The Natal (Brazil) BNC

The Brazilian camera, for me, has always been a bit of an enigma. I knew that one existed but wasn’t sure of it’s history nor what had happened to it. The rumour that I had heard was that it was last seen rotting away on a dock somewhere. Although it seemed shocking, it turned out that it wasn’t too far from the truth.

After returning from a collimation weekend on the Spanish TFRM, I found myself (as usual) digging around the web for new information on Baker-Nunn cameras. To my surprise, I found that there was a lot of good info out there that I had never seen before. I became excited by this and found myself googling into the wee hours of the morning. My daughter obviously noticed my excitement, which must have been contagious, because she came to me one morning with some images that I hadn’t seen before. The one that shocked me the most showed a very rusty Baker-Nunn camera. A few clicks and we found this site,

Projeto Baker-Nunn (1967)

Although it starts off looking okay (the picture at the top is actually the Japanese BNC), scrolling down to the bottom of the page reveals a quite unserviceable example of a Baker-Nunn camera.

The serial number of 2474-9 confirms that this camera was originally stationed at Curacao before being moved to Natal in 1967. It operated for about 10 years before being taken out of service. In 2011, it was moved to the Center for Culture and Tourist Information where it is currently on display.