April 30, 2010

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click image for video from British Pathé

Hugh Percy Wilkins was a leading amateur Moon-mapper who died 50 years ago. I have the book, The Moon, that he wrote with Patrick Moore in 1955, which was the last of the classic British books that described each named feature. WIlkins' maps were known for their clutter of detail and a lack of artistry. But today when Phil Morgan pointed me to this 1953 newsreel of Wilkins and his telescope I had to see it. So that is what he was like, and look at his cannon-like homemade 18" telescope. Does any Moon observer today observe with a telescope they made rather than bought? The narration has the familiar (if you are old enough) sound of old movie matinee newsreels, where everything is improving and wonderful. Are there movies of other vintage lunar observers? After you look at Percy a few times to study his map and telescope, check out some of the other historic movie snippets at the bottom of the page. A treat.

Chuck Wood

Yesterday's LPOD: Rilles And Roughness

Tomorrow's LPOD: May Day Dome


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