[Big Ear Masthead]
[Aerial Photo of Big Ear]

The James Arthur Photo Collection in High Resolution
Black & White Photos of the Big Ear Radio Telescope
(taken in the summer of 1980)


The color photo above shows an aerial view of the famous Big Ear radio telescope. [Note that this telescope was destroyed by land developers in 1998.]

Below are shown medium resolution JPEG photos of the 33 photos that were scanned. For the first 31 photos they are arranged in the same order as in the slide show, and the original sequence numbers and captions are used. The additional 2 photos are placed at the end with captions added. A higher-resolution version for each photo is available by clicking the corresponding photo on this webpage.

James Arthur has provided two statements about his recollections of the Big Ear radio telescope (used with his permission), as follows;

Statement 1: Recollections of Big Ear

"When I was taking pictures of Big Ear, I remember having the feeling that I was on sacred ground. The telescope that I was standing on had reached out billions of light years into the sky and connected our little speck of earth to the rest of the universe. I was fascinated by the geometric patterns made by the screens and steel support structures and the grove of trees that lined the entrance to the telescope like arches to a cathedral. It was a place that generated mystery at the same time it unraveled mystery. It was a place that was making history. It was like being allowed to take a peek through Galileo's telescope when he discovered the moons of Jupiter. It was so much more than the wire and steel — Big Ear embodied man's search for knowledge and meaning in the world surrounding him. Standing there you got the same type of feeling of timelessness that you get when you are at Stonehenge, where they were first predicting the movements of the stars and sun."

James S. Arthur
January 26, 2006

Statement 2: James Arthur's Introduction to Dr. John Kraus and the Big Ear
(from an e-mail by James Arthur to Dr. John Kraus, Jr., eldest son of the late Dr. John D. Kraus)

I don't remember exactly where I found a copy of Cosmic Search magazine, whether it was on a shelf or I had seen an ad and ordered a subscription. I read it from cover to cover and was immediately struck with the importance of the science that your father [i.e., Dr. John Kraus, Jr.'s father: Dr. John D. Kraus] was doing.

Although I was in Art school at the time, I always had an interest in Science and Astronomy since I was very young and had taken many Science courses at Indiana University. My mother was a high school Biology teacher. I had actually started taking art classes at the recommendation of my Developmental Anatomy prof, who was impressed with the illustrations in my class notebook. I ended up taking a few art courses at night. These were the first art classes I had ever taken, and I liked them enough to change my major. Photography was a part of the curriculum.

I noticed that Cosmic Search magazine could use some help with its illustrations and wrote to your father asking to volunteer to illustrate for the magazine for free. He responded positively and since Ohio wasn't that far from Indiana, I took a trip there in my car to see the telescope and meet your father. He was very gracious and gave me a complete tour of the telescope. I also met a Dr. Dixon. It was during this visit that I took the photographs and I think it must have been in the early summer of 1980.

We worked out an arrangement where he would mail me descriptions of the illustration he wanted and I would mail the finished illustrations back to him. I was very happy to be associated in some small way with the efforts of your father. I do remember being very inspired by my visit there. To me, it was the most exciting research being done on the planet. Meeting your father and seeing the telescope was a great adventure for me.

James S. Arthur
January 16, 2006

Jerry Ehman, Webpage Editor

The 33 Photos

Note. Click each photo to obtain a higher resolution version.

Photo 1
1: Flat Reflector

Photo 2
2: Parabolic Reflector

Photo 3
3: The Road In, Through the Pines

Photo 4
4: The Hill Under the Flat Reflector

Photo 5
5: Tree Tops Over Big Ear

Photo 6
6: Ferris Wheels on Flat Reflector

Photo 7
7: Terrestrial Life Form on Ground Plane

Photo 8
8: Parabola Close-Up

Photo 9
9: Looking Up At Ferris Wheel

Photo 10
10: Parabola Support Framework

Photo 11
11: Close-Up of Reflector Screen

Photo 12
12: Behind the Parabola

Photo 13
13: Pine Trees at Big Ear

Photo 14
14: Parabola Framework

Photo 15
15: Supports Under Flat Reflector

Photo 16
16: Parabola Framework - Another View

Photo 17
17: Parabola Framework - View 3

Photo 18
18: Hill Under Flat Reflector

Photo 19
19: Looking Up Parabolic Reflector

Photo 20
20: Welded Plate Behind Flat Reflector

Photo 21
21: Interesting Mesh Patterns

Photo 22
22: Interesting Mesh Patterns 2

Photo 23
23: Parabola, From Across Ground Plane

Photo 24
24: Parabola, Looking Up

Photo 25
25: Ladder On Flat Reflector

Photo 26
26: View Through the Mesh

Photo 27
27: The Walk Under Flat Reflector

Photo 28
28: Supports Behind Parabola

Photo 29
29: Supports Behind Parabola 2

Photo 30
30: Ferris Wheels Behind Flat

Photo 31
31: Behind Flat Reflector

Photo 32
Extra 1: Parabola Framework - View 4

Photo 33
Extra 2: Ferris Wheel Behind Flat Reflector - Another View


Copyright © 1996-2006 Ohio State University Radio Observatory and North American AstroPhysical Observatory.
Designed by Jerry Ehman.
Last modified: March 13, 2006.