The Other Photographer

– by Don Ecsedy, May 2012

An earlier version was posted on 10/12/10 to the UFO Iconoclasts blog, and revised on foreshadower, 07/20/11. These earlier versions can be found on the web, copied by various websites. The version here on foreshadower is the up-to-date one.


From the May 1948 report:

"5. Lt Colonel James C. Beam and Mr. Alfred C. Loedding proceeded to Phoenix, Ariz. to interview Mr. [William A. Rhodes] and follow up on the report and photographs submitted by him some months ago..."

"6. Mr. [Rhodes] also mentioned having seen a series of photographs taken by another civilian in Phoenix, Ariz. on approximately the same day. He promised to investigate this phase and to forward a set of these photographs to this headquarters if they are available. Mr. [Rhodes] permitted the ordinary box type camera with which he took his pictures to be brought to Wight-Patterson Air Force Base for examination.

JAMES C. BEAM, Lt Colonel USAF, Project Officer

Following this, Mr Rhodes wrote (undated) under the "Panoramic Research Laboratory and Observatory" return address, to H. M. McCoy, Colonel, USAF, Chief of Intelligence, the following:

"Dear Sir,

Since I talked with Lt Col Beam and Mr Loedding I have been trying to run down additional photographs of the unidentified object.

Mr Lewis Larmore of this city has some in his possession and I believe you can obtain copies of them by writing him. Whether or not they are real I do not know. Some of them look faked while others do not.

Lewis Larmore Who's Who Entry

He is listed as a co-author with Donald H Menzel: Instrumentation in Astronomy II: Seminar-in-Depth, March 4-6, 1974, Tucson, Arizona

But what about Phoenix, 1947?

Dr Larmore's Who's Who entry answers with this:

asst. prof. physics, Ariz. State U., Tempe, 1947 - 1949

In a 1983 interview, Dr Walters Robert, one time student of Dr Menzel, said:

"Menzel had been to France in 1935, and had seen Lyot's coronagraph, and he wanted to build one. He's a Colorado boy and he wanted to put it on a high mountain in Colorado, and I got really inspired by this idea."

However, Dr. Menzel's original proposal was for an electronic version that would subtract light contamination electronically. His funded project, installed near the Harvard campus, produced few results and by 1937, with funding running out. He decided to return to Lyot's concept and began to search for a high-altitude site, similar to Lyot's, in Colorado. Government support for the project ceased in 1939 and Dr Menzel gave the remnants of the project to his student Walter Roberts. Dr Menzel continued to solicit support as he could find it and in 1941, the first photo of the corona was captured. By this time, WWII was underway, and Dr Menzel secured funding for the Climax Coronagraph project from the National Defense Research Committee, as intelligence sources had reported Germany was working on a similar project.

Walter Roberts and the Coronagraph Project

In the 1983 interview, Dr Roberts was asked:

"Did you have any choice as to who would be the assistants?"

He replied:

"The local ones, yes. I chose them. But the Navy lieutenant was just assigned by the Navy. He was interested in astronomy and he got a doctorate in astronomy later."

"Who was that?"

"Louis [sic] Larmore, and he is to this day a friend of mine and interested in solar astronomy. He works now as a civilian at the ONR in California."...which is something of an understatement...

...and a mention later in the interview.

"No, that wasn't a common arrangement. The only arrangements like that were Lewis Larmore, a Navy lieutenant during the war...

In Vol.120,No.1 of the Annals of Harvard College Observatory in a paper by Lewis Larmore, the asterisk beside his name leads to the footnote:

* "Lt. USNR, stationed at Fremont Pass Station of Harvard College Observatory at Climax, Colorado by the U.S. Navy during parts of 1944, 1945, and 1946."

The following year, according to Lewis Larmore's cv in Who's Who, he became an Assistant Professor of Physics at Arizona State University (then 'college') at Tempe, Arizona, a short commute from Phoenix.

Larmore and Menzel appear to have had a lifelong, at least, professional relationship.

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