Image of the Moon taken during the Lunar Mapping Project at
SRO as described below. Over 13,400 high resolution images were taken on
35mm and 70mm motion picture stock. The camera and film were supplied
to SRO by Lockheed-California Company and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for this project.
- Up to this point in the history
of Stony Ridge Observatory (SRO), the observatory was built
and financed solely on the backs, and from the wallets, of the
original 15 members of the Association
of Amateur Astronomers (AAA), as SRO was known in those early
years. At the many design/construction meetings held in the
members' homes, exactly how they would continue
to finance such an undertaking was always at the top of the
agenda. The family burden must have been extraordinary.
a certain point during the SRO construction, the successful
completion of the observatory seemed in jeopardy, available
funds were quickly drying up.
SRO milestone occurred during the era when the United States
was approaching one of its own milestones, the preparation of
a spacecraft mission with the goal of, in the words of President
Kennedy, "landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely
to the Earth."
Lockheed-California Company had signed a contract with the Aeronautical
Charts and Information Center (ACIC) in St. Louis (a section
run by the United States Air Force), by which an agreement was
made that Lockheed would supply high-resolution images of the
lunar surface to the ACIC for the production of lunar charts that would be used in determining possible landing sites on
the Moon for the Apollo astronauts.
then faced a dilemma of its own, where could they find a large
amount of telescope time at an observatory to fulfill their
contract with the ACIC?
that time, three AAA/SRO members, George
Carroll, Norrie Roberts and Chuck Buzzetti worked at Lockheed-California.
Presumably, through these employee contacts, Lockheed became
aware of the nearly completed Stony Ridge Observatory.
and Lockheed entered into a contractual
agreement, by which Lockheed would pay SRO for its power
and telephone installation costs, plus an amount for 1600 hours
of observing time on the new 30-inch
telescope, over a period of 4 years. Some of the payment
from Lockheed would be paid upfront, so that the construction
at SRO could be completed. The contribution from Lockheed, over
the 4 years of the Lunar Mapping Project, totaled close to $21K.
the freshly completed observatory commenced its Lunar Mapping
Project officially on February 1, 1964.
Start: Feb 1, 1964
Project End: Aug 1, 1967
SRO provision: 1600 hours of telescope time provided
by SRO observers, John Sousa, Easy Sloman, Roy Ensign and Norrie
Roberts; assisting the Lockheed P.I.s, Larry Stoddard and Don
Project results: Publication of (at least) 8 high-resolution,
shadowed topography, lunar surface charts by the Aeronautical
Charts and Information Center, of which Stony Ridge observations
were credited. (SRO credit is in the Portrayal section
on this example
- 2.3MB jpg chart of the Cleomedes region of the Moon.)
20, 1969, the United States successfully landed Neil Armstrong
on the lunar surface and returned him, along with "Buzz"
Aldrin and Michael Collins, safely to the Earth on July 24,
We of the present-day Stony Ridge Observatory will always look
back, with pride and reverence, to our founders for their contribution
to the success of the Apollo missions and to the United
States of America.