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Heliostat, Solar, "Keith's American Heliostat"


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Boeing Aviation Hangar room at Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Heliostat, Solar, "Keith's American Heliostat"

Collection Item Summary:

Clock-spring driven heliostat designed to observe the sun or sun-related phenomena, or to bring solar radiation into a laboratory setting. The spring driven clockwork slowly rotates a mirror so as to project a steady image of the sun on a target such as a screen or telescope. It was obtained from the inventory of the machine shop of the original Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and so likely dates from the late 19th century. Marked as a Keith Heliostat. Object was restored, including reconstructed parts based upon a complete example in the NMAH collection. PR&S staff at the Garber Facility performed the restoration.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum


Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum


Credit Line

From shop inventory of the original Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Silver Hill Facility.


  • brass, glass
  • Fittings - brass


3-D: 12.7 x 27.9 x 30.5cm (5 x 11 x 12 in.)

Country of Origin

United States of America



Inventory Number


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