About 2

The idea of this site is to provide a resource for anyone with a an interest in Baker-Nunn cameras, their history, and their future. Fifteen of these wonderful instruments were originally built by Boller & Chivens in the late 1950′s for the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (12 cameras) and the US Air Force (3 cameras). Their optical design was, even by todays standards, pretty incredible. A very fast f/1 with a 20″ aperture that could image a 5×30 degree swath of sky! Mechanically, they were/are complex but they provided an elegant solution to one of the problems of the day.


  • Aperture – 20″
  • Focal Ratio – f/1
  • Optical Design – Modified Schmidt with 3-element corrector
  • Corrector – 3-element with 4 aspherical surfaces
  • Primary Mirror – 31″ spherical
  • Focal Surface – Aspherical
  • Image Quality – 80% energy within a 30um spot
  • Mount (SAO) – 3-axis (alt-alt-az)
  • Mount (USAF) – 3-axis with option to tilt base to equatorial position
  • Number Built – 12 for the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and 3 for the US Air Force
  • Number of Stations – ca. 30

2 thoughts on “About

  1. Tina Jul 21, 2013 14:30

    Cool site!

  2. Matteo Aug 3, 2013 20:36

    Very nice idea. Just added you to my blog roll. Looking forward to some more articles and photos.

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