La Martiniere College has restored a Victorian Galilean refractor telescope that was lying dismantled in the science laboratory on the campus. It will now be installed at the top of the chapel tower in Constantia, said college authorities.
“The college has a large mid-Victorian telescope by Josiah Thomas Slugg of Manchester, United Kingdom. The telescope has been erected on a stand and has a four-inch diameter objective lens,” said principal Carlyle McFarland.
“Coarse focus is achieved by manually operating the first draw tube and fine focus operated by an internal rack mechanism with an adjusting knob to the side. This allows for both terrestrial and astronomical observations as required,” he said.
The telescope is also mounted with a single draw star-finder scope to the side with crosshairs view. It bears a brass plaque, engraved to the Victorian maker, “JT Slugg – Manchester, he added.
Records indicate that the telescope was a gift to the college from CM McCann, chief secretary of the erstwhile United Province, who also served as the senior trustee of the college. On December 12, 1874, a letter of thanks was conveyed to him on behalf of the committee of governors for this presentation.
“It shall soon be installed in one of the east-facing kiosks, at the top of the chapel tower in Constantia. An astronomy enthusiast, the founder of La Martiniere College, Maj Gen Claude Martin, had set up these open kiosks for night sky viewing with devices such as these,” reads McFarland’s facebook post.
Sumit Kumar Srivastava, scientific officer of the Indira Gandhi Planetarium, Lucknow, provided expert advice on the telescope’s restoration.
Back in 2014, the college had restored a 200-year-old British pipe organ that was once the pride of the institution.