What do Google, the Human Genome Project, Large Hadron Collider, asteroid Bennu, and Tele Vue have in common? Read our celebration of Tele Vue product anniversaries as we wind our way through the history of big science and technology.
1998: 25 Years Ago
Our Tele Vue-85 (85mm, f/7) APO refractor (mobile site) is 25-years young this year. At 19″ long, this scope is airline portable and has an expansive 4.4° field of view (with 55 Plössl) and comes with a soft case. Improvements over the years include a more robust 2″ focuser featuring dual drawtube tension screws acting on a brass clamp ring for a positive lock, dual end ring lock screws, as well as a standard 10:1 dual speed pinion assembly.
This is also the year that the first pair of Powermates were introduced (mobile site) to the world: the 2.5x and 5x Powermates in 1¼” barrel format. These universal amplifiers do away with vignetting, edge aberrations, and exit pupil shift associated with simpler negative lenses, this also allows for higher magnifications without tradeoffs. They can even be stacked and are recommended for solar Hydrogen-α work. With the 1¼” PMT T-Ring Adapter (PTR-1250) both these amplifiers allow for easy camera attachment through T-ring adapters. They are also parfocal with Tele Vue 1¼” eyepieces.
In 1998 the 22mm Nagler Type-4 eyepiece (mobile site) was introduced. Intended as the long eye relief 82° Nagler series to replace the Nagler Type 2 series, the Type 4s yielded more contrast, reduced pincushion, more true field, and longer eye relief. With the added eye relief, the click-stop “Instadjust” eyeguard helps maintain proper eye distance and centration.
1998: Google was Forced to Incorporate
Larry Page and Sergey Brin started developing the search engine that would eventually become known as “Google” while Ph.D students at Stanford University in 1996. By 1998 Google was online with servers located in a rented garage in Menlo Park, California. That year, seeing promise in the project, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems wrote them a check for $100,000 made out to “Google Inc.” — a huge windfall for the nascent project. But Larry and Sergey had been so deeply involved in the software side of the project that they hadn’t bothered setting up a business. So, in 1998, they hurriedly incorporate just so they could cash the $100,000 check to fund the next stages of the project.
2003: 20 Years Ago
In 2003 we introduced a high-performance, super-compact, APO doublet refractor that functions as the ultimate “grab ‘n go,” day/night scope, or a super-finder for a larger scope, and even a great telephoto lens for digital cameras. That scope is the Tele Vue-60 (60mm, f/6) which compacts down to just 10″ / 254 mm in length without accessories (mobile site). It has a 2-stage, 1¼” focuser that combines a quick-focus drawtube with a helical fine-focus. The exquisitely machined and anodized all-metal construction includes an adjustable dovetail balancing bar with three ¼”-20 threaded holes for attachment to a mount.
We launched BirdScope.com that year to highlight the utility of our smaller telescopes for birding and nature usage. With large objectives and astronomical power, our small scopes are excellent for dawn/dusk usage and photography.
2003: Human Genome Project Completed
The International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium announced in 2003 that the Human Genome Project was complete after 13 years of effort. The 3 billion DNA letters in the human genome were now decoded and freely available for download and study. Benefits include the identification of disease-causing mutations, designing new targeted therapies, anthropology, and human evolution. According to the April 14, 2003 press release from the Consortium, the international effort proposed, by the United States, included “hundreds of scientists at 20 sequencing centers in China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan and the United States”. Due to the increase in computing power over the course of time, the project was finished two years ahead of time and under budget.
The 3.5mm Nagler Type 6 made its debut this year (mobile site). This extension of the Type 6 series is a natural progression of 1.4x power steps from 7mm and 5mm Naglers and provides a high power, longer eye relief (12 mm) alternative for short focal length scopes while maintaining sharpness across its 82° apparent field of view. These are the lunar and “planetary” eyepieces with field to spare.
Can you remember a time before the 41mm Panoptic (mobile site)? This legendary big brother to the 24mm Panoptic (largest 1.25″ field) with its 46mm field stop delivers the largest field possible in 2″ eyepieces. An adjustable and removable screw-type top allows quick, comfortable eye positioning for this long eye relief marvel. The scalloped shape gives a positive grip.
2008: 15 Years Ago
2008 saw an expansion of the Ethos line with three new focal lengths: the 6-, 8-, and 17mm Ethos 100° eyepieces (mobile site). We noted that the 8mm Ethos had the same high power as our discontinued 8–24mm Zoom eyepiece with 83% of the field of the zoom’s 24mm focal length! Power and field of view: what did we do before Ethos?
The 6mm and 8mm models work with binocular viewers. In 1¼” mode, with Tele Vue’s “high-hat” 2″-1¼” adapter, they will be parfocal with most Tele Vue eyepieces.
The 17mm ETHOS is an ideal complement to the 31mm Nagler Type-5. They are parfocal and the 31mm Nagler Type-5 has exactly twice the true field area. It is parfocal with the same eyepieces as the 6mm and 8mm Ethos eyepieces.
All Ethos 100° eyepieces have 15mm eye relief, 50% more viewing area than 82° Nagler eyepieces, and accept DIOPTRX eyesight astigmatism correctors. The 6- and 8mm eyepieces have dual 2″ / 1¼” barrels and work in binocular viewers. The 17mm has a 2″ barrel and offers a wider true field than the original 13mm Ethos.
2008: Large Hadron Collider Begins Testing
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN in French) is located beneath the French–Swiss border, near Geneva. One of the most expensive scientific instruments ever built, it is a collaboration of over 100 counties to study the basic laws of physics by colliding elementary particles to find out what they are made of. This largest ever circular accelerator is 27km in circumference with 10,000 superconducting magnets to guide and focus the particle beams. The LHC was inaugurated in 2008 when the first beam of protons circled around on September 10th. In 2012 it was announced that one of the goals of the project, the detection of the Higgs boson had been accomplished. According to CERN the Higgs boson is associated with the Higgs field that gives particles mass. Without this field, all particles would move at the speed of light and life as we know it would not exist.
2018: 5 Years Ago
We introduced telescope optical tube assembly (OTA) Accessory Packages, SCT Rich Field Kits, and Diagonal Packages in 2018. The package costs can be substantially less than pricing each component individually. We described these packages in two blogs: one for the Tele Vue-60, Tele Vue-76, and Tele Vue-85 scopes the other for the Tele Vue-NP101is, Tele VueNP127is ,SCT Rich Field Kits, and Diagonal Packages.
The telescope packages allow our OTAs to be turned into “complete” units that include an eyepiece, diagonal, and telescope mounting ring customized for each telescope.
The diagonal packages include our 2″ Everbrite (99% reflection) or Aluminum (96% reflection) diagonals. Each diagonal body is machined from a solid block of aluminum. This means heavy accessories can’t force the diagonal body to “unscrew” from the barrel as with other brands. Permanent alignment is CNC-machined into the diagonal. They feature brass clamp rings, anti-reflection threads, 48-mm filter threads, and now include our 2”-1¼” HiHat adapter with brass clamp ring. The “high-hat” adapter is specially designed with a high rise head to keep Tele Vue Barlows and Powermate™ amplifiers away from the diagonal mirror.
2018: OSIRIS-REx Reaches Asteroid Bennu
NASA sample-return mission OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) reached its target, astroid 101955 Bennu, in the final weeks of 2018 and began orbiting the small body on the last day of the year. The carbon-rich asteroid was studied by the spacecraft before it alighted onto the surface in 2020 to grab samples for return to Earth. This year, the craft will fly by the Earth and eject a re-entry capsule to bring the samples down to eager scientists for study. Bennu is special because the surface material is believed to be little altered since the birth of the solar system.
Our Schmidt–Cassegrain Telescope (SCT) Rich-Field Kit Package delivers up to a 3x increase in field area over 1.25″ diagonals. The package features our 2″ Everbrite diagonal and an adapter that screws onto the SCT visual back to allow use of standard 2″ eyepiece accessories. Our Everbrite diagonal has 99% reflection across the visual spectrum.
This week we’ll witness an event not seen in recent memory. You’re thinking: the return of a long-period comet? No! The Return of David Nagler, in-person, to European AstroFest this week at the Kensington Conference & Events Centre in London! European AstroFest is the UK’s premier astronomy conference and exhibition, featuring 16 talks from leading astronomers and space scientists plus three floors of exhibition space. It takes place on February 3rd and 4th, 2023. If you want to try out some eyepieces, take a photo, or just talk Tele Vue with David, stop by the Widescreen Centre stand.
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