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updated: 5/22/2013 3:37 PM

U of I's 117-year-old telescope getting repairs

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  • The University of Illinois observatory is a National Historic Landmark because of pioneering work done there in the early 1900s by astronomer Joel Stebbins to record the brightness of distant stars.

      The University of Illinois observatory is a National Historic Landmark because of pioneering work done there in the early 1900s by astronomer Joel Stebbins to record the brightness of distant stars.
    Robin Scholz/The News-Gazette

  • Chris Ray, owner of Ray Museum Studios in Swarthmore, Pa., paints the inside of the lens so it will not reflect light as crews take apart the historic 117-year-old telescope at the University of Illinois observatory in Urbana.

      Chris Ray, owner of Ray Museum Studios in Swarthmore, Pa., paints the inside of the lens so it will not reflect light as crews take apart the historic 117-year-old telescope at the University of Illinois observatory in Urbana.
    Robin Scholz/The News-Gazette

  • Swarthmore engineering sophomore Yousef Alhessi, left, and Fred Orthlieb, emeritus professor of mechanical engineering at Swarthmore, work on taking apart the historic 117-year-old telescope at University of Illinois observatory.

      Swarthmore engineering sophomore Yousef Alhessi, left, and Fred Orthlieb, emeritus professor of mechanical engineering at Swarthmore, work on taking apart the historic 117-year-old telescope at University of Illinois observatory.
    Robin Scholz/The News-Gazette

 
Associated Press

URBANA, Ill. -- Like anything that's 117 years old, the telescope in the University of Illinois' observatory could use a little work. This summer, it will get it.

A crew dismantled the telescope this week and is sending it to a business in Pennsylvania that will work on it.

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Professor Bryan Dunne is assistant chair of the astronomy department at the university. He told The News-Gazette in Champaign on Tuesday that while the telescope hasn't been used for research since the 1960s it's still used in introductory classes and public open houses.

The observatory is a National Historic Landmark because of pioneering work done there in the early 1900s by astronomer Joel Stebbins to record the brightness of distant stars.

The restoration work will cost $54,000 and be finished by August.

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