2021: A Year of Ups and Downs

Welcome to 2022! In this posting, we’ll examine how the pandemic impacted amateur astronomy this past year and review our most popular social media posts from 2021.

Sharpless 2-308 (Bicolor palette) by AstroBin user Diego Cartes. All rights reserved. Used by permission. This is our most-liked Instagram image of 2021 with 277 likes. It was also an AstroBin “Top Pick” nominee. It was made with our Tele Vue-76 APO refractor, Tele Vue TRF-2008 0.8x Reducer/Flattener (converts Tele Vue-76 to 380mm f/5), ZWO ASI 1600MM Cooled Pro monochrome camera, ZWO 7x36mm Filter Wheel (EFW), and iOptron iGuider ─ all riding on an iOptron CEM70G EQ mount. Imaged was binned 1×1 through ZWO OIII -7nm filters 51×900″ (12h 45′) and ZWO H-alpha 66×900″ (16h 30′) for a total integration time of 29h 15′.
COVID-19 Concerns

2021 U.S. COVID-19 New Reported Cases (7-day average). The early-summer dip, centered on June 21st, did not last very long. Adopted from New York Times “Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count“.
As 2021 progressed, there were hopes that star parties and astronomy shows would return in full force as COVID-19 showed signs of being contained. Statistical data from early-summer 2021 heralded the good news: new virus cases had dropped dramatically to only 1/20th that of the January peak (graph at right). Mask and social distancing signs came down in anticipation of a return to “normal.” However, like a raging wildfire, the virus mutated and broke containment through the summer and fall and new cases reached and surpassed all prior peaks.
 

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The “Best” of 2020

Tele Vue Optics, Inc. started the year 2020 optimistically.

For Tele Vue, January 2020 began optimistically: our Apollo 11mm Commemorative eyepiece had started shipping in mid-December and we innocently opined on this blog that the year would be best remembered for “20/20 vision” puns. Our usual round of winter telescope shows and star parties began with David Nagler jetting off for the late-January European Astrofest in London and Al Nagler debuting a 67mm converter for our 55mm Plössl eyepiece at the Winter Star Party in February. David Nagler visited the studio at OPT Telescopes in Carlsbad, CA to discuss The Future of Visual Astronomy for an early-February Space Junk Podcast. In March we were looking forward to the “2020 Messier Marathon” and the arrival of Spring in the latter half of the month. Instead, COVID-19 precautions shut us down from March 20th — the first full day of spring — to May 26th. Thankfully, we all returned to work healthy, but the new concept of “social distancing” put an end to any chance of in-person appearances for the rest of the year.

With the strange year of 2020 behind us, we now choose to look back at the positive. In 2020 we managed to publish 34-postings covering a variety of topics. In this week’s blog we’ll examine our most popular stories for the year based on reader raw page views.

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Looking Back & Ahead with Tele Vue

Tele Vue Optics, Inc. at 20:20 hours.

This week we look back at the most popular blog posts of 2019 and give you a peek at one of the new products we’ll debut in 2020. 

2019: Blog in Review
Our blog keeps rolling along! Published continuously since January 2017, our subscribed audience continues to grow, and increased by 50% last year. Thanks, everyone! The following are highlights from some of the 49 blog posts that we published last year. All these were in the top-10 by pageviews.

Tele Vue President David Nagler grinning over the Apollo 11 eyepiece.

By far our most popular posting was “Tele Vue’s Secret Launch: Apollo 11mm Eyepiece!” that chronicled the behind-the-scenes development of the Apollo 11mm eyepiece and its last-minute introduction at the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) 2019. We explain what makes this eyepiece special to us, the “magic moment” reveal, and the reaction at NEAF.  There are still a few of these limited edition eyepieces available for collecting, gifting, or just viewing through. Contact your dealer if interested.

The constellation Orion over the roof by Gavin Orpin. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Taken through a night vision moncular with a smart phone using the Tele Vue / TNVC FoneMate adapter. An astounding view of Barnard’s Loop (the 10-degree wide nebula arc from above the belt of orion to the feet) — that normally requires long-exposure imaging to view. Huawei P20 Pro phone took the image. Exposure notes: 4mm lens at f/1.6, 20-sec exposure at ISO 100.

A must-read article for anyone considering night vision astronomy, “Night Vision in the UK: Seize the Night!“, by guest blogger Gavin Orpin, was high on the top-10 list. Gavin says that night vision “has given me a completely new aspect of the hobby to explore.” He explains his use of night vision gear for hand-held and telescopic observing. This includes the use of 6nm Hα (for nebulae) and 685nm infrared (for galaxies and cluster) filters and adapters for simple imaging through the night vision monocular on and off the scope. We also delve into how the PVS-14 night vision monocular got its name. The blog came about as a result of a discussion between Gavin and Tele Vue President David Nagler at the AstroFest 2019 show in London.

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Tele Vue’s 2018!

Rho Ophiuchi & Friends by AstroBin user David Augros. Copyright David Augros. Used by permission. NP101is APO refractor plus Large Field Corrector (LCL-1069) with Lumicon Deep Sky 2″ filter into modified Canon EOS 6D DSLR.
It’s hard to believe that our blog has been posting articles for two solid years already. We didn’t note it at the time, but our post “odometer” rolled past 100 this October. Our 101st post was Tele Vue-NP101is Imaging the Skies of Rhode Island! It featured David Augros’ images from a dark-site on Rhode Island with a  Tele Vue-NP101is  using our Large Field Corrector and modified Canon EOS 6D DSLR. He chose that scope because it offered “a nice balance between a generous wide field and fine details in my final images.”

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