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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Cherry Springs Star Party: Afterglow with the NP101

What I like about star parties is meeting and speaking to all the fine people that travel long distances for great observing experiences.  Sometimes the conversations continue after the event. This is an excerpt from a note I received from Bob Danko, of Warren Ohio, soon after returning from the Cherry Springs Star Party this June. Continue reading “Cherry Springs Star Party: Afterglow with the NP101”

Saturn Opposition: June 15, 2017

Saturn with 2.5x Powermate™
Moons Enceladus & Tethys visible on original.
©Ed Grafton

Saturn will be visible all night in the sky on the 15th as it rises when the sun sets (hence it is opposite the sun). Now is a good time to revisit an essay I wrote a while back about this visually appealing planet.

It’s Saturnday

I’ve found that first-time views of Saturn through a telescope typically elicit gasps of delight followed by inquisitive questioning.

Saturn’s startling beauty can open the door to wonders and knowledge about the universe that can inspire a love and appreciation of all the arts, sciences, and history.

Understanding something of the vastness and nature of the universe and our unique position as the only species possessing such knowledge suggests we commit to fostering the best in us: love, kindness, respect for learning and for all the amazing life-forms we’re so fortunate to share on this wonderful planet.

So let’s use Saturn as a means to enrich our future and help preserve our earthly paradise.

Spread the word to change Saturday to Saturnday through all media and contacts, in every social venue, to start dialogues that can open the minds and hearts of our earthling friends.  Caring for our precious planet and it’s lucky inhabitants, will make future generations proud of our time here.

Saturnday can change the world with your help !

– Al (10715) Nagler

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Excerpts: Al’s Sidewalk Astronomy Adventures

Here Al has upgraded to a 12″ Newtonian.

My high school years were spent scheming and cutting classes to spend every opportunity to work on my shop project. No tie racks for me. A 200 lb. 8 inch Newtonian with a wooden hexagonal tube and pipe-fitting equatorial mount was MY dream project. Continue reading “Excerpts: Al’s Sidewalk Astronomy Adventures”

Al Nagler Attends SSAC 2017

Judi & Al at 2017 SSAC (©Ivester)

Judi and I were honored to fill in for a guest speaker unable to attend the Southern Star Astronomy Convention. It was a long but interesting drive to Wildacres Retreat, a magnificent resort used by the Charlotte Amateur Astronomers Club for 30-years. Located near the Blue Ridge Parkway and the town of Little Switzerland in North Carolina, we met a great entourage of fellow enthusiasts over a short stay to give two talks: the opening conferences talk on Thursday evening, April 27, and a talk the next morning. Continue reading “Al Nagler Attends SSAC 2017”