About Phil Scovell And The Zenith Tube Website

               Thanks for trying out the Zenith Tube.

               Before  explaining why I have picked  this unusual title for
          my website, let me give you a little background.

               The  real Zenith Tube's  official title is  the Photographic
          Zenith  Tube  or   PZT  for  short.    It  is  a  fixed  vertical
          astronomical TELESCOPE used  for the determination  of  TIME  and
          latitude by  the observation of  transits of stars  crossing near
          the zenith  of the sky.   It is  a horizontal lens, mounted  on a
          reversible frame, which  reflects an image off a  pool of mercury
          and on to a photographic  plate mounted face down on  a carriage.
          A quartz clock  mechanism drives the carriage during  exposure to
          compensate for the Earth's rotation.   At each star transit, four
          exposures are recorded through two complete rotations.  North and
          south  displacements between image  pairs of  the same  star give
          latitude,  and east  and  west  displacements  give the  time  of

               The largest Zenith Tube is at the  U S  Naval Observatory in
          Washington DC.   It has a lens  diameter of 26 inches.  Others in
          operation are typically 6 inches in diameter.

               Before explaining what  the Zenith Tube has to  do with this
          website, let me tell you a little about myself.

               I have been totally blind since November of 1964 when  I was
          twelve years young.   I don't use any of  the politically correct
          terms  such  as  visually challenged,  physically  challenged, or
          sensory challenged  to describe  myself.   Furthermore, I  detest
          visually handicapped,  visually impaired, visually  disabled, and
          especially  sightless,  or  any other  such  titles,  labels, and
          nomenclatures.    I am  totally  blind,  however, and  saying  so
          doesn't bother me nor should it you.

               I have been married to the  same woman since January of 1972
          and she just so  happens to be  totally blind as  well.  We  have
          three children, all see  normally, all three are  grown, married,
          and  raising  their  own kids.  We  have  eight grandchildren and
          they all see  normally, too.  So  much for the theory  that blind
          couples produce blind offspring.

               My  wife has been  a medical transcriptionist  for more than
          thirty years.  I  am self employed and have a  small ministry out
          of my home which you can read about elsewhere on the website.  We
          both depend upon our talking computers for a living.  We  live on
          what we earn, pay taxes, and mind our own business.

               For hobbies, I've been a ham operator since 1966 and I enjoy
          writing.  You can read my autobiography and other works elsewhere
          on this website.

               concerning personal beliefs, I am a born again Christian and
          have been in church related ministries, some even full time, most
          of my  adult life.  I'm sorry if that  offends you but it's who I

               Now, what  does all of this have to  do with the Zenith Tube
          in  Washington DC?   Well,  I  first became  acquainted with  the
          Zenith tube  a  number  of years  ago  while reading  a  book  on
          astronomy.  The nature, or purpose, of the PZT is what  caught my
          attention.   It  always  points to  the stars  and  is fixed,  or
          focused if you will, on the  sky.  Both as a Christian, and  as a
          blind person,  my goals are heavenly, sort of  speak.  That is, I
          aim high and attempt to remain focused on what's important.  As a
          blind  person, if  I aim other  than high, distant,  or beyond, I
          will wind up  settling for  a lot less  than the average  person.
          Why?  It takes a lot more focused ambition, in my humble opinion,
          for a blind person to make  it successfully in life.  Some  blind
          people even may differ with me on this philosophy but the results
          are what really count.

               As  a Christian,  I  likewise  want to  point  in the  right
          direction and that's up.  If you want more information than that,
          you'll have to  ask, but my spiritual goals  are Biblically based
          and I am not  ashamed of what  I believe or who  I am in  Christ.
          Don't worry; Christianity is only one part of this website.

               So why  the Zenith Tube.   The ZT challenges me  to remained
          fixed and  focused.   It reminds  me I  need to  be aiming  high,
          always  pointed in  the right  direction, and monitoring  my life
          with  precision and  dedication  and with  the  proper amount  of
          magnification on the right things.  I want to help others achieve
          what they deserve and the best way of doing that is for all of us
          to stay pointed at the stars.

               Please take time to look around the Zenith Tube website.   I
          think it speaks for itself.


          Be nice to everybody because everybody is having a tough time.

          Phil Scovell
          Denver, Colorado USA
Send Email To Phil Scovell Zenith Tube Observatories to visit