Gregory Gross

Timeline

All Timeline EntriesBiographical EventsBranding ChangesHistorical EventsMarketing DevelopmentsPatent and Trademark EventsProduct DevelopmentsQuestar Company Developments

1921

Russell Porter spurs the amateur telescope makers (ATM) movement with the publication of his article entitled “The Poor Man’s Telescope” in Popular Astronomy (November).[1] See details.

1925

Russell Porter meets Albert Ingalls, an editor at Scientific American magazine; their partnership propels the ATM movement.[2] See details.

1930

Bernhard Schmidt designs a camera with a spherical Newtonian mirror that was corrected by a thin aspheric corrector plate.[3] See details.

1940

Albert Bouwers begins experimenting with commercial meniscus lenses (August).[4] See details.

1944

Dmitri Maksutov’s article entitled “New Catadioptric Meniscus Systems” appears in the Journal of the Optical Society of America (May).[5] See details.

Joseph Roland Cumberland opens J. R. Cumberland Optical Company in Silver Spring, Maryland.[6] See details.

1946

Albert Bouwers publishes his book Achievements in Optics.[7] See details.

1950

The beginning of the Korean War causes further problems for the availability of materials and delays for the production of the Questar telescope (June 25).[8] See details.

1953

The Korean War ends, freeing materials that had been reserved for the war effort for use in the production of the Questar telesope (July 27).[9] See details.

1955

Photographic equipment developer Charles E. K. Mees acquires a Questar telescope, one that he willed to the University of Hawaii upon his death.[10] See details.

Tom Johnson establishes Valor Electronics, which would later morph into Celestron.[11] See details.

1956

The Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope design makes a prominent appearance at the Stellafane gathering in Vermont and spurs interest among amateur telescope makers (August).[12] See details.

1957

John Gregory publishes his milestone article “A Cassegrainian-Maksutov Telescope Design for the Amateur” in Sky and Telescope (March).[13] See details.

Dwight Eisenhower gives a Questar telescope to King Mohammed V of Morocco during a state visit to the United States (late November or early December 1957).[14] See details.

1958

Astronomer Alfred Mikesell and high-altitude balloonist Malcolm Ross ascend above the tropopause with a custom-built Questar telescope on board (May 6).[15] See details.

1959

A Questar telescope appears in a traveling exhibit entitled 20th Century Design: U.S.A., which was produced by the Albright Art Gallery of Buffalo, New York (April).[16] See details.

Rocket engineer and space exploration advocate Wernher von Braun acquires a Questar telescope (May).[17] See details.

1960

Film and stage actor Anthony Perkins acquires a quartz-mirrored Questar telescope (June).[18] See details.

Tom Johnson creates the “Astro-Optical” division within Valor Electronics.[19] See details.

1961

Television technology pioneers Vladimir K. Zworykin and L. E. Flory acquire a Questar telescope for use in a space vehicle (February).[20] See details.

1962

Tom Johnson displays his 18 3/4" Cassegrain telescope before members of the Los Angeles Astronomical Society (January).[21] See details.

Tom Johnson encounters Donald Willey’s article entitled “Cassegrain-Type Telescopes” in Sky and Telescope (April).[22] See details.

1963

Tom Johnson’s 18 3/4" Cassegrain telescope appears on the front cover of Sky and Telescope magazine (March).[23] See details.

1958 to 1963

Questar telescopes are used in the Mercury Program missions.[24] See details.

1964

Tom Johnson advertises his Celestronic 20 telescope in Sky and Telescope (January).[25] See details.

Novelist Arthur C. Clarke and filmmaker Stanley Kubrick meet for the first time after corresponding about Questar telescopes (April 22).[26] See details.

Industrial design critic Walter Dorwin Teague selects the Questar telescope as one of “The Twenty Best Industrial Designs Since World War II,” as an article that appeared in the Saturday Review was entitled (May 23).[27] See details.

The “Astro-Optical Division” part of Valor Electronics evolved into Celestron Pacific.[28] See details.

1965

A Questar telescope launches with Gemini 5 (August 21).[29] See details.

NASA flies an Aerobee 150 sounding rocket equipped with a spectroheliograph that included a Questar telescope to obtain images of the Sun (December 2).[30] See details.

Robert Little’s work is featured in the December 1965 issue of Scientific American (December).[31] See details.

1964 and 1965

John T. Jefferies and his colleagues at the University of Hawaii use Questar telescopes to evaluate sites for new observatories at Haleakala and Mauna Kea.[32] See details.

1966

Patrick Verdone describes how a Questar telescope was used to photograph the Sun at a near-ultraviolet wavelength in his paper entitled “A Telescope Suitable for Rocket-borne Instrumentation” (November).[33] See details.

A Questar telescope appears in the film Way... Way Out.[34] See details.

John Daveler forms Davro Instrument Corporation.[35] See details.

1967

Johnny Carson acquires a Questar telescope with a quartz primary mirror (June).[36] See details.

Jerome Grever demonstrates how a Questar telescope could be used with a television camera to display images of the Moon for broadcast (October).[37] See details.

Barry Goldwater acquires a Questar telescope.[38] See details.

1969

National Geographic features an article that mentions how one of its staff members used a Questar telescope to photograph the Moon as part of the publication’s lunar map project (February).[39] See details.

A Questar telescope launches with Apollo 9 (March 3).[40] See details.

NASA makes plans to include a Questar telescope as part of a planned Apollo 18 mission that was later cancelled (November).[41] See details.

Late 1960s

Tom Johnson meets with Marguerite Braymer, John Schneck, and Paul Schenkle to propose a merger between Celestron and Questar.[42] See details.

1970

Celestron introduces the Celestron 8 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope (June).[43] See details.

Donald Menzel and Jay Pasachoff do research involving the solar chromosphere using a Questar telescope.[44] See details.

1971

Milton Friedman acquires a Questar telescope.[45] See details.

1972

A Questar telescope appears in the film The Mechanic.[46] See details.

1973

A Questar appears in an article in Sky and Telescope entitled “Astronomy in Mongolia” (December).[47] See details.

1977

John Schneck and Robert Richardson form Optical Techniques Incorporated (April).[48] See details.

Optical Techniques Incorporated introduces the Quantum telescope to the market (September).[49] See details.

The Celestron C90 is introduced to the market (October).[50] See details.

1978

Optical Techniques Incorporated introduces the Quantum 100 telescope to the market (November).[51] See details.

1980

Optical Techniques Incorporated introduces instruments for special applications including the Model IR-100, the Model 18016-DP, the Model 15015-M, and the Model TVS-500 (March).[52] See details.

Optical Techniques Incorporated introduces the Quantum Eight telescope to the market (May).[53] See details.

1981

The Criterion Dynamax 4, a Questar lookalike, is introduced to the market (August).[54] See details.

Optical Techniques Incorporated ceases operations (October).[55] See details.

Davro Optical Systems begins doing business.[56] See details.

1984

A Questar telescope appears in the film Body Double.[57] See details.

1993

NASA uses a modified QM-1 long distance microscope to inspect and test the Wide Field Planetary Imaging Camera that was to be installed on the Hubble Space Telescope.[58] See details.

1996

An email-based Questar Users Group emerges (late 1996).[59] See details.

1997

Joseph Cumberland retires and leaves his company J.R. Cumberland Optical to his sons, Stephen and Dwight.[60] See details.

2000

A Questar Users Group starts on Yahoo! Groups (September 24).[61] See details.

2001

The Alt-Telescopes-Questar Majordomo mailing list moves to the Questar Users Group on Yahoo! Groups (February).[62] See details.

2003

A 3.5-inch Questar telescope helps capture images of the Space Shuttle Columbia shortly before its destruction (February 1).[63] See details.

The first discussion thread appears on the Questar forum on Cloudy Nights (April 24).[64] See details.

2007

A Questar telescope appears in the film Into the Wild.[65] See details.

2014

Planet Labs uses Questar optics for its fleet of tiny Dove satellites that could capture high-resolution images of the Earth.[66] See details.

2015

Longtime J.R. Cumberland Optical employees Robert Kautz and William Greening buy the company.[67] See details.

2018

Davro Optical Systems ceases operations.[68] See details.

2019

Yahoo! shuts down all Yahoo! Groups and forces the Questar Users Group to move to Groups.io (December 14). See details.

Notes

1 Russell Porter, “The Poor Man’s Telescope,” Popular Astronomy, November 1921, 527-536, http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1921PA.....29..527P, accessed December 17, 2020; Gary Leonard Cameron, “Public Skies: Telescopes and the Popularization of Astronomy in the Twentieth Century,” PhD diss., (Iowa State University, 2010), 195, https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/etd/11795/, accessed September 30, 2019.

2 Gary Leonard Cameron, “Public Skies: Telescopes and the Popularization of Astronomy in the Twentieth Century,” PhD diss., (Iowa State University, 2010), 195, https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/etd/11795/, accessed September 30, 2019.

3 James Mullaney, A Buyer’s and User’s Guide to Astronomical Telescopes & Binoculars (London: Springer, 2007), 47, https://books.google.com/books?id=hzpoQRh9QEQC&pg=PA46#v=onepage&q&f=false, accessed June 17, 2020.

4 Henry C. King, The History of the Telescope (Bucks, England: Charles Griffin & Company, 1955), 360, https://books.google.com/books?id=KAWwzHlDVksC&pg=PA360#v=onepage&q&f=false, accessed September 26, 2020.

5 D. D. Maksutov, “New Catadioptric Meniscus Systems,” Journal of the Optical Society of America 34, no. 5 (1944): 270-284.

6 J.R. Cumberland, Inc., home page, n.d., https://www.cumberlandoptical.com, accessed November 25, 2020.

7 Albert Bouwers, Achievements in Optics (New York: Elsevier, 1946).

8 Charles Shaw, “Larry Braymer: ‘In Quest of the Stars,’” New Hope Gazette, March 14, 1985, 3, 32, https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Questar/files/FAQ/, accessed October 15, 2019.

9 Charles Shaw, “Larry Braymer: ‘In Quest of the Stars,’” New Hope Gazette, March 14, 1985, 3, 32, https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Questar/files/FAQ/, accessed October 15, 2019.

10 Questar Corporation, advertisement, Sky and Telescope, April 1961, 223.

11 “Tom Johnson (astronomer),” Wikipedia, n.d., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Johnson_(astronomer), accessed February 22, 2021; Dennis di Cicco, “Tom Johnson, 1923-2012,” Sky and Telescope, March 13, 2012, https://skyandtelescope.org/astronomy-news/tom-johnson-19232012/, accessed August 14, 2020.

12 “Convention in Vermont,” Sky and Telescope, October 1956, 533; Gary Leonard Cameron, “Public Skies: Telescopes and the Popularization of Astronomy in the Twentieth Century,” PhD diss., (Iowa State University, 2010), 246-247, https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/etd/11795/, accessed September 30, 2019.

13 John Gregory, “A Cassegrainian-Maksutov Telescope Design for the Amateur,” Sky and Telescope, March 1957, 236-240.

14 “King Mohammed V, Back from His Visit, Lauds U.S. Leaders; U.S. Aid to Continue,” New York Times, December 16, 1957, https://www.nytimes.com/1957/12/16/archives/king-mohammed-v-back-from-his-visit-lauds-us-leaders-us-aid-to.html, accessed December 12, 2020; Questar Corporation, advertisement, Sky and Telescope, February 1958, 186.

15 “Space Explorers Rise Nearly 8 Miles in a Balloon; 2 in Balloon Soar to 40,000 Feet; Find Stars Don't Twinkle There,” New York Times, May 8, 1958, https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1958/05/08/83412955.pdf?pdf_redirect=true&ip=0, accessed July 4, 2020; Questar Corporation, advertisement, Sky and Telescope, July 1958, 463; Alfred Mikesell, “Observations of Stellar Scintillation from Moving Platforms,” Astronomical Journal 63 (1958): 309, http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1958AJ.....63R.308M, accessed July 2, 2020.

16 Questar Corporation, advertisement, Sky and Telescope, March 1959, 294.

17 Kennedy Space Center Amateur Astronomers, “The Story of Dr. Wernher von Braun’s Questar,” n.d., https://kscaa.space/vonbraunquestar, accessed September 30, 2019.

18 Questar Corporation, advertisement, Sky and Telescope, August 1960, 90.

19 Dennis di Cicco, “Tom Johnson, 1923-2012,” Sky and Telescope, March 13, 2012, https://skyandtelescope.org/astronomy-news/tom-johnson-19232012/, accessed August 14, 2020.

20 Questar Corporation, advertisement, Sky and Telescope, April 1961, 223.

21 Dennis di Cicco, “Tom Johnson, 1923-2012,” Sky and Telescope, March 13, 2012, https://skyandtelescope.org/astronomy-news/tom-johnson-19232012/, accessed August 14, 2020.

22 Dennis di Cicco, “Tom Johnson, 1923-2012,” Sky and Telescope, March 13, 2012, https://skyandtelescope.org/astronomy-news/tom-johnson-19232012/, accessed August 14, 2020.

23 Dennis di Cicco, “Tom Johnson, 1923-2012,” Sky and Telescope, March 13, 2012, https://skyandtelescope.org/astronomy-news/tom-johnson-19232012/, accessed August 14, 2020.

24 Charles Shaw, “Larry Braymer: ‘In Quest of the Stars,’” New Hope Gazette, March 14, 1985, 32, https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Questar/files/FAQ/, accessed October 15, 2019.

25 Celestron, advertisement, Sky and Telescope, January 1964, 61; Dennis di Cicco, “Tom Johnson, 1923-2012,” Sky and Telescope, March 13, 2012, https://skyandtelescope.org/astronomy-news/tom-johnson-19232012/, accessed August 14, 2020.

26 Michael Benson, Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2018), 42.

27 Walter Dorwin Teague, “The Twenty Best Industrial Designs Since World War II,” Saturday Review, May 23, 1964, 17, http://www.company7.com/library/questar/notes.html, accessed September 20, 2019.

28 Dennis di Cicco, “Tom Johnson, 1923-2012,” Sky and Telescope, March 13, 2012, https://skyandtelescope.org/astronomy-news/tom-johnson-19232012/, accessed August 14, 2020.

29 “Looking Sharp,” Newsweek, September 27, 1965, 88; Questar Corporation, advertisement, Sky and Telescope, October 1965, inside front cover; Questar Corporation, advertisement, Natural History, October 1965, 67; Questar Corporation, advertisement, Scientific American, October 1965, 122; P.W. Malik and G.A. Souris, McDonnell Douglas Corporation, Project Gemini: A Technical Summary, Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, June 1968, 297-301, https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19680016105.pdf, accessed December 23, 2019.

30 Significant Achievements in Space Science 1966 (Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1967), 392, https://books.google.com/books?id=F7UjOdoDS9UC&pg=PA392#v=onepage&q&f=false, accessed August 8, 2020.

31 C.L. Stong, “The Amateur Scientist,” Scientific American, December 1965, 106-113.

32 John T. Jefferies, “Astronomy in Hawaii, 1964-1970: Planning a Program in Solar Physics,” University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy, n.d., https://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/users/jefferies/Planning_a%20Program_in_Solar_Physics.htm, accessed July 9, 2020; John T. Jefferies, “Astronomy in Hawaii, 1964-1970: The Selection of Mauna Kea,” University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy, n.d., https://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/users/jefferies/The_Selection_of_Mauna_Kea.htm, accessed July 9, 2020.

33 Patrick H. Verdone, “A Telescope Suitable for Rocket Borne Instrumentation,” Greenbelt, Maryland: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, November 1966,  https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19670009591.pdf, accessed August 6, 2020; Questar Corporation, advertisement, Sky and Telescope, June 1967, inside front cover.

34 Way... Way Out, directed by Gordon Douglas (1966).

35 “Davro Instrument Corp,” Bloomberg, n.d., https://www.bloomberg.com/profile/company/0066652D:US, accessed February 21, 2021.

36 “Questar News and Developments Page,” Company Seven, n.d., http://www.company7.com/questar/news.html, accessed August 12, 2019.

37 Jerome L. Grever, “Want to Shoot the Moon?” RCA Broadcast News, March 1968, 18-23, https://www.americanradiohistory.com/ARCHIVE-RCA/RCA-Broadcast-News/RCA-138.pdf, accessed May 13, 2020.

38 Robert Howe, letter to the editor, National Review, May 5, 2008, 4.

39 David W. Cook, “How We Mapped the Moon,” National Geographic, February 1969, 242.

40 Associated Press, “Visibility Surprised the Apollo 9 Crew,” New York Times, March 17, 1969, 30, https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1969/03/17/issue.html, accessed December 20, 2019. Although this article does not explicitly identify the instrument on board the spacecraft, Rodger Gordon noted that it was indeed a Questar telescope (Rodger Gordon in discussion with the author, August 15, 2020). Company Seven also makes note of this (“Questar Long Distance Surveillance / Ultra Telephoto Lens Systems,” Company Seven, n.d., http://www.company7.com/questar/surveillance.html, accessed August 12, 2019).

41 National Aeronautics and Space Administration, “Apollo Lunar Exploration Missions (ALEM) Program and Mission Definition,” Houston: Advanced Missions Program Office, Manned Spacecraft Center, November 1, 1969, 3-9, 3-11, 3-13, 3-14, https://repository.hou.usra.edu/handle/20.500.11753/588, accessed March 19, 2020; David J. Shayler, Apollo: The Lost and Forgotten Missions (New York: Springer, 2002), 263, https://books.google.com/books?id=nL3lLGtc9mgC&pg=PA263#v=onepage&q&f=false, accessed June 17, 2020.

42 Rodger Gordon in discussion with the author, October 6, 2020.

43 Celestron, advertisement, Sky and Telescope, June 1970, 385.

44 Solar Eclipse 1970 Bulletin: F (Final Bulletin) Program for Observations of the Total Solar Eclipse, March 7, 1970 (Washington, D.C.: National Science Foundation, 1970), 141, https://books.google.com/books?id=uKhuLkgkBB0C&pg=PA141&lpg=PA141#v=onepage&q&f=false, accessed October 1, 2020.

45 Marylin Bender, “Chicago School Goes to the Head of Class,” New York Times, May 23, 1971, 3, https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1971/05/23/issue.html, accessed October 8, 2019.

46 The Mechanic, directed by Michael Winner (1972).

47 Krzysztof Ziolkowski, “Astronomy in Mongolia,” Sky and Telescope, December 1973.

48 Rodger Gordon, “The O.T.I. Experience,” Gemini: A Publication of the Minnesota Astronomical Society, December 1983, 1, http://forums.mnastro.org/gemini/files/gemini_198312.pdf, accessed August 3, 2020.

49 Optical Techniques Incorporated, advertisement, Sky and Telescope, September 1977, 197.

50 Celestron, advertisement, Sky and Telescope, October 1977, outside back cover.

51 Optical Techniques Incorporated, advertisement, Sky and Telescope, November 1978, 478.

52 Optical Techniques Incorporated, advertisement, Sky and Telescope, March 1980, 231.

53 Optical Techniques Incorporated, advertisement, Sky and Telescope, May 1980, 391.

54 Criterion, advertisement, Sky and Telescope, August 1981, 183; Criterion, advertisement, Astronomy, August 1981, inside back cover.

55 Rodger Gordon, “The O.T.I. Experience,” Gemini: A Publication of the Minnesota Astronomical Society, December 1983, 2, http://forums.mnastro.org/gemini/files/gemini_198312.pdf, accessed August 3, 2020.

56 “Company History,” Davro Optical Systems, n.d., http://www.davrooptical.com/#HISTORY, accessed August 14, 2020.

57 Body Double, directed by Brian De Palma (1984).

58 “How to Choose Your Questar 3-½ Astronomical Telescope,” Company Seven, n.d., http://www.company7.com/library/questar/queintro.html, accessed December 20, 2019; “Recollections of the NASA STS-61 First Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission,” Company Seven, n.d., http://www.company7.com/c7news/nasa_sts61.html, accessed December 20, 2019.

59 Stewart Squires, email message to author, November 10, 2020.

60 J.R. Cumberland, Inc., home page, n.d., https://www.cumberlandoptical.com/, accessed November 25, 2020.

61 Online forum posting, Questar Users Group, September 24, 2000, https://groups.io/g/Questar/topic/saturn_edgewise_photo/48845160, accessed April 6, 2021.

62 Stewart Squires, email message to author, November 10, 2020.

63 Matthew L. Wald with Andrew C. Revkin, “Loss of the Shuttle: The Inquiry; Scientists Suspect a Wider Field of Debris, With the Breakup Starting Over California,” New York Times, February 8, 2003, 23, https://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/05/us/loss-shuttle-inquiry-scientists-suspect-wider-field-debris-with-breakup-starting.html, accessed June 16, 2020; George Johnson, “Loss of the Shuttle: Photographic Evidence; From Earth, Special Photos Of Columbia,” New York Times, February 8, 2003, 13, https://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/08/us/loss-of-the-shuttle-photographic-evidence-from-earth-special-photos-of-columbia.html, accessed June 16, 2020; John Fleck, “Tiny Telescope Took Critical Shot of Shuttle,” Albuquerque Journal, February 13, 2003, A1, https://www.abqjournal.com/scitech/shuttle/833266news02-13-03.htm, accessed March 5, 2020.

64 Online forum posting, Cloudy Nights, April 24, 2003, https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/530-eyepieces-that-come-to-focus-with-finder/, accessed April 4, 2021.

65 Into the Wild, directed by Sean Penn (2007).

66 Mike Wall, “First ‘Cubesats’ in Record-Breaking Fleet Launched from Space Station,” Space.com, February 11, 2014, https://www.space.com/24651-cubesats-launch-space-station-planet-labs.html, accessed October 10, 2020; “Cute Little CubeSats,” Red Chair Blogs, May 1, 2015, https://www.redchairblogs.com/starstruck/2015/05/01/cute-little-cubesats/, accessed April 9, 2021.

67 J.R. Cumberland, Inc., home page, n.d., https://www.cumberlandoptical.com/, accessed November 25, 2020.

68 Rodger Gordon to the author, September 23, 2020.