Chicago's Adler Planetarium gets new telescope

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Adler Planetarium got a new state of the art American-made telescope Tuesday. It will peer into the heavens with more clarity than ever before.

The gyroscoping telescope has a 24-inch mirror.

"The motors will be able to track the night sky and you will be able to do very long, deep exposures," said Matt Dieterich, technical services manager for PlaneWave Instruments.

Dieterich watched like an expectant father as workers installed his company's handiwork in the 40-year-old Doane Observatory, at the back of the Adler Planetarium. Sophisticated cameras will soon get mounted as part of the $100,000 project to capture images of nebulae, galaxies and stars from further away than ever before from this location

"We send electricity to the motor and that is controlling the motors to actually move the optical tube which is the telescope," he explained. "That allows for a very precise tracking of the night sky ."

One of the fascinating components of the installation is that it is cheaper in today's dollars to put in then it was back in 1987 when they last replaced this telescope.

"That is an incredible feat for the technology we have nowadays to be able to create pinpoint star images on really, really big cameras to create beautiful photos," Dieterich said.

"It will be brighter, it will be more detailed, it will be less fuzzy than it was before," said Michelle Nichols, director of public observing for the Adler Planetarium.

Private donations funded the project, which will be fully operational well before the week of July 20 when all seven planets will be visible in the sky at almost the same time.

"The sky above us is the one we all share and it is our job to be able to present that to as many people as possible," Nichols said.
Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.