Don’t Miss the Lunar Eclipse & Jupiter / Venus Conjunction!

(Left) Blue Moon Eclipse by AstroBin user Joe Beyer. Copyright Joe Beyer. Used by permission. (Right) January 2019 Jupiter and Venus conjunction.
Sky watchers are in for a double-treat with lunar and planetary events on the schedule in the next few days. Brilliant Jupiter and Venus dazzle in the morning as the planets approach conjunction. Sunday night in the Americas will be dominated by the total lunar eclipse. 
 

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2019: Solar and Lunar Phenomena Overview

From Tele Vue’s patio, the Mercury Transit of May 9, 2016 was imaged in white light with our FoneMate™ adapter using a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 attached to an 18.2mm DeLite eyepiece and Tele Vue-76 scope. Mercury is in the lower-right quadrant and forms a diagonal line with sunspot regions 2542 and 2543 as it passed nearest to the center of the solar disk. Mercury was 12-arcseconds in diameter then and will be just 10-arcseconds for the November 2019 transit. Photo by Jon Betancourt.
Mercury Transit
The premier event of 2019 awaits the end of the year when Mercury appears to pass over the face of the sun (as seen from Earth) on November 11th from 12:35 to 18:04 UT.  Due to its diminutive size — only 10-arc-seconds in diameter —  eclipse glasses over your eyes will not do: you’ll need a properly solar filtered telescope, binocular, or telephoto lens to view it (see Viewing/Imaging Resources at bottom). Don’t miss it as the next transit of Mercury won’t be until 2032.

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2019 Anniversaries

Tele Vue Eyepiece Evolution Highlights: it all began with the Apollo Program.
Tele Vue founder Al Nagler was one of 400,000 people estimated to have worked on the Apollo moon landing program. The year 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the culmination of all that effort: the first manned Moon landing. Al’s involvement with that mission and derivative work for the Air Force during that period would inspire him to found Tele Vue Optics and influence our eyepiece designs for decades to come.
 

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Tele Vue Scope Renaissance! (Part I)

Tele Vue Renaissance brass telescope (built 1984-1993) was the first Nagler-Petzval type lens design to go into wide-spread production.  With its solid brass tube, its classic look is timeless.
Restoring a Storied Scope
A customer recently called because his vintage Tele Vue Renaissance telescope needed some tender-loving care.  The Renaissance was our second model, put on the market after the 1981 “Multi-Purpose Telescope” (MPT). The customer’s scope was built in 1985 and is from the initial production design with a bolt-on focuser.  After discussing the obvious issues that needed addressing and our evaluation process, he decided it would be worth it to him for us to have a look at the scope.
 
When we received the scope, the most obvious troubling issue was the focuser.  It was unusable. The pinion shaft was badly bent and two of the three teflon runners supporting the draw-tube along its travel were missing.  The outer surface of the objective showed years of grime, and all of the brass components were heavily oxidized. The optics, however, were only slightly mis-aligned, producing a mildly flaired star shape at high power, but the image was still serviceable for terrestrial and deep sky  viewing.  Sadly, after a complete optical and mechanical inspection, we concluded that it just wasn’t worth the effort and expense to revive the telescope.  That, however, was not our customer’s conclusion.
 
He gave us the go-ahead and we proceeded to give his 1985, brass Tele Vue Renaissance a new lease on life. A “renaissance” for this Renaissance if you will!
 
Left: The brass telescope tube in need of polishing. Right: tube after machine and hand polishing.

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Tele Vue Scope Renaissance! (Part II)

This post is about maintaining a brass Renaissance and matching Gibraltar mount. For the post on restoring a brass Renaissance, please see our companion blog post:

 

Vic Bradford’s brass Renaissance 102 on matching Gibraltar mount stands in front of an antique pie safe. Images courtesy of Vic Bradford.

Vic Bradford has owned a brass Renaissance telescope since 2006, about 20 years after he first saw Al Nagler show one at a Riverside Star Party. He regrets not owning one sooner as “the scope uniquely merges the beauty of form and function”. We’ve reprinted some excerpts below from a treatise he sent us on caring for the brass on his Renaissance telescope and brass fittings on his matching Tele Vue Gibraltar mount. He offers a caveat to the reader: “you may find these suggestions overkill and much can be said for simply leaving brass alone so it can develop a nice patina. Like any other fine equipment, though, it benefits from good care and research.”

These instructions are for cleaning and polishing brass lacking a clear-coating. Following these instructions will ruin your coating.

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Happy Holidays from Comet 46P/Wirtanen

At only 30-lunar distances from Earth, Comet 46P/Wirtanen brightened to magnitude 3.6 as it brushed by our planet on December 16th — just 4-days after perihelion (closest to sun). The anticipation of this close pass-by engaged the attention of many amateurs that observed and imaged this “dirty-snowball” in the weeks leading up to the fly-by.  But the most iconic image of this comet’s apparition was made two-weeks before its closest approach to Earth.

46P/Wirtanen, Moon Size Comparison by flickr user Mike Broussard. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Imaged with Tele Vue-85 APO and Tele Vue TRF-2008 0.8x Reducer/Flattener for f/5.6. Camera used was Canon T3 with IDAS-LPS (Light Pollution) filter. Exposure at ISO 3200 for 40×120 sec. Image taken Dec 2, 2018 at 03:05 UT.

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Tele Vue’s 2018!

Rho Ophiuchi & Friends by AstroBin user David Augros. Copyright David Augros. Used by permission. NP101is APO refractor plus Large Field Corrector (LCL-1069) with Lumicon Deep Sky 2″ filter into modified Canon EOS 6D DSLR.
It’s hard to believe that our blog has been posting articles for two solid years already. We didn’t note it at the time, but our post “odometer” rolled past 100 this October. Our 101st post was Tele Vue-NP101is Imaging the Skies of Rhode Island! It featured David Augros’ images from a dark-site on Rhode Island with a  Tele Vue-NP101is  using our Large Field Corrector and modified Canon EOS 6D DSLR. He chose that scope because it offered “a nice balance between a generous wide field and fine details in my final images.”

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Tele Vue-76: Imaging the Southern Hemisphere

Our very portable Tele Vue-76 APO refractor has been popular with eclipse-chasers as well as with users that cross over into spotting and birding. With the popularity of small and powerful dedicated imaging cameras, the performance of the Tele Vue-76 is getting noticed by deep-sky imagers on the go. Case in point, Diego Cartes Saavedra is producing outstanding deep-space images from various locations  in the southern-hemisphere with this scope. All his images in this blog post were taken from July through November 2018.
 
Diego’s study of the Tarantula Nebula and surrounding region in the Large Magellanic Cloud examines the area imaged through different filters. The first image is a monochrome version taken in Hydrogen-α light.
 
NGC 2070 – Narrowband H-Alpha by AstroBin user Diego Cartes. Copyright Diego Cartes. All Rights Reserved. Used by permission. Tele Vue-76 APO refractor with Tele Vue TRF-2008 0.8x Reducer/Flattener (converts Tele Vue-76 to 380mm f/5) and ZWO ASI 1600MM Cooled Pro monochrome camera though ZWO 36mm H-alpha filter for 62×300″ for a total of 5.2-hours.

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Live on Wednesday : David Nagler on “Telescope Talk Hangout” Video stream

Join Tele Vue President David Nagler live on the Deep Astronomy channel’s “Telescope Talk Hangout” video stream with host Tony Darnell.

This hour-long show will stream live on YouTube.com on Wednesday,  December 5th at Noon Pacific Time.

URL for the show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3RBypMmHMQ

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Imaging the Skies Over Bavaria

Surfing through the AstroBin site’s collection of user generated astrophotos we were struck at this vivid example of M16 “The Eagle Nebula.” The image has a depth  and contrast we’ve never seen before. Created using “Hubble Pallet” filters, the rich blue (Oxygen III) surrounding the “Pillars of Creation” structure is highlighted by the ruddy bland of reds (Sulfur) and greens (Hydrogen-alpha and Nitrogen) in the “folds” of the surrounding dust clouds. The blackness of space at the edge of the dust and gas cloud is preserved against all the colors. 

M16 Eagle Nebula – Hubble Palette by AstroBin user Paul Schuberth. Copyright Paul Schuberth, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission. Teleskop Service TS Optics 10″ f/4.65 Newtonian-Astrograph using Tele Vue BIG Paracorr 3″ and Atik 383L+ mono camera carried on Sky-Watcher EQ8 mount. Taken in the “Hubble Palette” using Baader H-alpha 7nm (10×600″), OIII 8.5nm (10×600″), and SII 8nm (10×600″) filters with a total integration time of 5-hrs.

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