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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This Week: Neptune Opposition 2018 and Comet 21P!

Neptune image by Voyager 2 probe. NASA/JPL

With the moon a waning crescent, it is a good time to pick out some faint objects in the sky.

On Friday, September 7th, Neptune rises opposite the sun and is closest to earth. Being in the sky all-night, and at it’s brightest, presents a good opportunity to sight this rarely-seen telescopic planet. Unlike the naked eye planets, you’ll have to crank-up the power to make sure you’ve really found it. Even at 100x it just looks like a magnitude 7.8 star. So don’t expect to see a Voyager 2 quality image through your eyepiece.

Click on image to enlarge. Neptune (dots showing position from Sept. 5 to 12) is just south of a line between Phi- and Lambda-Aquarii. In early September it will be moving slowly toward the Lambda star. Using your finder, or a wide-field eyepiece, setup your field on the stars labeled by magnitude inside the 5° circle. Over the course of the week, Neptune will be approaching a line drawn between the mag. 7.5 and 7.4 stars shown. Neptune will be slightly dimmer than both at mag. 7.8.  83-Aquarii it is the brightest of the stars labeled by magnitude — shining at  mag. 5.5 — and will help you orient the chart.

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Flashback: Great American Eclipse Aug. 21, 2017

Has it really been a year already?  A year since people from all-over converged on a 70-mile-wide ribbon of land, that spanned the continental United States, coast-to-coast , to gaze in awe at the Great American Eclipse. This was the first total solar eclipse to land in the contiguous United States since 1979 and the first coast-to-coast one since 1918. So, for many people, this was their first.

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Return to Stellafane!

The pink Clubhouse on Breezy Hill at Stellafane.
This week I return to Breezy Hill in Springfield, Vermont, for the annual Stellafane Convention. Stellafane is my favorite place in the world. It’s where I won 3rd prize in 1958 for my high school project telescope and 1st prize in 1972 for my 12″ scope. The rich association of telescope making with Stellafane is why this place is considered the “birthplace of American Telescope Making”.
 
I hope you enjoy the following slide show from last year’s convention. It features many images from the Telescope Competition.
 
By the way, “Stellafane” comes from the Latin words “stellar” (star), and “fane” (shrine) so “Stellafane” is a “Shrine to the Stars”.  Never been there?  All amateur astronomers should make a “pilgrimage” to this “shrine” at least once!

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Dr. Bruns at NEAF 2018

David Nagler, Dr. Bruns, the NP101is used for the experiment, and Al Nagler.

We were honored that Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) speaker Dr. Donald Bruns was able to visit in our booth over the two days of NEAF 2018.

Saturday, April 21, at noon, Dr. Bruns stepped onto main stage at NEAF in front of a standing room only audience. His talk was titled: Einstein was Right! Completing the 1919 Relativity Experiment at the 2017 Solar Eclipse.  Over the better part of an hour he explained how Einstein’s General Theory  of relativity predicted the bending of light in gravitational fields and how astronomers have attempted to photograph stars near the eclipsed sun to verify the theory.

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#televue40: Deep Space Objects

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.

Some of the many Deep Space Objects, imaged with Tele Vue equipment, that were taken or processed during our 40th year. See following text for credit and copyright notices.

This installment features gorgeous images of Deep-Sky Objects (DSOs) taken with Tele Vue hardware. Some of the images are in Hydrogen-alpha (b&w) and others full-color.  Exposure times range from hours (one night’s work) to over a day (several nights work)!

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#televue40: Your Tele Vue Solar Images

At the beginning of the year, 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.

A mesmerizing image of solar activity frozen in time: swirling jets of gas encompass a dark sunspot and accompanying bright plages near limb of the sun — while spicules dance along the solar horizon. Monochrome and colorized, hydrogen-α image with Lunt LS230THa scope and Tele Vue 4x Powermate™ into RED Dragon Epic 18MP monochrome camera . Copyright Stephen Pizzo.
Our “ruby anniversary” year coincided with the Great American Eclipse —the dominant astronomical event of the year. So many of the #televue40 images featured prominence, sunspots, and the eclipsed sun .

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Roger Hutchinson: Powermate™ User Profile

A powerful solar prominence explodes from the limb of the  solar disk in “Sunspot AR2665 & Prominence” by flickr.com user Roger Hutchinson. All rights reserved. Used by permission.  Composite of two images: one exposed for prominence and the other for sunspot group. Lunt LS60 Hydrogen-∝ scope, Tele Vue 2.5x Powermate™ & ZWO ASI174MM  monochrome camera. False colour added.

Roger Hutchinson is a noted amateur astrophotographer who produces much of his planetary, solar, and even comet work from what he admits are the “light polluted skies of southwest London”. His imaging work is showcased on his aptly named The London Astronomer website as well as on flickr, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Roger’s Venus Phase Evolution image splashed onto the planetarium dome of the Royal Observatory Greenwich.
© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. All rights reserved.

Roger’s interest in imaging the sky runs back to the age of 11 and has culminated as the recent recipient of the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year award in the Planets, Comets & Asteroids category for 6-month-long effort to capture the evolution of the phases of Venus. Some of Roger’s social media profiles include a picture of the “Captain” standing with “Bleep” and “Booster” from the BBC animated series “Bleep and Booster”.  He says “I have two kids myself so thought the image was kind of appropriate. Suitably space related and brings back some happy childhood memories.”

Tele Vue Holiday Sale!

For a very limited time, enjoy a 10% discount on Tele Vue eyepieces, Paracorrs, Powermates™ and Barlow lenses from your authorized  Tele Vue dealer.  Now is the time to step up to Tele Vue quality! Better act quick because this factory authorized promotion only lasts 5-days: from 12:01 am EST November 23, 2017 to 11:59 pm EST November 27, 2017 (EST = New York time).

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Q&A with Tele Vue’s Al Nagler

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

David and Al Nagler

Introduction

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!
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