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 Victorian telescopes.

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PostSubject: Victorian telescopes.    Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:14 am

I was looking at some old Victorian telescopes today. I use one to look down the high street. (Not that impressed) But it dawn that Milne must of used one similar. Which suggests to me that he would not have got a very good view of Isandlwana, The standard magnification in those days was only about 4X, which is ok for bird watching in your back garden. I’m no expert on telescopes, but the guy who was selling them seemed to be. And also the glass used was not tinted so the glare from the Sun (If the sun was in the direction Milne was looking would have been near impossible to see anything of Isandlwana.

Just a few question’s for clarification.

1)How far was Milne from Isandlwana?
2)Would the sun have been behind him, or in front or other?
3)Would there have been ground mist, haziness?
4)Was Isandlwana visable with the naked eye from the location used by Milne.

My take on how he saw Isandlwana on that day. Idea

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PostSubject: Re: Victorian telescopes.    Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:30 am

John. This relating to Milne court of Inquiry

"Lieutenant Milne, R.N., A.D.C., shortly after this descended a hill on our left, whence he had been on the look-out with a telescope. All the news he gave regarding the camp was that the cattle had been driven into camp. I believe this to have been nearly 11 A.M"

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PostSubject: victorian telescopes   Fri Aug 13, 2010 5:06 am

hi john.
This is from Ian Knights ' Zulu - Isandlwana & Rorkes Drift 22-23 January 1879 '
Chelmsford sent Lt. Milne and Capt. W. Penn Symons of the 24th up a hill on the left to look at the camp through
their glasses , Reported Milne .... ' On reaching the summit I could see the camp ; all the cattle had been driven in close
around the tents , I could see nothing of the enemy on the left . The main body of the enemy who had been on our front all
morning , were now assembled at the foot of Siphezi Hill , watching the movements of the mounted infantry , who were scouring
the plain some short distance off , but on their apprach they all retreated to the table - land on top of the ( Siphezi ) mountain.
I also saw small clusters of the enemy on every hill top around us , observing our movements . Distinct firing was heard at small
intervals in the direction of the mounted police ' .
Ian Knight continues ........ Exactly how much could Milne have seen from his position ? , Isandlwana is clearly visible 12 miles away
across the plain from Mangeni , and at a quick glance it seems improbable that anyone with a good glass could have missed signs
of a battle taking place at its foot . Yet the mountain itself IS BELOW THE SKYLINE , and the distant hills of Natal beyond camouflage
its outline , while any mist or heat haze would obscure objects at its foot . The white blur of the tents would probably have been clear
enough ; for the rest , Milne would have had to interpret a few dark smudges according to whatever circumstances he thought most
likely . Since no member of the staff expected anything unusual to be taking place at the camp , Milne assumed that the dark patches near the tents were cattle . He was later forced to admit that he may have been wrong in that judgement .
On page 49 of this book is a photo taken to the left of the Milne position , on the nek between Hlazakazi and Mdutshane , where a
number of officers looked back toward the camp . The photo was taken with a 200mm telephoto lens to simulate the effect of a telescope , Ian goes on to say , ' Although the outline of Isandlwana is dimly visible below the horizon it is impossible to discern any
detail of what lies at its base ' . Hope this helps .
cheers 90th.

ps. I forgot to mention , there could have been haziness but more likely the white smoke from the firing would have made it difficult
to see , but as the foot of Isandlwana cant be seen from this position the smoke mightnt have been seen . Milne wasnt looking directly
into the sun , but it was in his front .

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PostSubject: Re: Victorian telescopes.    Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:43 pm

I would agree with 90th.
In "Then and Now" there is a photo taken from the excat position using a telephoto lense. Its very hazy, and the timing would mean that the sun had started to sink down into the west, so it would have made the haze worse. Its also a good point about the smoke.
Milne however did say the tents had not been struck, how he could see that I have no idea.

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PostSubject: Re: Victorian telescopes.    Sat Aug 14, 2010 12:06 am

But surly, if it was smoke then it would have been very clear, that somthing was happening. There's no smoke without fire.
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PostSubject: victorian telescopes   Sat Aug 14, 2010 1:25 am

hi littlehand.
You must remember that you cant see the foot of Isandlwana hill from where Milne was looking , so therefore
the smoke would have risen and dissipated and would have taken on the appearance of haziness . Also the
telescopes were of dubious quality to see clearly from 12 miles away . Idea
cheers 90th.
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