Porter Garden Telescope

One of last century's most celebrated small telescopes is set to make a comeback.
By | Published: May 19, 2009 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
Porter Garden Telescope
Telescopes of Vermont’s first prototype demonstrates the new Porter Garden Telescope is a virtual clone of the original.
Russ Schleipman

This review, “Rebirth of a classic: the Porter Garden Telescope,” appeared in the June 2007 issue of Astronomy magazine

A backyard telescope is commonplace today. But 80 years ago, having one, especially a Porter Garden Telescope, set a person apart. The man behind this device influenced both amateur telescope-making and the largest professional telescope of his time. Now, a present-day company — Telescopes of Vermont — is ready to unveil a faithful reproduction of this classic instrument.

Big eye on the sky
An Arctic adventurer, architect, and artist, Russell Williams Porter (1871-1949) was a man with diverse interests. Porter’s talent as a designer led to his involvement in the world’s largest telescope project.

In the 1920s, American astronomer George Ellery Hale (1868-1938) was on a mission: to build the world’s largest telescope. In 1928, Hale invited Porter to join the team of astronomers and engineers to design and build the world’s largest telescope — the 200-inch reflector on Palomar Mountain in California.

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