This year we received a phone call from Jeff Bennett with some questions about his new TV-NP127is scope. He’d only been using it since the fall of 2017 but was very enthusiastic and told us he’d tried other scopes, but the NP127is was the best he’d ever used. We viewed his astrobin.com page and we were impressed with his initial results. So, we asked him to tell us why he chose the NP127is for astro imaging and he told us in his own words.
Tele Vue President David Nagler recently received a “first-light” report from the very-first Tele Vue Bandmate Type 2 Nebustar filter owner. He purchased the filter at the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) this year where the filters were introduced. It turns out the gentleman has a long history with Tele Vue products, is a yearly attendee (like Tele Vue founder Al Nagler) at the Stellafane amateur telescope makers convention — and he even coined the moniker “Uncle Al” while at Stellafane. Read on!
At the end of this month, on July 27th, Mars will be in opposition and reach its greatest angular diameter — 24.3-arc-seconds — for the year. This is the best opposition since 2003. It’ll be greater than 21-arc-seconds tonight and well worth observing. For an explanation as to why some oppositions are better, what to expect from this year’s event, and accessories to better view and image Mars, see our blog post: Mars Opposition 2018 Preview.
Saturn is in opposition tonight: it glides above the horizon around sunset and will be over 18-arc-seconds in diameter for a few weeks. At about magnitude 0.0, it will pair well with the full moon that accompanies it across the sky this evening.
Alan Bean, who became the fourth man to walk on the moon and turned to painting years later to tell the story of NASA’s Apollo missions as they began receding into history, died on Saturday at Houston Methodist Hospital. He was 86.
His death was announced by his family in a statement released by NASA.
Mr. Bean stepped onto the lunar surface preceded by Pete Conrad, the mission commander of their Apollo 12 flight, in November 1969, four months after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first lunar explorers.
Mars will be growing rapidly in apparent diameter in the weeks up to the big Mars Opposition on July 27, 2018. With Mars peaking this summer, Tele Vue Optics is making it easier to take a peek with rebates on 13mm and shorter focal length eyepieces for customers in the USA, US Territories, and those with APO/FPO Addresses.
It’s important to understand that Mars Opposition is not a one-day event. From June 18th to September 15th – basically the whole summer – the angular diameter of the planet will match or exceed the 18.38-arc-sec diameter it achieved at the 2016 Opposition.
Furthermore, the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers notes that “Mars will exceed 24-arc-sec in diameter between July 23rd and August 9th, 2018. This is 97 percent of the maximum of 25.13-arc-sec diameter attained during the last of the ‘favorable’ apparitions, which occurred in 2003.” In fact, due to orbital eccentricity, Mars and Earth continue to draw ever-closer after this opposition, with the distance shrinking by another 111,000-miles / 179,000-km when they are nearest on July 31, 2018!
We’ve been following the great work of astro-imager Patrick Winkler from Austria through his Instagram account @cel_objects. Among the varied camera lenses and scopes used for these images was our own Tele Vue-NP127fli astrograph. The strength of this scope is wide-field imaging and his work in this area is exemplary.
For instance, with the NP127fli he was able to perfectly frame and capture the spirit of the NGC 869 and NGC 884 in Perseus as twin clusters of sparkling blue-white diamonds, with a smattering of glowing red-rubies, punctuating the black velvet sky background. The Double Cluster never looked so good!
At first-glance, our staff, mistook the image below to be a photograph of the Double Cluster. It turned out NOT to be a photograph, but the deft work of talented hands and a good eye at the eyepiece.
Tom Corstjens, from Belgium, created this accurate, hand-drawn representation of the cluster. We’ve admired Tom’s sketches ever since, and started following his twitter feed to see his latest work. We’ve never been disappointed.