Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Meet the GODO Telescopes: 8” Moonraker Victorian Refractor - Lowell Observatory

Meet the GODO Telescopes: 8” Moonraker Victorian Refractor

Meet the GODO Telescopes: 8” Moonraker Victorian Refractor

Written in collaboration with Claire Gibson & Hailey Osborn, Lowell Educators

Each of the Giovale Open Deck Observatory (GODO)’s six state-of-the-art telescopes were hand-selected to provide a breathtaking stargazing experience that is unrivaled by any other public observatory in the continental United States. In this blog series, we’ll be taking a deep dive into what makes each of the GODO telescopes the best of their kind.


Beauty and Brains

The 8” Moonraker Victorian Refractor is a stunning sight by day, and a treat to look through at night. A blend of Victorian styling and modern technology, its red and chrome Steampunk design echoes that of our 1896 24” Clark Refractor. Though its vivid coloring and pleasing design often make it a favorite among visitors, this telescope was built to offer much more than good looks.

Like the Clark, the Moonraker uses a superb two-lens design that results in outstanding, high-powered views of celestial objects. Planets like Mars, Jupiter and Saturn can be seen in crisp detail and color. Distant globular star clusters are resolved to their cores, giving them a three-dimensional effect. True to its name, the Moonraker is also an ideal instrument for observing the surface of the Moon, down to the structure of its craters.

The telescope is mounted on an articulating pier, which allows the height to be easily and quickly adjusted to allow comfortable viewing for all guests.

Telescope Specs


ManufacturerMoonraker Telescopes
ModelCustom build with doublet (achromatic) lens
Aperture203 mm (8 in)
Focal Length2436 mm
Focal Ratiof/12
MountAstro-Physics 1600 GTO

About the Manufacturer: Moonraker Telescopes

Moonraker Telescopes was founded by lifelong astronomy enthusiast Mark Turner in 2012. Today, the company works with international film, media, and publishing companies to create unique working telescopes and tripods. One of Moonraker’s telescopes appeared in Netflix’s Altered Carbon series (2018). If their presence in television in film wasn’t impressive enough, Moonraker also created a custom personal telescope for actor Tom Cruise that is plated in gold.

Each Moonraker telescope is built in-house in Middlesex, England. Every step in the design and manufacturing processes is completed by hand, giving the completed telescope a unique design, look, and quality.
Moonraker was the first telescope manufacturing company to use polished metal finishes, like gold and brass. Aesthetics are taken into account in every aspect of the telescope, including in its lens cap — the lip of the cap is given a contrasting color to that of the telescope itself, perfectly finishing off its design.

Each telescope is created differently in order to reflect the unique interest of the astronomer or observatory. The company certainly does not believe in a “one fits all” mentality!


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