lbs

Engineering the dismantle, packing, shipment,a nd eventual reassembly is a concern.

The college wants someone licenced, and insured to move it
and give it a new home preferably to be put back to work or used in a museum.

The time line to move it is tight with proposals due April 15th and the telescope removed by August 1st.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/06ffn49615nobgq/AADq6D9_oZVXx0ilbOJoiE4Ca?dl=0&preview=Sproul+Request+for+Proposals.pdf


Figured one of you all may know people that want a hunk of astronomic history.

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Wilhelm Smydle
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« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2017, 07:52:00 pm »

I'm not involved in this but its something worthy of the forum.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2017, 12:01:57 am »

This sounds like this could be of interest to either a community college or a university. Sadly, the University of Texas is already saddled with a plethora of old telescopes big and small. We have one on campus in Austin, and a small myriad at the Mc Donald observatory in West Texas.

I almost got hired as an on site engineer at Mc Donald observatory about 8 years ago, and their biggest issue was the maintenance of telescopes. The engineers resided in Austin and drove for 7 hours to Mt. Davis once or twice a week to supervise the on site machine shop used to maintain the old telescopes. It was a nightmare, and very few engineers are trained and have experience in optics. Sadly the position was scrapped when the director retired as that was a position he invented. Also, the engineers during the interview - quite rightfully - didn't think I had the knowledge or experience to make it happen. I've never seen such an unenthusiastic bunch of people sitting at an interview. Obviously this was the Director's "pet project."

I guess I could ask again. I doubt they'd give me a job, and no one will remember me after 8 years, but I could try to poke around.
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Prof Marvel
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learn from history, or be doomed to repeat it


« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2017, 10:05:49 pm »

oooohhhh deeeeeaaaaarrr.

snip---
Swarthmore College has plans to repurpose the Sproul Observatory building and seeks a new home
for the Sproul telescope.   Proposals are sought to remove, restore, and relocate the telescope in whole or in part
for use as (1) a working instrument for astronomical research, education, or outreach;
or (2) a museum object for historical research and possible exhibit The dome is not included  and will remain on campus
.
Requirements. 
Removal of the telescope will require licensed, professional riggers and a liability bond
of $1 million, along with worker’s compensation and automobile coverage.  Swarthmore College
would  need to be named as an additional insured.

endsnip---

not to rain on anyone's parade, but just being realistic and pragmatic.
let us enumerate the problems so far

1) The *ONLY* visibility on the web is this thread in Brassgoggles, a note in the International Planetarium web page, and the RFP itself.
2) The earliest mention I can see of the RFP is Mar 9, 2017 with a due date for proposals of April 15, 2017 and the removal of the telescope
     must be completed by August 1, 2017
           That is a virtually impossible timeframe for anyone except a "white knight" with tons-o-cash and a plan already in place.
3) Its a  24-inch Brashear refractor scope The cast iron mount and pier weighs 50,000 lbs
           Nobody would want an old refractor this size except an eccentric multi-millionare or museum

4) RFP requires Engineering the dismantle, packing, shipment,and eventual reassembly is a concern.
   The college wants someone licenced, and insured to move it  and give it a new home preferably to be put back to work or used in a museum.

This is not a Request For Proposals, but either
a) someone's "pet project" which is "designed to fail" so they can scrap it out.
      -or-
b) some "golden child" affiliated with  the college knows wants it and the college is required to put out an RFP foir bids.
    By making it economically unfeasible with an impossible timeframe only the "golden child" will get it.

I have personally seen this s**t go down on some other historic computer or  lab equipment. The local "surplus shop" has literally 5 acres
of outside storage (not to mention 2 acres of inside storage)  full of insanely wonderful technical stuff from Los Alamos Labs and Sandia Labs.
They even have spare vaccuum tubes nearly 2 feet long for some ancient high-power thingy.

There is another 2-4 acre spot in the suburbs of Los Alamos, where a former employee is trying to save stuff "for posterity". When he dies it will all go to the scrapyards.

I do hope some Unicorn MultiMillionare comes out of the woodwork to make a happy ending to the fairy tale.
Otherwise it's scrapyard time for another beautiful piece of Astronomical history, just like the 100 year old milling machines, lathes, and blacksmithing "power hammers".

yours sadly
prof marvel
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2017, 03:07:55 am »

Yeah. It's all very suspicious, ain't it? Because colleges and universities are not known for placing misleading ads for jobs or sale of items that are secretly meant for a chosen one or few  Roll Eyes

A certain job posting for a special "microfluidics" research position in Texas was open years ago. It was relating to a design for a portable insulin pump meant for patients with severe diabetes.  I was rejected for that position on account that "I had no experience." All well and good, but then I looked at the name of the medical corporation that would build the thingy. It was owned by the research professor's son in California.

I get the impression this was a family business, disguised as a legitimate college research. The job was probably meant for the professor's nephew in graduate school  Roll Eyes

The thing is, can you find who the "gifted one" is who is buying/pilfering the telescope?

Don't people go to jail for this kind of bovine manure? If your suspicions are true, does this not constitute a type of racketeering perpetrated against the school, or if a publicly funded college, racketeering against the state?
« Last Edit: March 28, 2017, 08:16:56 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
Prof Marvel
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learn from history, or be doomed to repeat it


« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2017, 03:12:21 am »

Private college, a 200 yer old Quaker institution incorporated in PA,
privately funded via endowments and donations.
Answerable only to their board, no public disclosures required.
Under law any donors' rights end once the check is cashed.
only recourse is to stop donating in the future.

yhs
prof mvl
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J. Wilhelm
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Sentisne fortunatum punkus? Veni. Diem meum comple


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« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2017, 04:40:43 am »

Private college, a 200 yer old Quaker institution incorporated in PA,
privately funded via endowments and donations.
Answerable only to their board, no public disclosures required.
Under law any donors' rights end once the check is cashed.
only recourse is to stop donating in the future.

yhs
prof mvl

In that case why not avoid all the trouble and have the board simply "donate" the old telescope to the new "benefactor"? Why post false ads altogether? I mean, if it's all private, then it's all private....
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Wilhelm Smydle
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United States United States


« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2017, 09:11:29 pm »

An up date, its heading to Northwest Arkansas with a company called "supporting stem and space inc." 

http://nwa.space/sproul/
The complete lack of advertisement seamed off and likely targeting alumni of the college.
it looks like they setup a "gofund me" to off set costs.
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Prof Marvel
Zeppelin Captain
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United States United States


learn from history, or be doomed to repeat it


« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2017, 10:06:49 pm »

AH yes, northwest Arkansas - that grand muggy clime, the hotbed of observatories!

but, all jesting aside, I am gratified to see the observatory finally got a proposal, and accepted it, saving the old iorn refractor relic from the scrapyard!

per the gofund thingy:
Our shipping provider estimated $12,000, the rest of the funds will be used to unload it into secure storage
once it arrives in Northwest Arkansas. Any funds raised beyond the  initial goal will be go toward the telescope's
eventual restoration and installation into an observatory somewhere along the I-49 corridor.


wow, so they obtained the 'scope even without a place to store it yet, let alone a dome to house it!
that's ballsy, folks!

yhs
prof marvel
« Last Edit: May 17, 2017, 10:10:12 pm by Prof Marvel » Logged
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