A package arrived at Tele Vue’s door on the Monday before the 2019 Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF). It was quickly ushered into the corner office where a small group gathered around the parcel. When opened, three black boxes were withdrawn. For the first time, after many months of development in secret, each black box was opened by a member of the design team. At Tele Vue, we call these internal product reveals a “magic moment” — when fresh prototypes are unboxed in the office for “first light.” This was a “magic moment” unlike any other; one 50-years in the making. The Apollo 11mm commemorative eyepiece had landed!
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.
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!
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.”
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.
Looking back and ahead with Tele Vue President David Nagler.
2017 was an exciting year for Tele Vue and our hobby: certainly the August 21st, 2017 Great American Eclipse dominated the headlines. In our blog coverage of the grand event, we took a peek inside NASA’s eclipse imaging SOLAR LAB and recounted our totality adventures in Tellico Plains, TN, Columbia, SC, and Nashville, TN.
At the beginning of 2017, in honor of Tele Vue’s 40th year, we asked you to tag your social media images taken with or taken of Tele Vue equipment with the hashtag #televue40. You did so and there are too many images to highlight them all, but we’ll bring you a few at a time though these blog posts.
People are rightfully proud of the heirloom quality build and performance of our scopes. This post looks at the various images of Tele Vue scopes posted on social media feeds this year.
A recent favorite of ours was this painting of a Tele Vue TV-85 by Instagram user @h.chiharandy.
This interview of Al Nagler by Brian Ventrudo was published in The Equinox newsletter of AstronomyConnect.com on October 31, 2017. Reprinted with permission
A Q&A with Al Nagler
Looking Back (and Ahead)
with Tele Vue’s Co-Founder
When Al Nagler talks, amateur astronomers listen.
Nagler, of course, is a legend in the amateur astronomy community, the founder of Tele Vue Optics along with wife Judi, and inventor of the Nagler eyepiece. For two generations he’s been a fixture at star parties and astronomy expos where he dispenses wisdom and demonstrates his latest optical creations, all while establishing bonds and friendships with hundreds of stargazers over the years with his combination of razor-sharp technical acumen and boundless enthusiasm.
Al was beguiled by astronomy and stargazing after a visit to Hayden Planetarium with his father in the late 1940s. He grew up in the Bronx and had the talent and good fortune to attend the famous Bronx High School of Science, the alma mater of thousands of renowned engineers and scientists, including eight Nobel Prize winners. As part of a class project, Nagler used the school’s facilities to design and build an 8-inch f/6.5 Newtonian reflector that weighed 350 lbs! In time, Al put his talents to work at the nearby Farrand Optical Company from 1957-1973, where he helped develop the large and complex optical systems for NASA’s Gemini docking and Apollo lunar landing simulators. Not a bad way to make a living! Continue reading “Q&A with Tele Vue’s Al Nagler”
We’d like to share with you this nice letter Al received from Roger Harvey recently.
From: Roger Harvey
To: Al Nagler
Subject: 10715 NAGLER (1983 RL4)
We first met at the Wildacres Retreat, North Carolina mountains, this past April. Despite our lengthy conversation that I will always remember, you never mentioned that you were honored with asteroid 10715 Nagler (1983 RL4).
As luck would have it, my primary effort in amateur astronomy the past 40+ years has been visually identifying asteroids by their position, magnitude, and motion against the background star field.
My observing session for August 16, 2017 happened to include 10715. I saw it at 3:54, 4:32, and 6:28 UT retrograding southwestward in Aquarius at magnitude 16.3. This was ~0.5 magnitude fainter than advertised…not uncommon with higher numbered asteroids. In doing so it was my 5900th asteroid.
My scope is a Lockwood 32” f/4 which (of course!) I couple with your Paracorr Type 1. The 5.5 mm eyepiece yields 676X which is my usual choice. Several times I’ve had to go to 1352X for very faint targets requiring a darker field. Obviously such an effort would be impossible without the excellent optical train above.
Again, it was great speaking with you on the phone today! I am so glad you got a kick out of your asteroid actually being seen by a human (read eyeball, not CCD) (:>). Your joy made my day as well.