Come to the Winter Star Party in the Florida Keys and Let “Uncle Al” Introduce you to Kermitis, Al’s Real-Time Optical Field Testing Buddy!
Here’s the back story: 50-years ago, I was privileged to design the visual infinity display “LEM” simulator that trained our Apollo astronauts to land on the moon. The star images the astronauts saw in the simulator were created by ball bearings embedded in a celestial sphere, illuminated by a small light source that created perfect artificial stars in the bearings. (See optical diagram below).
Years later, inspired by the views of the star fields and lunar surfaces in the simulator, I decided to start Tele Vue and developed eyepieces and telescopes to replicate the visual experience, for my joy and to share that with fellow amateur astronomers. I used the “ball bearing” technique for ultimate “star testing” in our lab, and we continue to regularly test telescopes this way.
Some years ago, as my wife Judi (who started Tele Vue with me) and I were on a vacation trip in Colorado, we came across a gift shop where I spotted a beautiful frog creation made of pulled clay, with a spherical glass eyeball, that reflected images in its black background. Out in the sunlight, it created the image of the sun as a star image, like our ball bearing method. Eureka! Hence my private constellation “Kermitis” (the frog) with “Alpha Kermitis” in sunlight visible for testing telescopes during our travels was born. Let me show you the beauty of Kermitis (including his lovely “planetary” body details) and “Alpha Kermitis”. If it’s cloudy, I’ll resort to using a small flashlight to create “Alpha”. Here’s a photo of “Kermitis”, but nothing beats seeing him in real life.
Winter Star Party
February 20 – 26
Camp Wesumkee on West Summerland Key, Fl.