The year 2020 holds some big product anniversaries for our company. Tele Vue was founded in 1977 by Al Nagler, originally to sell his television projection lenses (hence the name “Tele Vue” to match the abbreviation “TV” — read “Tele Vue: What’s in a Name?” blog post). In 1980 Al introduced Tele Vue to the amateur astronomy market with its inaugural range of four Plössl eyepieces (26mm, 17mm, 10.4mm, and 7.4mm). Additional models followed over the years until the final five focal lengths were released 25-years ago (1995).
Nagler – 40 years
With the positive reception of the Plössl eyepieces (hailed as “the sharpest I’ve ever used” by Astronomy editor Richard Berry) Al Nagler had the confidence to then bring to market his ground-breaking 82° Nagler eyepiece. This eyepiece used principles from Al’s work a decade earlier on an optical probe for an aircraft landing simulator. So began the era of “spacewalk” viewing forty years ago. (See slide show in “I Thank My Lucky Stars!” blog post.)
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.
Apollo 11 made a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean 50-years ago today after an 8-day mission. Thus ended the mission that made the historic first manned landing on the Moon with the Lunar Module named Eagle.
Over the past 8-days, we’ve been reminded of the audacious journey, made 50-years ago, to set foot on Earth’s nearest neighbor: the Moon. A constant in our sky, this orb has been gazed upon by countless generations of people who thought it beyond reach. The Apollo moon landings changed all that and left a mark on our human psych. The phrase “Moonshot project,” for a large-scale, ground-breaking endeavor has been in the public lexicon ever since. Images looking back at Earth from the Apollo missions put our planet in a new perspective and prompted American poet Archibald MacLeish to write: “To see the earth as it truly is, small and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold — brothers who know now they are truly brothers.”
The Northeast Astro-Imaging Conference (NEAIC) kicks off today and Tele Vue is there. NEAIC runs April 4 & 5, 2019 and is located at the Crowne Plaza Conference Center, Suffern, New York — only 30 miles north of Manhattan.
On the 23rd, the “ice giant” Uranus will be visible all night, as it rises when the sun sets (hence it is opposite the sun). It will also be at its largest for the year: a diminutive 3.73″ of arc. Due to its distance and close-to-circular orbit, Uranus doesn’t vary that much in brightness over time. It will reach magnitude 5.7 from mid-October through early November before slightly fading to magnitude 5.9 in late March 2019. This makes it a naked-eye target in dark skies and easy to locate in a binocular or finderscope.
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”
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.
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.