Night Vision in the UK: Seize the Night!

This week’s guest blog post is written by Gavin Orpin. The blog came about as a result of a discussion between Gavin and Tele Vue President David Nagler at the recent AstroFest 2019 show held at the Kensington Conference and Events Centre in London.

The constellation Orion over the roof, image by Gavin Orpin. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Taken through a night vision monocular with a smartphone using the Tele Vue / TNVC FoneMate adapter. An astounding view of Barnard’s Loop (the 10-degree wide nebula arc from above the belt of Orion to the feet) — that normally requires long-exposure imaging to record. Gavin tells us that his images simulate the naked-eye view through the night vision monocular. Huawei P20 Pro phone took the image. Exposure notes: 4mm lens at f/1.6, 20-sec exposure at ISO 100.
March 1, 2019 Update: Filter Magic Coming Soon!

Coming from the U.K., using night vision for astronomy is very rare due to the cost and difficulty of getting the night vision equipment. I estimate there are only around 6 night vision astro users in the whole of the U.K..  However, I was fortunate in that one of my local astronomy club members is the leading U.K. proponent of night vision astronomy, so I was able to see first-hand this technology in action.

[Night Vision] has given me a completely new aspect of the hobby to explore.

Given the significant light pollution, living near central London does create some big issues for visual astronomy. However, night vision has given me the ability to observe DSOs (Deep Sky Objects) with my Tele Vue-85 APO telescope that I would have no chance with normal glass eyepieces. It has given me a completely new aspect of the hobby to explore — for that I am very grateful to my astro club friend and Tele Vue for making it possible for a U.K. based astronomer. In addition, when I do get the chance to visit a dark site, the night vision works even better and I can see things I never dreamed of when I began observing the stars.

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Chris Owen: Tele Vue-85 Narrowband Imager

Jellyfish Nebula, Narrowband by AstroBin user Chris Owen. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Tele Vue-85 APO refractor with TRF-2008 0.8x Reducer/Flattener (480mm f/5.6) with ZWO ASI1600MM Pro camera on iOptron iEQ30 Pro mount. Taken through Astrodon Hα, OIII, and SII filters for a total integration time of 16-hours. This is a striking narrowband filter image of the Jellyfish Nebula (IC 443) and IC 444 reflection nebula in the constellation Gemini. The Jellyfish (lower-right) seems to “pop out “of the screen, apparently “held back” by a tenuous connection to ICC 444 to the upper-left. The bright star Eta Geminorum (one of Gemini’s “toes”) is on the right and to the left is Mu Geminorum (one of Gemini’s “ankles”).

This guest blog post is by Tele Vue-85 owner Chris Owen. Chris is a physician in Orange County California, where he lives with his wife and 3-year old son. You can see more of his images on AstroBin.

I got started in astronomy in the 1990s while I was still in High School. I spent cold clear winter nights in Northern New York learning the basics together with my father on an 8″ Schmidt Cassegrain. I remember trying to manually guide my first prime focus images of M42 with the 2,000mm focal length SCT, shooting 35mm film in 10°F temperatures. The results were predictably flawed and after I went off to college the scope and gear were put away. I went west after finishing school and my astronomy interest faded away under the light polluted sky of Southern California.

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Tack Sharp Stars: Overcoming Eyesight Astigmatism

Simulated image of DIOPTRX™ astigmatism correction. Your experience may vary.

This guest blog post is written by Phil Ressler, a longtime amateur astronomer who lives in Los Angeles, though his observing life began on the east coast. Phil is a veteran software industry executive, currently CEO of Sixgill, LLC.

I had never seen pinpoint or round stars — apart from observing our round Sun.

I’m old enough to remember when “pinhole” eyepieces with “soda straw” views defined what a telescope offered to the average amateur astronomer. More than anyone, Al Nagler, and more than any company, Tele Vue, changed that by opening up the sky and making it easier to explore through wider field viewing. Mr. Nagler and his company also showed us that a relatively rich field refractor could not only capably serve as an amateur’s sole telescope: it is the best telescope to own if you’re only having one. We can thank Al Nagler and Tele Vue for laying the foundation for the way visual astronomy is pursued today. Yet despite all that, until I tried a DIOPTRX™ on my 22mm Panoptic last year, I had never seen pinpoint or round stars — apart from observing our round Sun. I’ve been observing the sky through scope optics since 1961, my astigmatism never absent. For people like me, DIOPTRX™ is arguably Tele Vue’s most essential product, because it makes all of Al Nagler’s original work in eyepieces and refractors unmistakably worthwhile to the astigmatic viewer.

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