“Lights All Askew in the Heavens”

Eclipse image from May 1919. Newspapers from the end of that year.

The May 29, 1919 eclipse, that happened 100-years ago this past week, will always be remembered as a key “turning point” in the history of physics.  “Lights All Askew in the Heavens” exclaimed a New York Times headline while The Pittsburgh Gazette Times declared that the “Elusive ‘Fourth Dimension’ Finally Proven to Exist == Newton Theory Refuted.” Newspaper editors in 1919 were grasping at straws to explain the result of an experiment that crazily proved that star light was bent by the gravity of the Sun. Their articles on the subject introduced the names of  English astronomer, Arthur Eddington, and the German scientist Albert Einstein to the public. It was Eddington that announced to the world the results of an  experiment he organized to test a theory put forth by the then obscure German physicist. What made Eddington’s announcement unusual was that he was an English scientist propping up a theory from a German scientist in the acrimonious aftermath of the First World War. This was just a few months after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. 

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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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Tele Vue Telescope Shows and Indoor Solar Viewing

Astrofest 2018

If you’re in the New York metro area the third week in April, we’ve got a lot to show you at two back-to-back shows we’ll be at: the annual Northeast Astro-Imaging Conference (NEAIC: April 19 & 20) and Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF: April 21 & 22) — both in Suffern, NY — about an hours drive northwest of New York City.

We’ll exhibit an updated night vision demonstrator to show you the benefits of using our visual and smartphone accessories designed for the Tactical Night Vision Company (TNVC)  night vision monocular. This is the system that just won a Sky & Telescope 2018 Hot Products Award. In the coming months, Sky & Telescope will be publishing their test review of the system. You can get a preview of this review on page 63 of the April 2018 issue and looking at the image below.

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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”