Microscope, Astronomical, Stereo Blink

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    Microscope, Astronomical, Stereo Blink

    Black metal box-like frame with electrical wiring and optical components. Originally mounted on a wooden table (discarded).

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Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

This is a blink stereo comparator microscope manufactured about 1960 by the C. Ridell Company of Williams Bay, Wisconsin for the U. S. Naval Observatory. It is typical of a class of discovery devices used in photographic astronomy from the late 19th through the 20th centuries to detect variable stars and asteroids, and high-proper motion stars. Two photographs of the same part of the sky were placed side by side in parallel microscopes that through a set of mirrors combined the two images, allowing the observer to switch rapidly between the two aligned scenes. Anything in the field of view that changes becomes visible through a shifting or pulsating image. In this design, the usual viewing eyepiece has been replaced with a system that projects images of the plates onto a circular screen. This reduced the fatigue of this tedious operation, which sometimes could take decades. It was transferred to NASM by the U S Naval Observatory in 1996.