The 18-inch Schmidt Telescope

In 1936 the 18-inch Schmidt became the first operational telescope at the Palomar Observatory. It has been used for a wide variety of observational projects including the first surveys for supernovae begun by Fritz Zwicky in the 1930s.

The 18-inch Schmidt has also been used to look for comets and asteroids.  Nearly 50 comets have been discovered using this telescope. The most famous of which was comet Shoemaker-Levy 9. It was discovered by Eugene Shoemaker, Carolyn Shoemaker and David Levy in March, 1993. In July, 1994 fragments of the comet collided with the planet Jupiter.

The old 18-inch Schmidt telescope is no longer used for scientific research, but there are plans in the works to put it on public display.

Photos of the 18-inch Schmidt Telescope

Eleanor Helin's Career & Asteroid Searches from Women In Technology

5391 Emmons the story of how an asteroid discovered at Palomar by Eleanor Helin got its name.

NASA's Comet Shoemaker-Levy/9  Home Page

Choose one of the telescopes listed on the right to see images and learn more about another of  the Palomar Observatory's Telescopes.