I Thank My Lucky Stars!

Al Nagler’s presentation for the Central Park Starfest 2019.
I had a great time with hundreds of attendees at the Amateur Astronomers Association (AAA) of New York Starfest in the Sheep Meadow in Central Park on Saturnday, September 7th. The skies were mostly clear, and as we continue to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, we had great views of the Moon to share using our  prototype Apollo 11mm eyepiece in our Tele Vue-85 scope.  Saturn and Jupiter also delighted the many visitors at this wonderful event that AAA hosts every fall. 
 
I was scheduled to show an annotated PowerPoint presentation about my life-long love of astronomy and how it led me along a path in which I had the opportunity to design the optical system for the Lunar Module Simulator in which every Apollo astronaut trained.  Its astronomical views inspired me to develop the “Nagler” eyepiece for my own observing and that of fellow amateur astronomers. 
 
Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, the equipment for the planned screening was not made available.  So, I’m taking this opportunity to share the PowerPoint with all AAA members and Central Park attendees along with enthusiasts worldwide.
 

I Thank My Lucky Stars!

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Touchscreen users can swipe through the slides and mouse uses can hover over and click the arrows.
 
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September Skies: Neptune and the MicroMoon
Neptune image by Voyager 2 probe. NASA/JPL
This week, on September 10th, Neptune rises opposite the sun and is closest to Earth. Being in the sky all-night, and at its brightest, presents a good opportunity to sight this rarely-seen telescopic planet. Unlike the naked eye planets, you’ll have to crank-up the power to make sure you’ve really found it. Even at 100x it just looks like a magnitude 7.8 star.  With the Nagler 3-6mm Planetary Zoom you won’t have to switch eyepieces to ferret out Neptune from the field stars. Just find the field containing the planet, center on your best suspect, and twist the black barrel to zoom in. If you hit upon it, you’ll be rewarded with the sight of a planetary disk. Depending on scope aperture, you can see the blue hue of the planet. With an 8″ or larger scope you can try for Triton (mag. 13.5) the major moon of the Neptunian system. Use the S&T Triton Tracker to help locate that.  You can try imaging the planet with our Powermates and Barlows. See this recent image made with a 10″ SCT and our Tele Vue 3x Barlow.
 
Supermoon and Micromoon comparison from a pastel sketch by Michel Deconinck made during the perigee full Moon of 2015 August 29th. For more of Michel’s sketches see our blog post: Return to the Moon with Michel Deconinck.
You’ve heard of the “supermoon” — when the full moon occurs at the nearest reaches of its orbit. This week on September 14th you can view the little known “micromoon.” This happens when the Moon reaches full at the furthest part of its orbit. If you could compare the extremes of supermoon to micromoon side-by-side in the sky, you’d find the supermoon 14% greater in diameter and 30% brighter than its smaller cousin. See our blog from a few years back for images and ideas for imaging a super- and micromoon to see the contrast in size for yourself.
 

 
Did you observe, sketch or image with Tele Vue gear? We’ll like your social media post on that if you tag it #televue and the gear used. Example:
#televue #tv85 #nagler #neptune
 


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