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.
 

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Solved: Mystery of how the Apollo 11 Landed in Central Park!

There’s been a minor buzz among some Internet forum inhabitants concerning the appearance of an Apollo 11 eyepiece in Central Park on the TODAY show. In this blog post, Al Nagler explains how it “landed” there.

Still frame from TODAY show (13 Aug 2019) segment “Between the Moon & New York City” © 2019 NBC UNIVERSAL

On June 4, 2019, Wylie Overstreet, a sidewalk astronomer who made a video showing Los Angeles pedestrians the Moon with his 12″ Dobsonian and 13mm Ethos eyepiece, called me.

“The TODAY Show found our short film A New View of the Moon and contacted me to do some Moon observing with the hosts of the show and the public for a segment on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo landings,” he said. He then asked: “I’d really love to use some Tele Vue loaners! Would this be something you guys would be amenable to?” 

A New View of the Moon. On the sidewalks of Los Angeles: a 12″ collapsible Dobsonian reflector with Tele Vue 13mm Ethos and Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune.
 

Al’s Stellafane 2019

The annual Stellafane convention, organized by the Springfield Telescope Makers, took place August 1 –4 around their clubhouse on Breezy Hill in Springfield, Vermont. This year, Al brought the Apollo 11mm eyepiece and the TNV/PVS-14 Night Vision monocular to the field. He got great comments on both. Presented here is Al’s Stellafane in pictures.

*Here’s a painting I commissioned by Hulan Fleming of my family attending Stellafane in the early-1990s’.
“Most exciting and encouraging throughout my life has been my annual pilgrimage to Stellafane, where in 1958 my 8-inch received 3rd prize in mechanical excellence. Years later, I rebuilt the scope into a 12-inch f/5.3 and received 1st prize for Newtonians at the 1972 Stellafane.” – Al Nagler. From “Star People – Real People in Astronomy.” Amateur Astronomy #6
Alan Ward of Ontario bought his portable mirror coating equipment to Stellafane.

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“Stargazing” in Brooklyn Bridge Park

Top-Left: Brooklyn Bridge Park (image by David Deutsch). Top-Right: Statue of Liberty as seen through Tele Vue-85 with Apollo 11mm eyepiece (image by Al Nagler). Bottom: Al with TeleVue-85 and twilight skyline (image courtesy of Jupiter Joe’s Sidewalk Astronomy).
Each year, the World Science Festival features amazing talks and experiences in the New York City (NYC) area, such as stargazing in the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge Park, with stunning views of the lower Manhattan skyline and special sights like the Statue of Liberty.

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Return to Stellafane!

The pink Clubhouse on Breezy Hill at Stellafane.
This week I return to Breezy Hill in Springfield, Vermont, for the annual Stellafane Convention. Stellafane is my favorite place in the world. It’s where I won 3rd prize in 1958 for my high school project telescope and 1st prize in 1972 for my 12″ scope. The rich association of telescope making with Stellafane is why this place is considered the “birthplace of American Telescope Making”.
 
I hope you enjoy the following slide show from last year’s convention. It features many images from the Telescope Competition.
 
By the way, “Stellafane” comes from the Latin words “stellar” (star), and “fane” (shrine) so “Stellafane” is a “Shrine to the Stars”.  Never been there?  All amateur astronomers should make a “pilgrimage” to this “shrine” at least once!

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The Passing of Alan Bean, 4th Man to Walk on the Moon

At Stellafane 2009 Alan Bean (left) shakes hand with Al Nagler (right).

From New York Times OBITUARIES

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.

— Goldstein, R. (2018, May 26) Alan Bean, 4th Person to Walk on the Moon, Dies at 86. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/26/obituaries/alan-bean-astronaut-dies.html

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Observing the Moon

First quarter moon imaged with FoneMate and DeLite 7mm eyepiece. J. Betancourt.

Most amateur astronomers will ignore the full moon. The best telescopic observations can be had before and after the moon is full.  For instance, when the moon is half-illuminated, at first quarter, as it waxes toward full. Along the night and day terminator line bisecting the moon are the boldly cast shadows of mountains, craters, rilles, and basins. This is where your telescopic lunar observations should begin.

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2017 Eclipse — the View of a Lifetime! (with the TV-NP101)

Line forms around Al Nagler and his TV-NP101 with Tele Vue FoneMate smartphone adapter. People can see the eclipse on the smartphone screen. Judi is on the right in green. Image by Mike Kaisersatt.

Tele Vue telescopes spread out along the center-line of the Monday, August 21, 2017 North American Eclipse. Our employees and friends report on their eclipse experiences. Our second report is from Al Nagler’s totality trip to Columbia, SC.

A year ago, Judi (wife and Tele Vue co-founder 40 years ago) planned this eclipse trip, our 4th. I decided, agreeing with Neil deGrasse Tyson’s recommendation, to concentrate on the unforgettable visual experience of totality. Boy was he right!

We reserved rooms at the Hilton Embassy in Columbia, SC and drove there starting on Saturn-Day (pardon my passion for changing the name) August 19th, arriving on Sunday afternoon to meet-up with our good friends Gail and Matt Cowit to share the experience. I immediately found a good parking spot with my car trunk facing a large open area and nearby trees for shade benefit :-).

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