Get Ready NOW for November’s Mercury Transit!

Now is the time to prepare for the premier astronomical event of 2019!

From Tele Vue’s patio, Jon Betancourt and David Nagler view the May 2016 Mercury Transit in Hydrogen Alpha light. They’re using a big-screen Samsung Galaxy Note 4 supported by a FoneMate™ smartphone adapter attached to our 18.2mm DeLite eyepiece and Tele Vue-76 APO scope. Staff photo.

While there are at least 20 solar eclipses in a decade, there will be only 13 transits of Mercury each century!  The next one, on November 11th is less than 8 weeks away. You should  be checking your gear and doing dry runs on the Sun now (hopefully with sunspots) to prepare for this rare event: the one after this will be a long way off in the year 2032. 

The Transit of Mercury in May 2016: the planet here is 12-arcseconds across — while 20% larger than the upcoming November 2019 event — it was still a very small target. Note the size of the planet versus the sunspots in the Active Regions. White light filter on Tele Vue-76 APO scope with 18.2 DeLite eyepiece (26.4x) connected to FoneMate™ smartphone adapter holding Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Image by Jon Betancourt.

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I Thank My Lucky Stars!

Al Nagler’s presentation for the Central Park Starfest 2019.
I had a great time with hundreds of attendees at the Amateur Astronomers Association (AAA) of New York Starfest in the Sheep Meadow in Central Park on Saturnday, September 7th. The skies were mostly clear, and as we continue to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, we had great views of the Moon to share using our  prototype Apollo 11mm eyepiece in our Tele Vue-85 scope.  Saturn and Jupiter also delighted the many visitors at this wonderful event that AAA hosts every fall. 
 
I was scheduled to show an annotated PowerPoint presentation about my life-long love of astronomy and how it led me along a path in which I had the opportunity to design the optical system for the Lunar Module Simulator in which every Apollo astronaut trained.  Its astronomical views inspired me to develop the “Nagler” eyepiece for my own observing and that of fellow amateur astronomers. 
 
Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, the equipment for the planned screening was not made available.  So, I’m taking this opportunity to share the PowerPoint with all AAA members and Central Park attendees along with enthusiasts worldwide.
 

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Solved: Mystery of how the Apollo 11 Landed in Central Park!

There’s been a minor buzz among some Internet forum inhabitants concerning the appearance of an Apollo 11 eyepiece in Central Park on the TODAY show. In this blog post, Al Nagler explains how it “landed” there.

Still frame from TODAY show (13 Aug 2019) segment “Between the Moon & New York City” © 2019 NBC UNIVERSAL

On June 4, 2019, Wylie Overstreet, a sidewalk astronomer who made a video showing Los Angeles pedestrians the Moon with his 12″ Dobsonian and 13mm Ethos eyepiece, called me.

“The TODAY Show found our short film A New View of the Moon and contacted me to do some Moon observing with the hosts of the show and the public for a segment on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo landings,” he said. He then asked: “I’d really love to use some Tele Vue loaners! Would this be something you guys would be amenable to?” 

A New View of the Moon. On the sidewalks of Los Angeles: a 12″ collapsible Dobsonian reflector with Tele Vue 13mm Ethos and Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune.
 

Paracorr Type-2: Imaging the Skies with Luca Marinelli

This week’s guest blog post is by Luca Marinelli. He images the sky with a Teleskop Service ONTC 10″ Carbon Tube f/4 Newtonian equipped with our Tele Vue Paracorr Type 2 coma corrector.

The Rosette Nebula (NGC 2244): Animals on Parade by AstroBin user Luca Marinelli. All rights reserved. Imaged through Teleskop Service ONTC 10″ f/4 Newtonian with Tele Vue Paracorr Type 2 coma corrector and ZWO ASI1600MM Pro mono camera. The narrowband filters used for imaging reveal various layers of material within the heart of the Rosette. The resulting dimensional quality draws the viewer from the ruddy edges of the nebula into the aqua-colored center and then out the “back” aperture of the structure. Filters used in this Hubble SHO palette image were: Astrodon Narrowband 3nm: Ha (26×300″, 44×360″), OIII (74×360″), SII (4×300″, 54×360″) with Gain: 139, Offset: 50 for a total integration time of: 19.7 hours. Software: Main Sequence Generator Pro, PHD2 Guiding, PixInsight 1.8, & Photoshop CC.

I have been interested in photography since a very young age. I remember learning to take pictures with my father’s Russian-made Zenit-E 35mm fully-manual SLR (you had to remember to close the iris by hand before shooting to set the desired aperture!) when I was in elementary school. I have pursued nature and adventure photography ever since and some of my images have been published.

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Al’s Stellafane 2019

The annual Stellafane convention, organized by the Springfield Telescope Makers, took place August 1 –4 around their clubhouse on Breezy Hill in Springfield, Vermont. This year, Al brought the Apollo 11mm eyepiece and the TNV/PVS-14 Night Vision monocular to the field. He got great comments on both. Presented here is Al’s Stellafane in pictures.

*Here’s a painting I commissioned by Hulan Fleming of my family attending Stellafane in the early-1990s’.
“Most exciting and encouraging throughout my life has been my annual pilgrimage to Stellafane, where in 1958 my 8-inch received 3rd prize in mechanical excellence. Years later, I rebuilt the scope into a 12-inch f/5.3 and received 1st prize for Newtonians at the 1972 Stellafane.” – Al Nagler. From “Star People – Real People in Astronomy.” Amateur Astronomy #6
Alan Ward of Ontario bought his portable mirror coating equipment to Stellafane.

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Astro Sketching the Universe!

Sunspots Active Region 2403 by Instagram user Pekka Rautajoki. All rights reserved. Active Region 2403 from 2015 on August 23rd (13:00 UT), August 24th (12:15 UT), and August 28th (13:40 UT). Sketched through Tele Vue-85 refractor @85x; white light filter, no tracking. Pencils on white paper, East-West mirror images. “What a wonderfully complex sunspot group! “
We posted some Instagram sketches of the July 2019 Total Solar Eclipse from Chile last month made by Pekka Rautajoki — who traveled all the way from his native Finland to be there. We found a trove of blog-worthy images, he posted on Instagram, made with Tele Vue eyepieces and  Tele Vue-85 APO refractor. They encompass a broad range of objects from the northern and southern hemispheres. So, it was only inevitable that we invited him to write a guest blog post based on his exquisite work! 

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Tele Vue APO Design and Build “Secrets”

Over the years, we’ve seen conversational topics in online amateur circles that repeatedly crop up concerning the definition of apochromatic refractor, triplet vs. doublet design, and how glass designation might define performance.  We expect these questions to continue to appear as new amateurs discover the hobby. So bookmark this blog post because here you’ll find notes on Tele Vue’s philosophy and build practices concerning our telescope line of 100% APO refractors.

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TNVC Night Vision Direct from Tele Vue

(TNV-1400) TNV/PVS-14 L3 Gen3 Un-Filmed White Phosphor

Tele Vue has taken its collaboration with Tactical Night Vision Company one step further! We are happy to announce that we now offer their TNV/PVS-14 L3 Gen3 Un-Filmed White Phosphor night vision monocular plus accessories direct from Tele Vue.

Al Nagler Goes “Full Circle” on Night Vision
Back in 1971, while an employee of Farrand Optical Company, Al Nagler was given the task of designing an eyepiece for a spiffy-new, high-tech gadget designed by ITT Corporation: a night vision device. He designed an eyepiece to view the 40° field of view created by the image intensifier tube. Now, after almost 40-years of evolution, the latest generation night vision  monocular that Tele Vue is selling uses an eyepiece at least inspired by Al’s Design — if not exactly the same!
 

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02 July 2019 Total Solar Eclipse Images

Sunset during the end of the eclipse by Instagram user Wijaya Sukwanto. All rights reserved. Imaged through filtered Tele Vue-76 APO scope with Powermate image amplifier.

This past July’s Total Solar Eclipse was a southern hemisphere event with most of the path over the open waters of the Pacific. Starting east of New Zealand, the eclipse path made continental landfall in Chile and crossed over some major astronomical facilities in the Elqui Valley before entering Argentina. With the Sun setting and close to the horizon the shadow path crossed Argentina in just 3-minutes. The centerline just missed the capital city of Buenos Aires.  

Solar Eclipse maps and data courtesy of Fred Espenak and Jean Meeus, “Five Millennium Catalog of Solar Eclipses: -1999 to +3000” (NASA/TP-2008-214170). Green lines denote limits of visibility. Key to Solar Eclipse Figures

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Downsizing to the Perfect Small Scope and Mount

Barry Kawa’s “big toys” archive photos from his years in Ohio. On the left is his 6″, f/10 achromatic refractor with equatorial mount on a tall, roll-out mount (looks like you can sleep on the tray!). The light bucket on the right (also on wheels) is a Coulter 17.5″ Dobsonian, nicknamed “The Other Woman.” Image © Barry Kawa with all rights reserved.
Barry Kawa,  a U.S. journalist now living in Japan, wrote a prior blog for us (Does it spark joy?) about the joy of collecting scopes and the task of paring down the collection to what gives him joy. You can read this post as a “part 2” for the phase of life when it’s time to go with just one scope and mount.

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