Chabot Observatory
& Science Center
Mountain Blvd. Oakland, California

Link to Chabot Observatory, Lafayette Square

Chabot Observatory, Mountain Blvd., Oakland CA
Chabot Observatory, Mountain Blvd., Oakland CA

Chabot Observatory, Transit Telescope, Sky & Telescope magazine cover
Chabot Observatory, Sky & Telescope cover
Transit telescope room, Chabot Observatory  -- cover photo by Jim Ferreira


Charles Burckhalter, Chabot Observatory 20 inch
          telescope
Charles Burckhalter viewing through the Brashear / Warner & Swasey 20" telescope Rachel
date unknown - photo courtesy Ben Burress, Chabot Observatory archive

Chabot
                Observatory, Leah - Mark Gingrich

Chabot Observatory - EAS newsletter cover
EAS member Mark Gingrich with 8" Alvan Clark "Leah"  -1978-  photo: Jim Ferreira
Xerox graphics for EAS newsletter cover that was never used  -1980-

Chabot 20" dome, group photo
20" dome on Rachel's observing chair - probably around 1978
Top row, left: Conrad Jung, John Brice, Alan Roche, bottom row, left: Jim Ferreira and Terry Galloway
Photo by Jim Perillat

Chabot Observatory, Mountain Blvd., 1978
EAS member and Chabot volunteer Fred Schumacher using the 8 inch Alvan Clark refractor 'Leah' to observe sunspots - 1978  photo: Jim Ferreira

Fred, Rob and Bob, Rachel 20" refractor

In the photo above, circa 1971-72, Fred Schumacher (left), Rob Vorderbruggen, and Bob Schalck are experimenting with a detector or camera at Rachel's focus.  Unique to Chabot Observatory and a credit to the wisdom of Kingsley Wightman, many of the high school and college age volunteers were actually issued keys to the observatory.  Kingsley felt that if they had free access they would better utilize the telescopes, darkroom and computer equipment.  And, that the random coming and going of the young people would discourage break-in, theft and vandalism.  Kingsley was right on both counts, many of the young folks, like Fred, Rob and Bob went on to science / technology careers due in part to their exposure to the observatory, and, Chabot Observatory had substantially fewer issues with theft and vandalism than any other Oakland Public School facility.


Saturn shot with Rachel by
                  Bob Schalck, 1972

This splendid image of Saturn by Bob Schalck was shot on 35mm Ektachrome 64 film at the 20" refractor's prime focus, date unknown, but likely early '70s.  The monochrome image is from a scan of the slide.


Kingsley Wightman, Spitz A3P,
                Chabot Observatory


Kingsley Wightman   1916-2007

Kingsley Wightman officially served as director of Chabot Observatory from 1976 to 1986, but in all truth, for those that knew him, from 1948 to 1994 Mr. Wightman was the heart and soul of Chabot Observatory and Science Center.

Of particular note, his astronomy, space and physics presentations always involved liquid nitrogen and hydrogen gas, resulting in things spurting, splitting, shattering or exploding.  Dare say there isn't an Oakland school student or visitor that doesn't remember a trip to Chabot Observatory and the kindly tall, white haired gentleman in the white lab coat....and something exploding.

Photo at left: Kingsley with the Spitz A3P planetarium projector in Chabot's Rotary Club Planetarium, circa 1983.  Photo: Chabot Observatory archive



Chabot
                Observatory, Mountain Blvd., 1978
Chabot
                Observatory, Mountain Blvd., 1978
Chabot Observatory, Chabot Science Center - 1978
Rachel


Chabot
                Observatory, Mountain Blvd., 1978
Chabot
                Observatory, Mountain Blvd., 1978
South end of library, second floor, main building - 1978  photo: Jim Ferreira
Rooftop observing deck, weather station, 20" telescope dome - 1978  photo: Jim Ferreira


Chabot
                Observatory, Mountain Blvd., 1978
Chabot
                Observatory, Mountain Blvd., 1978
Chabot main building, north side, transit telescope room - 1978  photo: Jim Ferreira
4 1/8" transit telescope by Fauth & Co., Washington - 1978  photo: Jim Ferreira




Chabot Observatory, Mountain Blvd., 1978
Chabot
                Observatory, Mountain Blvd., 1978
Paper drum recorder used with the transit telescope to record star meridian passage - 1978
photo: Jim Ferreira
Note the mechanical governor spinning to maintain precise drum rotation rate - 1978
photo: Jim Ferreira


Chabot
                Observatory, Mountain Blvd., 1978
Chabot
                Observatory, Mountain Blvd., 1978
Warner & Swasey German equatorial mount, 20" telescope - 1978  photo: Jim Ferreira
4" guide scope, rack & pinion focuser, RA/Dec adjustment wheels, 20" telescope - 1978


Chabot
                Observatory, Mountain Blvd., 1978
Chabot
                Observatory, Mountain Blvd., 1978
Atmospheric study equipment, second floor, west side of main building - 1978  photo: Jim Ferreira
Rachel's dome slit open - 1978  photo: Jim Ferreira


Chabot
                Observatory, Mountain Blvd., 1978
Chabot
                Observatory, Mountain Blvd., 1978
Warner & Swasey / Brashear 20" refractor telescope Rachel - 1978  photo: Jim Ferreira
Main building and domes, photographed from hills to east.  To the right, in the cubical building is the
Rotary Club Planetarium.  At the lower right corner is the building where the Telescope Makers
Workshop met every Friday night - attached to the same building just out of the picture is the roll-off
roof observatory that housed the 9 1/2 inch John Mellish - Chet Smith refractor. photo: Jim Ferreira



Chabot
                Observatory, Mountain Blvd., 1978
Chabot
                Observatory, Mountain Blvd., 1978
Aquarium in main building - 1978   photo: Jim Ferreira
Fred Schumacher observing sun with rotating disk on Leah - 1978  photo: Jim Ferreira


Chabot
                Observatory, Mountain Blvd., 1978
Chabot
                Observatory, Mountain Blvd., 1978
Beautiful brass on Rachel - 1978  photo: Jim Ferreira
Manual Right Ascension wheel and dome rotating control - 1978  photo: Jim Ferreira


Chabot
                Observatory, Mountain Blvd., 1978
Chabot
                Observatory, Mountain Blvd., 1978
North end of main building, transit room at left, 20" telescope dome - 1978  photo: Jim Ferreira
South end of main building, 8" telescope dome at left - 1978  photo: Jim Ferreira


Chabot
                Observatory, Mountain Blvd., 1978
Chabot
                Observatory, Mountain Blvd., 1978
EAS member and Chabot volunteer Jim Perillat, Rachel and observing chair - 1978  photo: Jim Ferreira
EAS member and Chabot volunteer Jim Ferreira and transit telescope - 1978  photo: Jim Ferreira






Chabot Observatory, Mountain Blvd., 1978
Chabot
                Observatory, Mountain Blvd., 1978
Rachel's 20 inch John Brashear objective lens - 1978  photo: Jim Ferreira
Warner & Swaney / Brashear 20 inch refractor Rachel - 1978  photo: Jim Ferreira


Chabot
                Observatory, Mountain Blvd., 1978
Chabot
                Observatory, Mountain Blvd., 1978
Chabot Observatory main building front entrance - 1978  photo:  Jim Ferreira
Main entrance and 8" telescope dome - 1978  photo: Jim Ferreira


Conrad Jung and
                Chabot 9 inch Mallish refractor

Conrad Jung at the eyepiece of the Mellish-Smith 9 inch refractor.  Date unknown, Chabot Observatory archive.




More to come!




Related links:
Chabot Observatory / EAS Timeline:  http://www.eastbayastro.org/index/history/history01.htm
Eastbay Astronomical Society:  http://www.eastbayastro.org/

Both Rachel and Leah, and the 4 1/8" transit circle telescope have been restored to their former glory, are still operational and can be seen at their new home in the Oakland hills at The Chabot Space and Science Center.   The telescopes are open to the general public for night time viewing each Friday and Saturday evening - weather permitting.  Admission to the telescopes is free!
Chabot Space & Science Center:  http://www.chabotspace.org/index.htm



Chabot Observatory, Mountain Blvd., web site by Jim Ferreira (c) 2014    bakerst@comcast.net