This Week: London Calling!

European AstroFest 2018 at the Widescreen Centre stand (left-to-right): Dr. Simon Bennett, David Nagler, Richard Day, Sasha Kostyaev.

This week’s AstroFest 2019 show, at the Kensington Conference and Events Centre in London, inaugurates Tele Vue’s exhibition season. I’ll once again be guest of The Widescreen Centre. Want to talk about Tele Vue eyepieces? Have questions on DIOPTRX? Need advice on imaging with Tele Vue telescopes? Please find me at The Widescreen Centre stand in the Exhibition hall, open 9am to 6pm, on February 8th and 9th.  You can find complete details on the Exhibition Hall on the AstroFest website.

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Sunday’s Lunar Eclipse Recap!

At Tele Vue we were stunned with the clarity and “3D effect” of this ghostly image of the red eclipsed Moon hanging in the sky against a starry background. (This is not a composite: those are actual dim stars near the limb of the full Moon!) Kudos to Bruno Yporti for planning and creating this image. Imaging details: Tele Vue-85 APO refractor with Tele Vue 2x Powermate and Canon 6D DSLR on an Atlas EQ-G mount. This is a 6-second exposure at ISO 1600 with effective focal length of 1,200mm. Taken at 03:20:33 local time (UTC -2). Eclipse Lunar Total by Instagram user Bruno Yporti. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
It’s summer in the southern hemisphere and Bruno Yporti, in Londrina, State of Paraná, Brazil, had great weather for imaging last Sunday’s Total Lunar Eclipse of the “Supermoon” over the Americas. At his private, roll-off roof, “Ophiuchus Observatory”, he readied his Tele Vue-85 APO refractor with Tele Vue 2x Powermate and Canon 6D DSLR on an Atlas EQ-G mount for the event. The sky was clear, with almost no wind, when he took the above single exposure — about 8-minutes after mid-totality. In this phase of the eclipse, the Moon was illuminated by the refracted light skimming along the entire circumference of the Earth. The deep-red light bathing the Moon is what we see at sunrise and sunset on the horizon. 

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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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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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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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2018 RCE Redux

Here’s a little photo blog from the “Rencontres du Ciel et de l’Espace” (RCE) show.  The show took place from November 1st through 3rd at the Museum of Science and Industry in Paris and featured over 150 lectures (in French of course) over the three days with vendors spread over two floors.  Daily attendance is in the neighborhood of 2,500 people, so it’s a busy show!  I’m only sorry that these pictures don’t do the show justice. After all, I’m really there to speak with people, make recommendations, and demonstrate our equipment, not write a blog. 🙂
 
I arrived at my hotel quite exhausted at 7 am Parisian time. Thankfully my room was ready and I took a long nap while the Optique Unterlinden crew did the heavy lifting setting up most of the booth.  Show set up was 2-to-10 pm. I arrived at 5 to finish arranging the eyepiece display cabinet and set up our eyepiece/Tele Vue-85/Kermitis as well as Tele Vue-60/FoneMate demonstrations. Also, Alvaro of AstronSCIENTIFIC had photo and visual configurations of Rotarions set up on an NP101is and Tele Vue-85.

Tele Vue: We’ll Always Have Paris!

Here I am with Pierre-Jean who I first met in 2006.  In this photo from the 2016 RCE, Pierre-Jean had just purchased his 82nd and 83rd Tele Vue eyepieces, a pair of 15mm Plössls.

It’s almost time to board the plane for my biennial trip to the “Rencontres du Ciel et de l’Espace” (RCE).  The show takes place from November 1st through 3rd at the Museum of Science and Industry in Paris and features over 150 lectures (in French of course) over the three days with vendors spread over two floors.  Daily attendance is in the neighborhood of 2,500 people, so it’s a busy show!  Continue reading “Tele Vue: We’ll Always Have Paris!

Uranus Opposition October 23rd

Uranus by Instagram user astrobobo. Copyright astrobobo. Used by permission. Imaged with Tele Vue 2.5x Powermate™ on Celestron EdgeHD 8″ SCT (effective focal length = 5080-mm) and ZWO ASI290MC camera.

On the 23rd, the “ice  giant” Uranus will be visible all night, as it rises when the sun sets (hence it is opposite the sun). It will also be at its largest for the year: a diminutive 3.73″ of arc. Due to its distance and close-to-circular orbit, Uranus doesn’t vary that much in brightness over time.  It will reach magnitude 5.7 from mid-October through early November before slightly fading to magnitude 5.9 in late March 2019. This makes it a naked-eye target in dark skies and easy to locate in a binocular or finderscope.

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Al’s Busy Fall Schedule!

Al Nagler with Robbie controlling the Tele Vue-NP101is scope in Central Park, NY.

Autumn Starfest Review
Last SaturNday, Al Nagler began his talk at the Amateur Astronomers Association (AAA) of New York’s Autumn Starfest in Central Park by reminding the audience he “grew up in this area” and saying it was “magical to be here.” Standing next to a 133” diagonal screen, he proceeded to explain how a city kid developed a love for astronomy that began at the old Hayden Planetarium – located just a 15-minute walk from where he was speaking.  That passion for astronomy led to a job creating optical systems for the Apollo’s lunar landing simulator, which ultimately served as the inspiration to develop optical products for amateur astronomers.

The horizon from the Sheep Meadow in Central Park was better than you’d expect.

Afterwards, Al had a Tele Vue-NP101is on a Gibraltar HD4 mount setup for people to view through using various Ethos, DeLite, and Nagler eyepieces. Due to the clouds, deep-space objects were hit and miss. When the clouds were dense enough to obscure the Moon and the bright planets, views of the surrounding buildings were shown instead. Said Al afterwards:

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