August 21, 2017 Solar Eclipse: Inside the SOLAR LAB

Hydrogen-α image of sun and scopes inside the Solar Lab. Copyright Stephen Pizzo.

We recently received an interesting letter from Stephen Pizzo, discussing his solar imaging work with Tele Vue Powermate™ amplifiers. Most of the time (90%), he uses our 4x Powermate™ on a Hydrogen-α scope — either a LS152THA (900mm focal length) or LS230THa (1,600mm focal length). This extends the effective focal length of these dedicated solar scopes to 3,600mm or 6,400mm for breathtaking, close-up images of the activity on the Sun’s chromosphere. The choice of scope depends on the seeing conditions. If conditions won’t support the 4x, Stephen employs our 2x Powermate™ with the LS230THa for an effective focal length of 3,200mm. Stephen also notes that he normally uses 3″ to 4″ of extension between the 4x Powermate™ and the imager to get another 0.5x of magnification. The imager itself is very unique: a RED Dragon Epic monochrome 18-megapixel camera — a camera usually associated with the world of professional digital cinema.

He shared the images created with the bigger scope and 4x Powermate™ with us. As you can see below, they are spectacular!

Continue reading “August 21, 2017 Solar Eclipse: Inside the SOLAR LAB”

Partial Lunar Eclipse – August 7, 2017

Xavier Dequevy’s Total Lunar Eclipse composite image of March 03, 2007 made with the TV-NP101is. Note that the Aug. 7, 2017 eclipse will be partial.

Some phase of this lunar eclipse is visible from the eastern tip of South America to Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania.  All phases are visible in the region encompassing east Africa, Central Asia, and most of Australia. This means most of the Americas will not see this event. (Don’t fret! Our consolation prize will be the total solar eclipse in just two weeks after!) The eclipse is “partial” because the moon just clips the deepest part of the Earth’s shadows — the “umbra”.

Eclipse map courtesy of Fred Espenak, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, from eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov.

Continue reading “Partial Lunar Eclipse – August 7, 2017”

Tele Vue Product Spotting #1

From time-to-time we see Tele Vue products juxtaposed with other interesting brands. This is a roundup of what we’ve run across so-far this year.

Tele Vue Packed Turret

Matthew Hodgson’s Alpha Lyrae website had a review of the nPAE (Nottingham Precision Astro Engineering) 6061 Medium Turret eyepiece holder. The shot below from the review has all six turret slots filled with our eyepieces.

Credit Matthew Hodgson. Used by permission.

Continue reading “Tele Vue Product Spotting #1”

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”

Imaging the Skies with the TV-85: Mike Broussard

Comet Lovejoy (clockwise from top left: 1/19/15, 1/25/15, 2/7/15, & 2/20/15) with link to animation.” by flickr.com user Mike Broussard licensed by All rights reserved.

Aquamarine “cotton balls” and “tadpoles” with sinewy tails cross a star-filled night-sky. That can be your initial impression of Mike Broussard’s comet-loaded flickr photostream. His recent images include the passage of comet Johnson, 41P/TGK, PanSTARRS, & Lovejoy.  (The greenish comet color is provided by the glow of ionized cyanogen and diatomic carbon shed by the comet.)   Continue reading “Imaging the Skies with the TV-85: Mike Broussard”

Cherry Springs 2017 in Review

Al Nagler at Cherry Springs Star Party 2017.

The ancient Allegheny Plateau formed from a long-ago regional uplift in the Paleozoic Era. Over the eons, rivers and minor waterways eroded the plateau to form mountainous terrain. The plateau arcs from central New York, through the top-half of Pennsylvania, dives though the heartland of Ohio and West Virginia, and terminates in Kentucky. Smack in the middle of this arc is Cherry Springs State Park in Pennsylvania. Continue reading “Cherry Springs 2017 in Review”

Tele Vue TV-NP101is Relativity Experiment Update

TV-85 image of Solar Flare during 2008 eclipse in China by D. di Cicco.

Optical physicist Dr. Don Bruns recently updated Tele Vue on his preparation for measuring star deflections near the sun during August’s total solar eclipse. As explained on our March 21st blog post (“Tele Vue NP101is to Test Einstein’s General Relativity”), when first measured at the 1919 total solar eclipse, the deflections confirmed Einstein’s general theory of relativity (and made Einstein a household name). Over the years though, the accuracy of the 1919 experiment has been called into question and subsequent visual light attempts during eclipses has not been “stellar”. According to Dr. Bruns, “astronomers last repeated the experiment in 1973, achieving an error of 11%”. This time around he hopes to achieve an accuracy of 1% using readily available amateur equipment. Instead of hauling a big 16” diameter refractor to the eclipse site – as in the 1919 experiment – he’ll be using a much more compact Tele Vue NP-101is telescope. Continue reading “Tele Vue TV-NP101is Relativity Experiment Update”

Golden State Star Party: June 21 – 25

Lagoon Nebula and Trifid Nebula” by Instagram user Anthony DLC. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

At last year’s Golden State Star Party, Anthony DLC created this image of the Lagoon Nebula (M8 left) and Trifid Nebula (M20 right) through aTele Vue TV-NP101is and modified DSLR camera. He used 20 x 7-minute exposures.
Continue reading “Golden State Star Party: June 21 – 25”

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

Continue reading “Saturn Opposition: June 15, 2017”

June 9th: Night of the “Micromoon”

The “supermoon” — a full moon that occurs when the moon is nearest the earth — seems to garner a lot of media attention. Very little scrutiny is paid to the occurrences of “micromoon” — an appellation bestowed when the full moon occurs at the furthest reaches of its orbit. Just Google “supermoon” and you’ll get 10-million results vs. a paltry 45,000 for “micromoon”. But the micromoon offers an interesting contrast to the supermoon. Continue reading “June 9th: Night of the “Micromoon””