Home » Telescopes “on the road”: the history of Shelley Stoody

Telescopes “on the road”: the history of Shelley Stoody



It seems to be crazy how a car with a telescope on his sunshine roof can stop to make people cross the road, but in California a foolish little thing like this is possible. The trend of the “telescope on the road” was introduced by a certain Shelley Stoody, multimillionaire founder of the Stoody Company: an enterprise specialized in the production and welding of metals. The telescope is a refractor of 9.5 inches and 13 length, provided of a searcher and a binocular turret that makes possible the observation with both eyes. The instrument was firstly asked to Zeiss (Germany) to make a personal use and then it was build on a Fordv8 (model of 1932) of Ed Turner, a friend expected to promote and spread this innovation among the followers and the astrophilies of California. The project has cost about seven thousand dollars.

Today we had a few information, quite fragmented and opposite between them about this incredible story but some historic documents shed light on this question such as ” Popular astronomy” , the local paper ” The advance news” and many lovers and divulgative websites like Cloudynights and Astronomer.proboards.com. The original idea to follow the stars everywhere is not demode but it has spread pell mell and it’s used by the astrophiles all over the world because it is considered the best and practical way to transport big tail refractors.


In this picture of September 2003 we can see a telescope mounted on the top of a Volvo in occasion of the Mars closet party. The picture, was shot at the Museum Autry of Western Heritage in Los Angeles but there’s no mension about the owner of the telescopic car.



Browsing on web, you can find curious and bizarre pictures like this. It would seen the brilliant idea of Stoody has reached lots of followers like these friends on motorbike. The pic, that you can find typing  “2 people 3 scopes and a bike”, was published by the website www.teleporttelescopes.com (currently disabled). There aren’t information related to their identity or about the type of installation on the vehicle.



Installated on bicycles or better tricycles to ensure more stability and provided with a  laser punter that operates in long distances, the pop up telescopes parade among the roads of Xian in the warm summer nights. The pic of July 2010 has been published on the blog deconcrete.org  and shows Chinese pedestrians enjoying the Moon, planets, stars and celestial phenomena at the only price of 7 yiuan (1 euro). Unluckily there are no information about the authors of this project.

Header image credits: freescruz.com