The Lincoln Park Telescope
Historical Renovation Project (Hector J. Robinson Observatory) is currently:
(please note: children must always be accompanied by adults when visiting the observatory)
OPEN: at 15 September 1:00 PM for the HJR REDEDICATION CEREMONY open to the general public- solar observing, many telescopes, the mayor, school board, children, teachers, media, astronomers, and much more- welcome!!! If you like astronomy or telescopes, we want you to use this observatory! Dozens of astronomers, hundreds of public and school children are expected to attend. This is really the a once in a century event for Lincoln Park Schools - the first time it's been used in 30 years, the first new equipment since 1961. Be there to help us celebrate our community and our children's future! This is the 400th Anniversary of Galileo's discovery's the International Year of Astronomy 2009! Come celebrate our gift!
-Timothy J. Dey, M.D.
The original mirror hand ground by Lincoln Park students
in 1961, the observatory built to house that Newtonian telescope
in 1964, and after a brief revival in 1975, this is the story
of bringing this long-neglected historical instrument firmly
into the 21st century for the students and citizens of Lincoln
Park. The U.N. has declared 2009 to be the International Year
of Astronomy, and we intend to restore a true gem to its proper
place to mark the occasion!
A History of the Hector J. Robinson Observatory
Thanks to the help of Muriel Lobb and the Lincoln
Park Historical Museum, archival documents regarding the
history of the Lincoln Park Schools telesope project were
uncovered, and much of the story of the early years from 1961
through 1975 were recovered. If you would like to view scanned
versions of this material, please feel free to click on the
small images below (they will open as high-resolution .jpg
Click the link below to watch a PowerPoint
presentation regarding our project to date (with lots of photos):
Telescope Project PowerPoint
If you have any questions, input, or would like to help complete
this project, please contact me
with your details and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
I make every effort to return contacts within 24 hours, and
often the same day if the call takes place during standard
business hours (Monday-Friday. 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. Eastern Time
A brief history of the origin of the project and some biographical
information can be found in the link below:
Project+Timothy Dey Bio.pdf
Thank you for your time, and clear skies!
Timothy J. Dey, M.D.
Click the link below to visit the website
of the Ford Amateur Astronomy Club (FAAC) - a major contributor
to this historic renovation by virtue of their ongoing public
education outreach and technical expertise to the restoration
10 June Update
George Korody and I spent our morning taking
fine measurements of the aluminum riser, the cut that needs
to be made, and the weld of a 9" aluminum disc of 1/2"
thickness that will be need to be made to the top of the newly
cut riser (does anybody have the expertise and tools to weld
aluminum?). . Once the riser has been shortened and the top
plate welded to it, we will use the sun at zenith to have
a vertical rope cast a shadow across the plate. This will
then allow us to mark where exact north is on the plate once
attached to the concrete pier, and where to drill our holes
into the aluminum plate that will match the pre-drilled holes
in the Losmandy base plate. Then we can bolt the Losmandy
Titan onto the base plate and then the C14 OTA for fine polar
Wednesday the 17th at 11 AM Joseph Griggs
(our contractor) and company will arrive to have some "before"
photos taken by Greg Ozimek, and then begin
to power wash the building inside and out. This will be followed
by OSHA certification that the building is safe for occupancy.
While his crew is doing that, Joe and I will drive to the
Allen Park Home Depot, who have generously
responded to our appeal for help with this project by donating
6 gallons of premium Behr exterior paint for the outside walls
(white), exterior dome (silver), and interior surfaces (dark
blue). The painting will take place on a following day to
allow the walls to dry. All club members are welcome to be
present who have an interest in the project or with to be
being included in the photographs.
Electrical will be reworked, and a trench cut in the floor
to allow for conduits to run power and data cords to connect
the computer carol to the central pier. We will need to find
donations of 3-5 bags of cement to help repair the floor.
The school may be able to help in part with this resource
(yet to be determined).
Four IR heat lamps connected to a temp/humidity sensor will
be installed to switch on to prevent condensation damage on
cool days. A switch will be provided for a white light, and
a red light will be provided on a rheostat to allow for dimming
(these materials are also needed).
Total work will last about 5 days over the next two weeks,
and then FAAC club members should be ready to install the
The school will provide fiber optic connections, computer
and screen, and desk. We will need an educational version
of the Sky 6 and other useful software to load on the computer.
FAAC club member Larry Hoffman has generously
agreed to donate his AC Losmandy power supply to the school
to power our Titan mount - a huge thank you to Larry for that
not insubstantial gift!
Thanks to all the club members for you ongoing support -
first light is just weeks away now!
Timothy Dey :-)
11 June Update
After meeting this afternoon with the contractor, we have
decided it will be
possible to raise the floor of the observatory considerably
and make it really
pretty as well as wheel-chair accessible without too much
additional cost. What
is now needed is the following:
20 - 2x6x12 pieces of wolmanized lumber
6 - ¾" 4x8 sheets of wolmanized plywood
6 - sheets of Duraroc (or equivalent)
4 - bags mortar for tile
1 – bag mortar for cement block
We are hoping the Lowe's will come through for us with some
or all of these
materials, if not, we will have to seek elsewhere. I have
asked the Lincoln
Park Historical Society to donate beautiful stone pavers for
the flooring, and
they have agreed (they have spares left over from a previous
project). All these
materials will allow us to raise the floor of the observatory
some 6-8", which
will let us use the telescope closer to the horizon. It will
also allow us to
run our conduits under the floorboards without cutting into
flooring itself. The wheel-chair ramp will make the observatory
a nice touch for a public project!
18 June Update - Wash Day!
Well, with much thanks to the Joseph P. Griggs Historical
Renovations Crew the Lincoln Park Schools observatory
received its first bath in over 45 years! It took about 400
feet of hose to reach from the nearest spigot to the power
washer, but the job got done, and the building is as clean
as a whistle, inside and out! Greg Ozimek was present and
captured publicity photos for Joseph and crew, as well as
documentation of the cleaning itself. George Korody was also
present, in addition to myself and several school personnel
(including Leo McMaster). It was quite something to watch
all that grime come off, and the building is now MI OSHA certified
The next step is to let the building dry over the weekend,
and next week paint the building white on the exterior and
navy blue inside, with artistic touches to be added on both
sides by the schoolkids themselves in the Fall.
A decision has been made to go with indoor/outdoor carpeting
on top of the raised wolmanized plywood flooring - a sheet
or two sufficient to cover an area with a 12 foot interior
diameter is what we're seeking at this point. We are also
in need of somebody who can cut our aluminum riser (which
will rest on our concrete pier) to a height of 6 inches and
then weld a 9 inch disc to the top in order to prepare it
to receive the Losmandy Titan mount.
Pictures from Greg to follow shortly!
29 June - "Hector
J. Robinson Clear Sky Chart" is generated
A big thanks to FAAC member Ben Cline for
working with "Clear Sky Chart"
guru Attilla Danko to create
a permanent web page which generates forecast images just
for Hector J. Robinson Observatory and the surroundings out
to about 10 miles.
9 July - The painting
is finally done!
It took the better part of three days and 11 gallons of Beyer's
best premium indoor/outdoor paint, but the observatory shines
like new! The outer dome has been painted white, the outer
walls a light blue, and the entire interior including the
inner dome and shutter a shade of navy named by Beyer (no
kidding...) "Outer Space" blue!! Next week the elevated
floor, indoor/outdoor carpeting, underfloor conduit and new
electrical panel and boxes will start to go in, and when that's
complete, we'll be ready to start installing the telescope
mount, optical tube assembly, computer, and all the other
cool toys. A huge thank you to Joseph Griggs and Crew,
Beyer Paint, and Audrey Jameil of
Allen Park Home Depot for all their fine work to
get us to this point. Additional thanks to the Ford
Amateur Astronomy Club and the Lincoln Park
Historical Preservation Society for their donations
of $500.00 and $200.00 respectively to underwrite the purchase
of all these materials. Stay tuned!
(To see pictures of the painting job, click: Telescope
Project PowerPoint to see a slide show).
28 July - The elevated wooden floor is installed
To see some GREAT pictures of the powerwashing of the building and the installation of the elevated flooring, as well as other elements of the project to date, check out what Greg Ozimek has posted at the FAAC Boonhill site:
Also feel free to begin visiting the Lincoln Park Schools Observatory Website, which is under construction but rapidly growing thanks to the weekly work of Lincoln Park IT techical officer Ed Brzozinski:
Finally, if you'd like to download the entire full-size "Astronomy for Everyone - Episode 3" show, right click the link below and save it to your desktop. It will play with Quicktime or Windows Media Player.
http://deygroup.com/video/Astronomy_for_Everyone_Episode_3.mpg (WARNING - this is a 1.1 GB file and is VERY large - this file takes at least 15 minutes to download).
21 August - The Hector J. Robinson Observatory has a new telescope installed!
For the first time in over 30 years, the Lincoln Park Schools Hector J. Robinson Observatory has a functional telescope in place, and what a telescope! To see even MORE great pictures of the installation of the Losmandy Titan mount and Celestron C-14 Optical Tube Assembly, check out what Greg Ozimek has added at the FAAC Boonhill site:
A huge "Thank You" to George "Obiwan" Korody, Mike Rousseau, and all the others who helped with the installation process!
15 September - The Hector J. Robinson Observatory has its Grand Rededication Ceremony!
Read all about it, and looking forward to seeing you there! :-)
Press Release-Lincoln Park Observatory
Contributors to the Lincoln Park HRJ Observatory
An ENORMOUS Thank You to all the many members of the Ford Amateur Astronomy Club, Lincoln Park Schools, the City of Lincoln Park, Joseph Griggs and Company, and all others who contributed in the effort to make this a hugely successful dedication ceremony. We had members of the press, L.P. Superintendents, Board Members, Principles, Teachers, our Mayor, numerous members of the public and over 200 of L.P.'s schoolchildren present for the dedication. Pictures and press releases to follow soon!