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  Flown Questars

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Author Topic:   Flown Questars
Gordon Reade
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Posts: 334
From: USA
Registered: Nov 2002

posted 02-02-2007 11:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gordon Reade     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Questar telescopes were flown on Gemini and Apollo space missions. In fact Gordon Cooper created quite a stir in his book ďLeap of FaithĒ when he claimed that he used his to photograph Area 51.

Dose anyone know where the flown Questars are now?

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 29337
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-03-2007 12:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Richard Underwood, NASA's chief photo analyst at the time of Cooper's Gemini flight, described the camera as a "35-mm Questar with a Zeiss 'Contarex' lens" to James Oberg, who was writing for SPACE.com.

"It was the same camera that Ed White took outside with him on his space walk in June," Underwood recalled. "We just slapped a big lens assembly on the front end."

I recall reading that White's EVA camera is part of the Smithsonian's collection.

Gordon Reade
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Posts: 334
From: USA
Registered: Nov 2002

posted 02-07-2007 10:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gordon Reade     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Dear Robert

Thank you for the information. As you may know Questar telescope owners have sometimes been accused of exaggerating the capabilities of their scopes but itís safe to say the Gordon Cooper took the cake when he said that he was able to use his to photograph car license plates from orbit!

I have a space related story about my little 3.5 inch Questar. Last summer set it up at a BBQ with itís Hydrogen - alpha filter in place to look at some solar flares. Also present at the BBQ was Steve Robinson. Steve had a look and was thrilled. I asked Steve about the seven inch Questar he had used on his first space mission and we had a great time talking about it.

My Questar hasnít flown in space but it impressed someone who has.

Glint
Member

Posts: 798
From: New Windsor, Maryland USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 02-07-2007 03:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
....described the camera as a "35-mm Questar with a Zeiss 'Contarex' lens" ...

So, in reality the Questar in question was really a camera.

quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Reade:

Questar telescope owners have sometimes been accused of exaggerating the capabilities of their scopes but itís safe to say the Gordon Cooper took the cake when he said that he was able to use his to photograph car license plates from orbit!

Sounds like Cooper didn't have a Questar telescope on him after all.

That said, the 3.5", 7", 12" etc. telescopes are marvelous pieces of machinery!

On Edit, I wonder if Underwood could have misstated the configuration or maybe Oberg misquoted him? The linked article states that the Questar camera was attached to a 1250 mm cadadioptric Ziess lens. I wonder if maybe that should have been a Questar lens and a Zeiss camera?


  • Questars are cadadioptric optical systems as well.
  • The 3.5" Questar's base focal length of between 1300 and 1400 mm is in the right ball park.
  • Zeiss makes cameras, such as the Ikon.
  • I've never heard of a Questar camera before.

Could Cooper have possibly used used a Questar lens and a Zeiss camera instead of the other way around?

[Edited by Glint (February 07, 2007).]

Gordon Reade
Member

Posts: 334
From: USA
Registered: Nov 2002

posted 02-07-2007 04:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gordon Reade     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cooper had a 3.5 inch apeture Questar telescope, of that there is no question.

"35-mm Questar with a Zeiss 'Contarex' lens"

Should have read, "3.5 inch Questar with a 35mm Zeiss Contarex camera body." As small error.

Questar is still in busness and you can buy a lens almost identical to the ones flown on Genini and Apollo if you don't mind spending a few thousand dollars.

Glint
Member

Posts: 798
From: New Windsor, Maryland USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 02-07-2007 04:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Reade:
Cooper had a 3.5 inch apeture Questar telescope, of that there is no question.

"35-mm Questar with a Zeiss 'Contarex' lens"

Should have read, "3.5 inch Questar with a 35mm Zeiss Contarex camera body." As small error.


I agree that the statment made in the linked article is in error, but not which parts of it are in error.

With a little more context added the quote reads, "the camera was a 35-mm Questar with a Zeiss 'Contarex' lens."

To me this says that the "35-mm" referred to a camera shooting 35mm film. It becomes an adjective describing the camera which, according to the quote, was a Questar ("The camera was a 35mm Questar"). And what sort of lens did the camera have? It had a "Zeiss 'Contarex' lens".

I also agree that the lens was probably a Questar for the simple reason there's no such thing as a Questar camera. So why the goofy quote saying that the camera had a Zeiss lens, not a Questar?

Here's another theory. Perhaps the camera had two lenses. The actual brand of the camera wasn't mentioned, but it had a two-lens combination, one by Questar and the other one by Zeiss, and that somehow the lenses were combined. Why combine a Questar and a Zeiss Contarex? Maybe to get a flatter or wider field - I don't know. Maybe the Zeiss and Questar lenses were combined to form a fascinating hybrid.

Another theory. Maybe the 35mm camera (brand unspecified) had two interchangeable lenses -- a Questar 3.5" and the Zeiss Contrarex.

I've often considered getting a Questar. But everytime I come back to this basic fact of telescope ownership: Aperture determines everything, including theoretical resolution. The only exception is it's hard to get my 12.5" Equatorial Newtonian or my 20" Dobson onto an airplane.

On edit, added 3rd theory, above.

[Edited by Glint (February 07, 2007).]

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