O'Neil Photo & Optical Inc.

Joseph & Suzanne O'Neil

356 William Street, London, Ontario, Canada N6B 3C7 Phone: 519-679-8840

E-Mail to: joneil@oneilphoto.on.ca

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Tips & Hints Using Webcams for Astronomy, including the Acuter, click here.

A listing of web sites on webcam astronomy, and links to software, click here.

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NEWS PAGE

 

January 7th, 2008

 

Greetings for the New Year of 2008

It is hard to know where to begin. The year 2007 was not a pleasant one and I am sure many of you have noticed that my customer service essentially tanked to near nothing. However since many of these events have quite litterally made the front page of the newspaper and several web sites, I feel progress a bit onto what has been happening to me and my family in 2007.

On the 19th of November, 2006, my sister fell down a flight of stairs while holding her two month old daughter (my niece) and as a result of those injuries, the baby died later that night. In February of 2007, the send last day of the Winter Star Party no less, my sister was charged with 1st degree murder. This past December of 2007, after over 100 days in solitary confinement for a crime she did not commit, my sister had all charges dismissed, and the headline of the local newspaper read "EXONERATED". Still, it's been a most difficult time between those points.

That was only the beginning.

Sherry Rubenhagen, wife of Dave Rubenhagen and maker of DAR mirror cells, died in March of 2007 after a very long fight with cancer. I think I have never seen somebody fight so hard and so strongly for the smallest scrap of life. Dave himself has been suffering from a rare and debilating skin condition who's condition I am certian has only been worsened by his stress.

If that wasn't enough, I had been feeling rather ill most of the early part of 2007. Dismissing it all out of hand as nerves, in the last week of July I took myself to hospital. After about 12 hours and visiting two different hospitals, I was sent home, being told I was nothing more than constipated and to drink a lot of fluid. Two days later I was back in emergency, I think in pain but hard to remember through all the morphine they had me on, and after a 13 hour wait, they removed not only my ruptured appendix but I am told about a litre of pus - it took 8 litres (or two US gallons) of saline to "flush me out". The enitre summer was lost to me.

These things must run in the family as my mother was not feeling well for a long time, went to here doctor, and found out in the middle of all this that she had suffered a heart attack.

While I am most grateful to be alive to this day, six months later, I am still not 100%, but growing better everyday.

There's more......

In the middle of all of this, one of my best friends had a breakdown, and the long story short, I had to take him to a local psychiatric hospital for a stay. After his release he had no home, so my wife and I took him for about 4 months. Like myself, he's still not 100% either, but now out on his own and doing much better now too.

These things are just the tip of the iceberg. Randomly off the top of my head, there were events like my car being broken into twice in the past year, every time my sister was in the news our garbage would be rummaged through, my mom's dog died and my cat developed eplipsey. Somehow major events put small ones under the magnifying glass and set them out of the proportion they deserve.

Still more....

Life took a totally surrealistic bent in so many ways I cannot even begin to explain them all. For example, the local railroad tracks which are about half a city block away from me, this area became the new popular spot for suicides, real and attempted, in my city. In fact, three days before Sherry died and I was off to see here in hospital, I was diverted from my route by the police who had to block off as there was a jumper hanging off the overpass threatining to jump. Made me angry to see Sherry fighting so hard to keep life while others there throwing it away.

Or trying to juggle visiting my sister in jail and my friend in hospital, which just happened to also house the local forensic unit (IE - the "criminally insane" as the movies out like to put it.) One day during supper my children spontaneously starting discussing the similarities and differences between the living conditions, food and admission procedure to a secure psychiatric facility and a maximum security jail. I felt it was essential to explain to the children that discussing such matters outside the house might not be such a good idea at that point in time.

I can go on and on, and I think only a TV mini-series or a book the size of "War & Peace" could fully do justice to all of the event that have taken place. As I stated before, very seriously, these things here are only the tip of the iceberg, but this is neither the time nor place to go into it all.

I can only tell you I am putting many parts of my life back together, and it feels good to be doing so. Well, it's better than the alternative of the past year.

If all goes well, I hope to attend the Winter Star Party in February, and bring back news and perhaps some new toys. I'll also be working slowing on the web site, but right now I have way too many irons in the fire.

Anyhow, know you know why my customer service has been such a terrible disaster for the past year - well, ever since the death of my niece in November of 2006, which by coincidence was just a few days before my birthday, which maybe doesn't mean anything, but just the convergence of it all.

I will keep in touch, I am getting my butt back into gear, although it is a lot like concious breathing, but look for changes coming in March.

Take care
joe

 

 

 

April 3rd, 2007

Lots of News

Yes, I have been out of touch lately, as there have been many changes in my life the past. A few items to catch up on.

 

Raposo in Pace

Sherry Hominsky - Rubenhagen

After almost a three year battle with cancer, Dave's wife Sherry passed away on March 15th at only the age of 44 years. She was a wonderful women, a good friend, and a wonderful inspiration. I cannot recall my entire life a person who fought so hard, and stayed so positive until the end. Almost impossible to put into words just how upbeat she remained right to the end. I last talked to her four days before she died,a nd she said her only regret was she would get to see spring come. When the tuplis come up this year, I'll remember to sit down, take time and enjoy them for her.

As for the DAR mirror cells, well, I didn't want to say much at the time, but this was basicaly the reason why they were not available. Dave has indicated to me he wants to get on with life, so at some point down the road, I hope we will see the DAR mirror cell return.

 

Stellarvue Nighthawk Aplant - 80mm, F7

I think my new favourite Stellarvue. It uses a lens from the same source as the 80/9D. Colour correction is a bit better than the F6, but overall I think it is a sharper lens at high powers. More on this telescope at a later time.

 

Stellarvue Binoviewer

At this point, I have both BV2 and BV3's in stock. The last BV2 is brand new, and sale price at $150 cdn. E-mail me if you are interested.

 

Computers - ack, I hate them. :)

or - Linux versus XP versus Vista

If you want a brand new computer with XP instead of Vista operating system, you'd better hurry. Even at that, XP now, at many major stores, is special order. I just upgraded to two new computer with XP instead of Vista. This is ontop of upgrading/replacing a problematic DSL modem, and dealing with 66 wireless networks that surround my house. Yep, that's right, sixty-six wireless newtorks, and one of them stronger inside my house than my own wireless network. Last year at this time, I have 14 wireless networks outside my front door. Wonder how many I'll have next year. :( So, if you are wondering why sometimes I do not get your e-mail, that's *maybe* one reason why. :(

As for Vista, and associtated astronomy software, I would wait a good six months before going to Vista. Even then, there are some precautions and warnings I would have for you. My main worning is to the person who has an imaging setup with a DSLR, CCD camera or webcam, and a laptop you use for your telescope & imager, and if everythig works right now, buying abrand new laptop with Vista instead of XP might mean disaster in the short term. In no particular order, here are some issues to beware of if you upgrade to Vista:

 

Linux (specifically Ubuntu)

On the other hand, I took my 5 year old Toshiba laptop with only 512 meg ram and a slow processor, completley wiped out Win XP and had Ubuntu (www.ubuntu.com) linux installed, and I could not be happier. My laptop runs faster than it ever did, I connect to the internet fater than ever before, and there is a top of support for astronomical uses.

Programs like Celestia, Sky Chart, The Gimp, and more all run faster than ever. I did find installing drivers for my Logitech Quickcam Pro 400 (the one with a real CCD chip) a complete pain in the arse, but it works fine now, and other webcams do have linux driver support that are already included or much easier to install.

Linux has three main problems or issues for those looking to go over the the "dark side". :) First, there are nto as many drivers for hardware under linux as there are under Windows XP, but now with Vista, that situation has turned around 180 degrees. It is much, much easier to get linux drivers for older hardware than it is to find Vista drivers.

Secondly favourite programs like IE and Outlook Express do not have linux versions, but for somebody like m who has always been using Opera or Firefox or Thunderbird e-mail, all these programs have linux versions. Also, open office for linux is excellent.

Third, I find the various versions of linux confusing. I mena, you have Fedore, Susix, Ubuntu, etc, etc. That IS confusing. But now Vista has - I forget exactly how many - but I think five different versions. Now know what version of Vista to buy & install is just as major an issue as what verion fo linux to use.

Here's my point - do NOT take XP off your current machine. However, most of you probally have an older computer, desktop or laptop, that you might consider nearing obsolence. If you do, if you have an old computer collecting dust you have not used in two, three or four years, pull it out, get all the essential file syou want (such as old digital picutres of family vacations, etc), do a complete clean sweep of the hard drive, and install Ubuntu linux, and teach yourself how to use it. It's not hard, and I think you will be pleasantly surprized. In fact, our local astronomy club is planning on a linux night/meeting to show members what you can do with amatuer astronomy and Linux. I will be following this up.

 

Antares Wooden Tripod Legs

I'll be posting a price later this week, but new wood, made in Canada tripod legs are comming out from Antares. Very nice, and stable. They will bolt onto just aobut any EQ5, EQ3, GP style mount. They can also be purchased with the proper collar ring too.

New Antares Speers-Walers WAs

Very nice. Not worth sellingyour old SWs for, but I have the whole set, including the 5-8 in stock and they are very pleasant to use. I still think the Japanese made Antares orthoscopic is the best value in purely planetary eyepieces you can buy, but for all around, all purpose use, especially in dobsonians, I really like the new SWs. Even in my old C8, I find them pleasant. At this point, my only issue is trying to decide which one I am going to buy for myself for personal use.

You see, in the past, I always said the 10mm SW was the "sweet spot" in many if not most telescopes. To a degree, that is still true, but the obvious difference is not so obvious anymore, I think the line have leveled up and even.

No More Antares 10" dobs - now just 8 and 12 inch

Cannot say I blame them. In any brand I carry or have carried, 10" dobsonians just seem to be a poor seller. I think it is ergonomics. An 8" dob is nice to carry and move around, a 10" is bulky, but not so much less than a 12" to move around. Also, there is the old rule that to see a difference visually (not photographically) in a telescope when upgrading in size, you have to jump "two steps". Since dobsonians by thier nature are mostly a visual telescope, most people who upgrade from an 8" go to the 12" - or even larger.

This leads to the question - what about the Antares 16" dobsonian? Right now on hold, but still pending. I am told the supplier in Asia that was going to sell 16" dobsonians to Antares has made an exclusive deal in that specific size with another company, but Antares has not given up on the idea. What exactly they are plannig are cards held close to the chest, so I cannot say at this time.

 

Skywatcher Green Lasers

Yes, I will be stocking more, as they are expected to be in supply soon for spring.

 

That's all for now. As my machines are up and running better now, I'll be posting more updates. For example, a new Stellarvue price list was just sent to me, so I have to update that price list.

take care - joe

 

January 5th, 2007

 

I have completely updated the Stellarvue price list for January of 2007.

 

December 29th, 2006

 

Stellarvue 80mm f-7 aplanatic lens. $50 US upgrade

Vic has announced that this new upgrade will be available in January of 2007. This lens is comming from the same source as the 80/9D lens, and although I have not seen this new NightHawk, I am veyr interested to see it in action. I've always felt the 80/9D was oen fo the best 80mm achromats out there, and if this new F7 lens comes fromt eh same source, I foresee that this new F7 Nighthawk could become Stellarvue's next best seller.

Right now, a regular Nighthawk - F6, single speed focuser is $420 Cdn. However, my reccomendation woudl be the Dual Speed, F7 Nighthawk, which I am selling for $560 Cdn.

As per usual, *any* Stellarvue package is sold exactly as sold by Stellarvue. For a Canadian price, take the US price, and multiply by 1.19

 

New Speers-Walers, 3rd Generation

I recieved the last two of the new SW line in 13 and 17mm. Of course, the forcast is for solid cloud for the next few days. :( I will let you know how they work out. Daytime use my impression is favourable, but I suspect the 13 and 17mm are so close in size to each other, that most people are not likely to buy both. For example, if you wanted ot buy two Speers-Walers, and you bought the 17mm, then the next one I would suggest being the 9.4 or 7.2mm, but agian, it depends on your telescope.

 

December 21st, 2006

Apologies for tardiness. I am behind on my e-mails, but I have jsut recov ered from a bout of bronchial pneumonia,a nd just starting to feel human again in the past day or so. What an early Christmas present!

 

On - Sale

I will be posting some Boxing Week Specials, mostly clearance items, so keep an eye open. To start:

One Only - Stellarvue BV2 Binoviewer

Brand New - $185.00 Cdn

One only

Stellarvue has just announed the new BV3, price is $240 Cdn, so I am selling my last BV2 at below cost.

 

 

Other News......

New Speers - Waler line of eyepieces

More information after the New Year, as I am testing three sizes right now, and I have the last two new sizes comming. Predicted price is $180 Cdn and $200 Cdn, depending on size. Right now, I am pretty impressed with them. Not worth upgrading or ridding yourself of a SWA Speers-Waler I think, but if you do not have one, worth looking at.

 

 

Antares Long Focal Lenght Refractors

Using Japanese lenses, Antares is coming out with a line of 4", F12 to F15 refractors. Superb optics, the real warning is that you need a BIG mount ot carry a such a long tube. For example, an HEQ5 would not be out of line. Antares. like many other companis, takes the week from Christmas to New Years off for the holidays, so any real, new information will be be forth coming until after January 2nd.

 

Orion new version StarShoot Camera

The new CMOS based planetary camera, operated via USB port, will be selling for $210 Cdn. I do not have any first hand information on this camera yet, hope to report more in depth in the New Year.

 

New Stellarvue Products

Stellarvue Aplanat Nighthawk, 80mm, F7, & the M3 Mount

 

Very little information as of yet. It will be F7 as instead of F6, still airline portable, and uses slightly different glass, more closely related to the 80/9D than the Nighthawk. No firm price, but I hear it will be around $50 US more than a regular Nighthawk. More information in the New Year, and I do hope to have them in stock.

The M3 mount is described as an M1 on steriods, but with capacity for encoders. I have no more details than that at this time, but seeing how I usually have an M1 on hand at all times, I hope to do the same for the M3. The big differnce is that the M3 will handle a 4" refractor, whereas the M1 can only take up to 80mm.

If all goes well for me personally, I hope to attend the Winter Star Party in February and meet with Vic Maris in person to get the low down first hand on on many of the new products, and maybe even come back with some new "toys."

Another new item is the new violet or fringer killer filters from SV. I have a shipment due up here early in the New Year, and in that shipment I should have some of the new filters. Will let you all know how they work out.

 

 

December 6th, 2006

New Article - Adventures in M1 Mount Land

Click here to read it. For those of you on dial up, be careful, I have serveral pictures and it may take some time to load.

 

December 4th, 2006

New Products and Updates

Green Laser Pointers

I should have these in stock by next week. A Canadian suppleir is now stocking these items, and I was waiting for this, because clearing anything with the word "laser" in it across customs is a complete and total PITA. I want to test them out besfore I post any specs on them.

 

Speers-Waler 3rd Generation

Right now, the first three out are the 9.4mm and smaller, but again, I am waiting to test them to see. Just to totally ocnfuse you, even these eyepieces are "2nd Generation WA Series", they are actually 3rd generation SWs. You see, the WA sereis was actually the second generation of the SW line, so the 2nd generation of the WA series is actually the 3rd generation of the entire SW line.

Darned near as bad as Abbot & Costello's "Who's On First." :)

 

Orion StarShoot - New Camera Comming.

Few details, except the "basic" version which sold for $100.00 will soon be replaced by an upgraded version, that I am told will ahve far better resolution, but be closer to $200 US in price. No more details so far, but I'll probally get one in to try out. In fact, if you search the Orion web site at this very moment for "Starshoot", it will turn up blank on you.

 

 

November 29th, 2006

A couple of things.....

Orion CMOS Starshoot (no more)

Orion is no longer advertising this wonderful little camera ($120.00 Cdn). I have ONE left, brand new. I use one personally. In fact, click on the link below to see a raw, prime focus, unedited video of the moon I shot last night. 3 meg in size, 59 seconds.

http://www.oneilphoto.on.ca/small-moon-nov28-06.avi

Nighthawk Next Generation (ED), M1 mount (non-tracking), prime focus, no editing save for shrinking the video. The original is almost 0.75 Gig, and I do not have that much space/bandwidth on my web page. YOu may need the Div X codec installed to see it.

So I love this wonderful little USB based camera, very high quality (made in the USA), but I guess maybe it was too good. Kinda like the 30mm Stratus eyepieces - wonderful, but they dropped them too. I have ONE of those left as well. I had more, but they flew out of here fast once word got out I had some new ones left.

 

 

November 25th, 2006

Stellarvue 80mm ED Nighthawks

$835.00 Cdn

Hi everyone. Sorry for the long dealy in any new posts, but I've been rather busy this month. Add to that a death in the family, and a raging sinus infection (now underr control), as the old curse says "may you live in interesting times."

 

My three new Next Generation (ED version) Nighthawks lasted oh - 24 hours? :) I have bought one for myself, and am very pelased with it's performance. It is amazingly shapr. Not quite as stunningly crisp as the three element APOs from Stellarvue, but the darned thing is half the price and about 85% of the performance.

So this has led to me what may seem a rather off conclusion - at this point, I hesitate to reccomend the 80mm, 3 element APO from Stellarvue as a first choice - or almost anybody else for that matter. Reasons are:

1) The performance of the Nighthawk Next Generation, especially with the built in binoviewer capacity, and even if you went the Feathertouch focuser - it's so close in performance,a nd basically half the price of the 3 element APO - why bother unless you really need/want that sharpness for imaging purposes?

2) The other killer is the Stellarvue 90mm flourite. At $200 US more than the 80mm (or in other words, only 10% more money than the 80mm), why not go the extra 10mm? You see in this small a size, jumping from 80mm to 90mm represents an increase of almsot 25% in lens size, but again, at only 10% increase in cost. For myself, if I was going to spend that kind of money , I personally would use the 90mm. But my daugther needs a lot of dental work this year, so I was very happy to be able to afford the NHNG to begin wtih.

If you buy the January, 2007 issue of Sky & Telescope, you will see the stellarvue 90mm Flourite as one of the "hot New Products." I think the real drawback is it's so popular there is a waiting list, whereas the 80mm APOs can usually be had right away.

I'll try and post some images and thoughts about my personal ED Nighthawk as I get to use it more, but in the meantime, something I want to address. here is a snippet of a posting I recently made on Cloudy Nights:

*************************************************************************************************************

..................... be careful for advertisements for *any* brand when you hear that they have a certain type of glass while "brand B" does not. It isn't just the glass, but the quality of the glass itself. For example, what grade or quality of optical glass does it have - military grade, industrial/commercial grade, or consumer grade glass?

Put it this way, if you are into cars at all , most people would say a V6 beats out a four cylinder engine in almost all categories save perhaps for fuel consumption.

However, if your car had the Porsche 911, 4 cylinder engine, then would you still say most V6 engines are better than the Porsche 911, simply because it has two more cynlinders?

The exact same is true not just for optical glass, but even coatings. Years ago at a lecture on coatings, I was warned/advised to assume that since a lens is multicoated that it is better than a single coating. Not true - it depends on who does it, the care they take, and how good a job is done. It is entirely possible and true for a single coated lens to have better anti-reflective properties than some multicoated lenses, if the quality isn't there to begin with. Look at the supposed "multicoatings" in some department store optics (refractor telescopes, binoculars, camera lenses, etc) and ask yourself if they look really that good.

Even the metal & machining used. For example - say somebody claims (for sake of arguement) that they use stainless steel in part of the mechanics of their telescope. Do you know how many different grades fo stainless steel there are?

So bottom line is - glass type, metal used, coatings, etc, be very careful assuming quality based on a label. If not, try racing even a car with a V8 engine against a car with the Porsche 911 engine, and see if double the cynlinders really makes the bigger engine a superior product.

*********************************************************************************************************

The last comment about the Nighthawk Next Generation (aka Nghthawk ED) is this. I carry several brands, but the Nigthawk is the one I chose for my own personal use.

 

New Speers-Walers

Version Three

Ther very first of the thrid version of the SW eyepiece line has just come out this week. I have one of the - I think - 9.4mm comming to me. I know, sad, I don't have all the new sizes and prices listed, but i want to play around with this new one, see how it works out before I say too much about it. Looks liek we are heading into another run of cloudy weather, so it may be a while, but I plan to give it a good workout in my new Nighthawk.

 

Antares 152mm Refractors

Contary to some postings you may read on the internet, they are NOT discontinued, but merely out of stock. The problem is, I am told they do not expect thier next shipment until February of 2007 - which in plain English means late March or early April of 2007. :)

I am probally very cynical, but I have found that for *ANY* company that has anything astronomical on back order, you either double the estimated wait time or add three months to the expected "in stock" date, and you know, you'll never be disappointed. :)

 

That's all for now.

joe

 

 

 

 

October 31st, 2006

 

Stellarvue Shipment

Including Next Generation Nighthawks

ETA is on or about November 15th for my SV shipment to arrive, so all of you waiting for telescopes, M1 mounts, etc, that is when I hope all will arrive.

 

 

New Products

Antares SWA Series 2

The latest generation of Speers-Waler design eyepiece. Despite being currently advertised in the latest issue of SkyNews, I have not seen any in person, and they are not expected to be in stock at Antares until mid-November. As soon as i get one, and can test them out under clear skies, I'll let you know how they work out.

Sizes 4.9mm, 7.2mm and 9.4mm - $159.00 Cdn

13.4mm - $169.00 Cdn

17mm - $189.00 Cdn

80 degreee apparent FOV, but no idea yet of eye relief, or edge performance in fast scopes. Assumed to be fully MC like the last series, but I do not know how many elements they are. 1.25" barrel, physically they look like the W70 series of eyepieces, but twice as tall/long.

 

October 23rd, 2006

Gotta Pay Some Bills Sale. :)

I am moving/clearing out some items.

 

HEQ5 and EQ6 Mounts

I am often asked "how good are these mounts", and this includes the Orion Atlas mount. I find this difficult to give a short 15 second answer for. People are often surprized by my hesitation, but finally, I have found a way to answer - definatively - how good is the HEQ5 mount.

If you have an hour - and yes, I mean a good 60 minutes - please read this web page before buying any HEQ5, EQ6 or Orion Atlas mount.

 

http://ozastro.dyndns.org/heq5.html

The HEQ5 Project

by Rick Saunders

 

If you really, really, really want to see what the HEQ5 mount is, and what it's potential is, please read this whole web page. If you are interested in the upgrades and modifications done to the HEQ5, but do not have the time yourself, drop me an e-mail, as Rick has indicated he is willing to look at doing this work for others. Bear in mind he has a day job as well, so it's not something to be accomplished over night. :)

 

 

July 20, 2006

Stellarvue New Products

So, you just won the Lotto 6/49, you have the paitience of Job,a nd you want ot spend some money on a long term investment. May I suggest...... :)

SV 190, on optional mount.

OTA - $22,990.00 US

plus taxes, shipping, etc, etc.

The full specs can be read here, but make sure to hit your "BACK button.

http://www.stellarvue.com/sv190.html

SV 165

OTA only - $13,900.00 US

...plus shipping, taxes, etc, etc....

The link to Stellarvue is

http://www.stellarvue.com/sv165.html

...don't forget to hit "BACK" on your browser...

SV 145

OTA only - $8,690.00 US

...plus shipping, taxes, etc...

Link to Stellarvue web site

http://www.stellarvue.com/sv145.html

 

Some general thoughts on these new cannons.

All the lenses are comming from LZOS in Russia. If you are curioous about who LZOS is, click here:

http://www.lzos.ru/en/main.htm

However, you will not find the new SV lenses on their web site. LZOS does a lot of custom work to spec, and also, Vic is completely making all the lens cells and parts for these triplets on site in California. From what I have been told, There are five each, lens sets of the SV145 and the SV165, and three lens sets of the SV190 being made only - at least in the next couple of years. Stellarvue is charging a deposit up front, roughly equivalent to about 45% of th evalue of the OTA. If you are serious about any of these telescopes, let me know, I'll be happy to fill you in on all the details.

As for wait times, I've been given none yet, and while the SV web site says "more than 12 months" for these three new telescopes, my best guess is that if you want one for the summer of 2008, well, you *might* take delivery by then.

I'll be posting more information as the next few days go by, plus updating my StellarVue price list. Bottom line is however, on the smaller telescopes and packages than these above, my price works out to the US price, converted to Cdn, plus 2% to cover import fees, shipping, etc.

More news to follow......

 

 

 

 

July 18, 2006

New Nighthawk Packages

Nighthawk Basic Package - $740.00 Cdn

Stellarvue is offer this basic package at $170 (US ) off the regular price if everything was bought seperately. This package includes:

Nighthawk (80mm, F6)

Single Speed Crayford Focuser

1.25" SV Die-electric diagonal

Two eyepieces (plossls), red dot finder

M1 Mount, with extention

Tripod as seen

Carry case (for OTA & accessories)

Comes in black - the white seen above is an extra $40.00

Nighthawk Prices

Single Speed Crayford - $395.00

Dual Speed Crayford - $480.00

Both include case and red dot finder.

 

July 14, 2006

Star Parties

I received this interesting message via e-mail today:

Contrary to some rumours floating around, The Manitoulin Star Party at Gordon's Park on Manitoulin Island is not cancelled. Please help us to spread the word, this is urgent. Thank you.

The Manitoulin Star Party is being held in the interior of Gordon's Park in the dark sky sanctuary from
August 17 - 21, 2006.

I've not been to this star party, but I have been to this area a couple of times. Some of the darkest skies in Southern Ontario. The web site is:

http://www.gordonspark.com/astronomy.html

 

..and while we are at it...

StarFest

2006 AUGUST 21st-26th

Mount Forest, Ontario

http://www.nyaa-starfest.com/starfest/

 

also don't forget

Fall N Stars 2006

This is year seven for Fall'n'Stars which will take place Sept. 22 - 24, 2006 at our previous venue in Thomasburg Ontario. F'n'S is a co-operative effort of the Belleville and Kingston Centres of RASC and the Peterborough Astronomical Assoc., comprised of approximately 250 total members.

..they do not have an official web site, but use this one for more information....

http://members.kingston.net/knah/knah.html

Hank - who pretty much is head cook & bottle washer, this is his personal observatory web site. He'll wonder what the heck brought all the visits to his web sie so suddently. :)

 

That;'s it for now, more news later

joe

 

 

 

 

June 8, 2006

New Stuff

Hi everyone. I've had a couple new dealer catlogs dropped off in my lap, and it is almost a full time job updating all the products and prices. In the meantime, here's a partial listing of some of the more interesting items.

16 inch Antares Dobsonian

Yes, the rumours are true, such a beast is comming. But when, or how much, what colour it comes in, who makes the optics, solid tube or truss, no news yet.

 

180mm SkyWatcher Mak

Yes, again, the rumours are true, but again, no hard news, other than "end of August" before we see one here in Canada. I've been told that it has been seen for sale Down Under, but cannot confirm that.

 

Elvis Performing at the SkyDome

Rumour has it he will be landing his silver flying saucer and emerging for his first performance of his comeback tour.

No, not really true, I just wanted to see if you were paying attention. :)

 

Antares Solar Filters

Baader based, but with glass in front for protection.
Base price is $60 Cdn plus cell. You order them to fit.

 

Olivon Eyepieces

Olivon is part of the Skywatcher group of companies, and their product line is mostly binoculars, spotting scopes, etc, but they do have a few items very interesting for astronomy. For example:

Right now, this new line of 8 element, 70 degree apparent FOV eyepieces with 20mm eye releif are only in 5mm and 13mm size, although a complete line from 3.5 to 22mm is in the works. I plan on having some here, but my best guess is, looking at th especs, just as the Orion styratus line is a Chinese made "inspriation" of the Japanese Vixen SW Lanthanums, these appear to be "inspired" by the older Pentax SP series of eyepieces.

Another interesting thing is as Chinese quality improves, so do prices. $175.00 Cdn each for this line.

Also bear in mind that there is a series of less expensive, low power, 3 element eyepieces in 2 inch size currently around, but these are not to be confused with the news line.

 

Antares Diagonals

Okay, this is where it gets confusing. All 2 inch, all with 1.25" adaptor, all for either refractor or SCT. So far so good - but here we go......

 

AntaresBasic 92% Diagonal - $95 Cdn.

Made in Taiwan, pretty darned good.

 

Antares Dielectic - 98%

Made in Canada. $119.00 and $149.00 Cdn

 

Now the $119.00 version is a cast housing, while there are two version in the $149.00 price - machined housing and collimatable housing.

I plan on only stocking the collimatable housing. One of the biggest problems with *any* diagonal is collimation - is th edarned thing seated right to begin with. One reason I love stellarVue's dieletric 2" diagonal ($240 cdn when sold seperately) is that each and every one is tested & collimated. Well the same holds true for the Antares machined and collimatable diagonals too.

Now let's say you are in the field, using yoru diagonal, you drop it, and knoci ti out of collimation. First off,t he stellarvue model is built like a tank, so odds are you will likely crack th emirror before you knock it out of alignment, but still, it can be shipped back to StellarVue for repair.

What I like about the Antares collimatable diagonal is that it is unique - it's the only one you can fix yourself if you need too. I like them very much for that reason.

Speaking of which - I have ONE left in stock of hte "regular" 92% Antares collimatable 2" star diagonals - refractor version - on hand. $120 Cdn (includes shipping, but not taxes, if any).

 

Crayford Focusers - Antares 2"

Refractor and relfector versions, and versions with micro-focusing as well. I have one on order to test out, will post my comments after i play with it for a while.

 

Antares SCT Focal Reducer F6.3

Fits Meade and Celestron. $95 Cdn. In stock

Antares Side Laser Collmator

$55.00 cdn

Right now, this is what you get FREE with any Antares dobsonian purchase - until August 31st. You order a dobsonian on September 1st, you are outta luck. A very good deal, IMO.

 

Olivon Photo Tripods

Prices vary - this one pictured is $260 Cdn - no head included.

Olivon has a whole range of photo tripods, most of them are the kind you would see in a large department store. However they have four tripods that quite interest me. Now th eone pciutred above is rated to carry 20 KILOs. Yep, you read right - about 45 pounds. That's one honkin' huge payload - enough to carry a large format camera. Tripod heads are extra, and frankly, I'm not too excited by the heads offered (so far), but these tripods will take Manfrotto and other premium quality heads. However, what I am mostly thinking of is items such as these, which by the way, I happen to try and keep in stock:

 

The Stellarvue M1 mount, head only, is $240 cdn. The Orion Paragon Bino mount - NO tripod - is $230 cdn. Both will fit on these Olivon tripod legs.

Maybe not the cheapest solution, but a set of tripod legs that can handle 20 kilos is pretty awesome when it comes to stability.

 

More to come....

 

 

May 12, 2006

Antares Summer Dobsonian Sale

Ends August 31st, on Antares dobs only, a free Antares laser collimator, side view, worth $55 Cdn.

Complete Package prices - anywhere in Canada south of 60, the price below is *complete* - delivery, any and all sales taxes, and full acessories

8" Dobsonian - $500 Cdn

10" Dobsonian $800 Cdn

12" Dobsonian - $1,200 Cdn

again, the prices above include EVERYTHING - taxes, shipping, free laser collimator, R&P focuser (crayford upgrade at extra cost - inquire) and all accessories as supplied by Antares.

 

 

May 4, 2006

Stellarvue Prices

According to the news, the Canadian dollar jumped a whole half a cent in one day this past week. Trying to keep up with current prices for Stellarvue (and Orion for that matter) is almost a full time job. However as the dollar grows, so does gasoline and the gas surcharges most shipping companies charge. Overall prices are dropping to be sure, but because of increased shipping charges, not as fast as we would like.

Another issue is the drop here in Canada of the GST set to take place in July, dropping from 7% to 6%. If you have pre-paid on some orders - especially Stellarvue telescopes (I could sell a million of those new, next Generation Nighthawks if I had them here) I will be making good on the extra 1% if any of your telescopes arrive after the GST drops. How - I'll leave it up to you - refund, extra couple filters, etc. But you will be compensated on that.

 

March 28, 2006

Stellarvue Price List Updated

This update is "boring". I just posted what is basically a spreadsheet with all models, parts and prices listed. I have also posted US and Canadian prices side by side, just so you can see for yourselves. I will be posting images of the new SV telescopes in the comming days.

 

March 21, 2006

New Mount for the Stellarvue "Sparrowhawk"

aka 50mm RA Finder

Sorry we are unable to take pre-orders at this moment, the paperwork importing this new mount is proving to be more difficult than first thought. However, I am proud to report field testing has shown the new mount to have excellent anti-light pollution capacity.

 

March 7, 2006

The Surreal World

or why

Minimum Shipping Charge is now $10 Cdn

You need not watch European art films to experience a near out of body experience with reality. We found out today that Canada Post has (and maybe has had for a while) a charge for "underweight" pacakges that take up a certian volume but still weigh under 500 grams. You would think underweight is a good thing, but it seeems that Canada Post - and other shipping companies for that matter - are all slowing moving to standardized minimums. In short, you bring in a package to be mailed, it's gonna be a minimum charge to handle it.

Case in point from today. Mailing day for us, and many pacakges went out. Two went west - one, a small binocular tripod adaptor in a small padded mailer (about 4 inches by 6 inches), the other, a Stellarvue Nighthawk in an oversized box, lots of packing materials, takes two hands to carry, and insurance on the total cost. Cost of shipping the $24 binocular adaptor? $10 + tax. Cost of shipping the Nighthawk in case with accessories and with insurance? $22 Cdn + tax.

Gets better - two large mirror cells, together in one box, very heavy, to California, total cost? $33 Cdn. Cost of shipping a single plossl to Hamilton, Ontario (about a 90 minute drive away from me) in small mailer? $8 Cdn + tx.

So, just that you all understand I am not making a profit on this, sorry to say, minimum shipping charge on a small packages has to be $10, I just loose money otherwise. Bottom line is, while I can mail a half dozen plossl to Europe for $30 cdn for air mail, it's gonna cost me $10 cdn to mail a single eyepiece accross town.

*sigh*

 

March 6, 2006

"Artsy Shot" from West Summerland Key, near the Winter Star Party. I took this on Wednesday, near noon hour, local time. It is the old railroad bridge. After the hurricane inthe 1920's, it was converted to car use, and you drove on *top* - yes, on top, narrow two lanes, no shoulder at all, waist high iron rialing only. The new car bridge was opened in the early 1980s.

 

Moon Images - Orion Starshot CMOS camera.

Taken on March 5th, unguided, untracked, using a Stellarvue 80/9D, prime focus.

These are pretty much "raw" images, converted from the native FITs format to JPEGs. For somebody new to digital imaging, I can really reccomend these new StarShot CMOS based cameras for moon shots, and planetary work on Jupiter and maybe Saturn on a larger telescope, with a tracking mount. I have also been testing out the new CCD Orion camera, but it is in a whole different league,a dn while you use the exact same software, the controls are very different. The learnign curve is steeper,a nd image processing witht eh CCD based camera is pretty much a given. If you want an "out of the box, right to imaging" experience, the CMOS imager is the way to go. Also, yes the image above are dark, but I have doen so deliberately as to show detail accross the full area. To make the craters along the terminator really stand out, you can lighten the image, and increase contrast, but you might loose some detial in the lighter areas. Anyhow, as I siad, these are basically single, un processed raw images right "out of the box".

You will have a bit of a learning curve on both cameras, especially if you have not had any experience before using this type of imager, but I think after a couple of nights, youw ill be up and running in good form with the CMOS based imager.

A coupel fo random thoughts. While the CCD camera has an external 12V power plug, this is for the thermo-electric cooler only, so the power useage is through your USB cord in the case of both cameras. If you are using a laptop like me, this means your battery get's sucked dry pretty fast (within an hour on the CCD camera) if you do not have an external power supply.

Another thing I do nto like about the cameras - but this applies to USB data keys, printers, and other USB devices - if you change which USB slot you use for yoru camer, you ahve to go through the whole "rigamarole" of installing the drivers and camera all over again. Almost worth installing yoru camera on every spare USB port on your laptop before you even start.

Another thing- stuff you need in the feild, even your back yard for imaging. Get yourself a lawn chair of some king, a small table - even a "TV Dinner" table if you know what I mean, and a good, external pwoer supply. Now Orion sells very fine power supplies, but the reality is, at least here in Canada, Canadian Tire often through the year puts on thier MotoMaster Power boxes, some with built in inverters, on sale half price. They have one on this week. I use one myself, and for the money, on sale, they are very hard to beat. I would reccomend one of thier units, simply because they are easy to find, unbeatalbe price when on sale, and they are generally larger and more powerful than anything Orion puts out. One of Murphy's Laws of imaging, and mount or camera combo, is you can never have enough power.

One last though, while I have been using an 80mm telescope, and alt-azimuth mounted at that, I have only done so to show what you can do under "worst case" senarios. For example, if all you want to do is image the moon, and under higher pwoer, then you can do some shots very easily with an 8 or 10 inch dobsonian no problem. You'll have plenty of light. But if you want to do some high resolution shot sonteh moon at high pwoer, something where you combine images, or do planetary work, then an equitorial mount, with a motor drive, of at least an EQ3 size, is likely the only way to go. Without an EQ mount tha tis tracking, trying to focus will simply drive you crazy for the CMOS camera, and virutally impossible for the CCD based camera.

 

 

February 26, 2006

Winter Star Party

Hi everyone. I returned late last eveing from the Winter Star Party in Florida, and later in the week I'll post my observations and some impressions.

In the meantime, my Orion Starshoot CCD camera just arrived, and I hope to test it out in the next couple of weeks.

That's all for now - a million irons in the fire to turn over today, or so it seems.

 

 

January 13, 2006

DAR-Astro Going on Sabbatical

Dave is winding down his production of mirror cells and focusers for the next few months. He has stopped doing custom work in favour of a full time job, this move itself brought on by changes in manufacturing.

When dave started up, ti was no problem having 25 to 30 cells cast at a local foundry - there was always room on a short day, or tail end of a large job, etc. But things are changing. Instead of waiting 30 to 50 days for a est of castings, we found ourselves wiating longer in some cases. Also, we find anymore that getting a small job done is more and more problematic, in that fewer and fewer places want small jobs. It's the scale of economics. If we wanted 25,000 mirror cells cast - hey, no problem, in fact, many companies woudl even setup regular, multiple runs per year for us.

Yeah, right.

So the current stock is winding down and out, and in the meantime Dave is redesigning his products int he hopes of comming up with something that can be done eaiser, or at the very least, fi we do need ot make a 1,000 castings at once in order to get a job done in less than 6 months time, it won't break the bank. Will keep you updated.

 

Orion StarShoot

I took 32 images of the moon with the Orion cmos based imager last night. Then somehow accidently nuked 31 of them after I came in from outside. Grrr.

Anyhow,t eh above image was taken at prime focus, alt-az mount (in other words - a plain old photo tripod - no tracking), Nighthawk Classic (80mm, F6), and the above image has NO image processing - as is, converted directly from the TIF to JPG format.

The camera itself ahs aout-exposure built right in. as for iamge processing, I am off the opinion you are best to invest in Photoshop or Photopaint. I'll post more images as I am able to take them - but looks like another week of clouds.

 

January 11, 2006

Sunny Weather

For the first time since mid-December - I can see the sun and blue skies. Yippie! No - wait - it just clouded over again! Grrr..

However, if the weather forcast for tommorrow night hold true, and it does clear up, I plan to test out the new Orion CMOS based starshoot tonight. Will post results - if I get any. :)

 

New Stellarvue Products

Vic is making his products more and more bino-viewer friendly, which I think is an excellent idea. case in the point is the new 80/9D with comes shortened but has the extention tube included. Regardless of who's brand or make of binoviewer you use, I am personally hooked on the things.

First off, no matter what brand, quality, coatings, etc, of bino-viewer you use, you will loose contrast. Period. But something about how the brain is wired, and using two eyes instead of one, well, I can litterally see things with a bino-viewer - as in term so fine detail - that I cannot see without, in any and all telescopes. It is just simply how the brain works

Prices - Now Lower On StellarVue Products

(by a wee bit)

I've been working out detials with Vic, some still left to be had, but at this point onwards, on all Stellarvue products under 130mm, my price will be the US price converted to Cdn + 3%

For example, in the new ad for SkyNews magazine, I am advertising the Nighthawk 2 starting at $500 Cdn.

Under my new prices $399 US x 1.8 (today's rate) = $471 + 3% = $485 cdn

So, under the new prices, my Nighthawk 2 price is $15 less. That may not seem like much, but point is, we're trying.

 

Other New Stellarvue Products

Vic has some neat new products, some still in development, and I'll be keeping up to date with them. After March 1st, I'll have the new M1 mounts in stock, and some other items. I'm waiting for three reason until then, because

1) Orders are very slow from now until March;

2) Some of these products will nto be ready until then;

3) I'll be picking up some of these products in person from Vic & company in Florida this February.

...which leads me to my next point....

 

Winter Star Party

With many thanks to my buddy Dr. Dave Toth, who offered to sell me his spare ticket to the WSP this year (I owe you big time Dave, the first case of suds is on me :), I'll be at the WSP this year. There is Wi-fi access, and I do travel with my laptop, but bascially I'll be gone from February 19th to the 26th.

If any of you do attend, drop by, find me out,and maybe we'll go down the road and have a beer and watch the sunset, and talk shop.

As for StellarVue, I will be at thier booth/tent/hidy-hole, so you can look me up there.

Rumour has it a few more Tuk 2006 T-shirts just might show up too.

 

The Story of the Tuktoyaktuk Star Party

Amazing how these things come full circle. In August of 1995, at StarFest, we had a couple nights totally cloud up. Not even a good sucker hole. So Mark St. George, Dave Rubenhagen and myself kill of a bottle (or more) of Jack Daniels evil brew. If you think it's called "sour mash" going down, wait until it comes back up the next morning.

As a result of our pontificating that night, and show our distain for the Winter Star party in Florida (actually it was envy,but what can I say), we dreamed up the "real man's winter star party." The kind of place you fend off hungry polar bears (ergo - "JD" the bear, as seen above), the kind of place you use your dew zappers on the toilet seat so you don't freeze in place, and - well, you get the point.

We started a tounge in cheek rumour on the internet, and like all such things, it took on a life of it's own. So much so we ended up printing T-shirts for the 2006 star party. Completely fictional, it spread like proverbial wildfire, so much so that every 2-3 years we do another run of T-shirts. Well, 2006 happens to be the real 10th anniversary of the first fictional star party,a nd since it was all inspired by the WSP to begin with, something good karma wise about going there with some Tuk-shirts. Look for some to be given out as door prizes.

Why Tuktoyaktuk? For some strange reason, perhaps never to be explained, everybody seems to know, or at least think they know where Tuktoyaktuk is. I never have to explain that it's very far up, people just seem to know that. Also, many, manyh moons ago the national RASC did fly a small group into Tuktoyaktuk, very briefly (coupel oof hours), to witness a solar eclipse, so by stretching the truth right to the breaking point, we can claim there once was a real Tuk Star Party.

It was also the start of a business relationship between myself, Dave and Mark. Dave is in the midst of re-designing his mirror cells, but Mark died a young man, only in his mid 30's, two years ago, a couple weeks before Christmas. A victim of a servere case of the Norwalk virus, Mark has just days beforehand had witnessed a person fall unconsious in a shopping mall, and jumped in to give mouth to mouth recussitation. We'll never know for sure, but we all feel that's where and when he picked it up.

Mark was a phenominal visual observer, and a virtual walking database when it came to locating and identifing NGC objects. First time I ever seen a guy zero in on some 10th magnitude fuzzy faster from memory than a telescope with GOTO or DSCs. We used to make a game of it - "Mark, find NGC blah-blah-blah" and he would either find it right away or tell you "nope, it's not up for another two hours", and two hours later he would come back to you and say "found it for you", and when you looked in the eyepiece, he did too. It was almost creepy, bordering on a savant type of ability.

So, first toast I will have down there, assuming I make it there to begin with, and in one piece, is for you Mark, wherever you are.

"sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt"

(Vergil, the Aeneid: these are the tears of things, and our mortality cuts to the heart)

 

 

December 28, 2005

Customs, FedEx and small Disasters

or

Why you should never ship green lasers at Christmas Time

I've been using FedEx a lot in the past year for both Stellarvue and Orion shipments from California to me. On December 7th and 8th, shipments form Stellarvue and Orion were sent to me. Both FedEx, both from California. Teh Stellarvue shipment made it here in 3 days, which is amazing as it usually takes 5 days. Of 4 boxes from Orion, two just arrived two days ago, and two are still "in transit" (aka - they cannot find them - yet). I was suppsoed to hear from FedEx this moringing for sure on the third trace I have had them put on the missing part of my shipment, but the fax machine is still empty and no messages on the phone. *sigh*

First off, I cannot get over how kind, understanding and paitient everyone who's Chrstmas present is late in those two missing container is to me. Thank you very much, and I am embarrased at these delays.

Doing a bit of searching, asking,a nd looking around, turns out my shipment sat in customs for a week plus. The whole issue was the word "laser". In these post 9-11 days, you ship anything cross the international border with the word "laser" on it, and some alarm bell somewhere goes off.

I haven't had this much fun since I bought a used doismeter (radiation monitor - gieger counter). Old Aero Ektar camera lenses from WW2, and some WW2 era erfles, use thorium salts in some of the glass elements. In the Aero Ektars, it's the last two of seven elements. Anyhow, while one radioactive lens is fun to have for talks and educational purposes, I have no desire to aquire any more, so a small, hand held detector, used with discretion at 2nd hand shows, camera shows, etc, is sometime usefull. But getting one in the first place.......that's another story.

You know, if I keep talking enough about lasers, radiation, and what not, sooner or later NSA or CSIS or somebody is gonna have a long, hard look at my web page. So tell you what. 5% discount on any Stellarvue Nighthawk for any member of CSIS, the RCMP, or any other member of any government agency who identifiy themselves to me as monitering my e-mail for national security purposes.

Hey, why fight it when you can make money off it? :)

Well obviously, I now have green laser pointers back in stock.

 

other stuff

 

Orion Starshoot CMOS

I have these in stock, the CCD is still on back order. It has of course been solid cloud these past gazillion days, but I like this little camera so far. There are a couple little quirks when you first install it, but these are clearly covered in the instructions. So, if you buy one of these cameras, my advise is:

Read the Instructions First!

Read the Instructions First!

Read the Instructions First!

..and if in doubt or having problems installing...

Read the Instructions First!

Daytime testing is has been most impressive in just how easy it is to use. I am waiting for one , good, clear night to test it out on the moon, but so far, I like this little camer a lot. I think if somebody was looking for an inexpensive imager to do some "easy" imaging, this woudl be the place to start. My only complaint so far is the USB cord that goes from camera to computer is a bit short for my taste, so you will have to have a laptop close to the camera & telescope. Also, form testing, while the CMOS version is USB 1.1 compliant, I find USB 2 is frankly the way to go.

 

Sale - Sale - Sale

Boxing Day, New Year, Overstock, whateve you wanna call it. Actually some jerk smashed out my rear window on my car sometime though the night, so there goes another $300. So make me feel good, buy some stuff, so I can afford to pay to get me car fixed. :) Actually I had a pile of photo tripods in the back seat but they didn't take any - perhaps something spooked them off. Ach, who knows anymore.

Okay, here we go - stuff for sale, in no particular order, prices good until it is sold. All the stuff listed below is NEW, I am just overstocked, ro maybe somebody ordered something in, and didn't pick it up, etc.

 

Antares Speers-Walers SWA - 10 and 7.5mm

$125 each, three in stock

 

Orion Epics - various sizes, mostly 10mm and smaller

$55 each, six in stock

 

StellarVue Binoviewer - One Only

$200 without eyepieces, or $300 with matched set of 15 SV - Superviews

(SV Superviews are kinda like the Antares W70 line)

 

Orion Ultrascopic 3 element, 2X barlow - long, Japanese made

3 in stock, $90 each

 

Orion GeoScope - 70mm, F5 refractor, with backpack, and tripod - 2 in stock, $140 each

 

Antares 90mm, F5 refractors OTA only, 1.25" focuser - and i mean OTA only, no digoanl, no rings, but yes, the little 20mm finder - 2 in stock, $135 each

I may post more items in the next week or two.

 

New Stellarvue Products

The Nighthawk II - January I hope to have them here. Also, there is a new, German made StellarVue binoviewer comming out in the spring. I do not have full detials, but prices will be near the same as other premium brands, and they will continue to carry the inexpensive, Chiense made one as well.

Wait times - I've gotten to the point that whenever people ask me how long it will take to get any wiat listed Stellarvue APO, I say simple, take the official wait time off the SV website, aqnd simply double it. :) I am not totally being a jerk here, while I have gotton telescopes delivered to me inside 3-4 days, I have also had some very long wait times due to shipping delays. Look at my above message about the missing Orion shipment - one box is closing in on being a month now.

In other words, what I am trying to say is if you are looking at an APO for springtime, think about ordering it in January or February.

 

 

November 24, 2005

News & New Products

Well, this is my second try at updating my new page. I was 50% done when things crashed. Grrr. To make a long story short, the building I am in is 135 years old. Yes, all the wiring , plumbing, etc, was updated - but guess what, they miss things. "Things" are missed downtown here too. Just about three weeks ago a thunderstorm blew through and a hydro transformer a block down the street blew up - just like you see in the movies. Actually, kinda reminded me of the special effects in the movie "Highlander". Now, just by pure co-incidence, in the past week, I have replaced a wireless router, a laserjet printer, and as of yesterday, a new hard drive. What a co-incidence, eh?

So, the moral of the story is, yes, I know I am missing e-mails, no, I am not ignorant, and if I don't get back to you, it's likely because some skygod has sent your bits and bytes to the big recycle bin in the sky before I ever saw it. It doesn't hurt to resend your e-mail after a day or two.

moving on......

New Products

I love Orion, but they never tell theri dealers ahead of time fo new products. Also, I am certian they purposely plan new products to appear the day after I place an order just so I cannot save on shipping by ordering everything at once. I think it's related to the new telescope curse. Anyhow, some thoughts....

 

GeoScope 70mm Refractor

Just arrived in stock - $160 cdn + tax

Sale Price

This thing is cool. The backpack is nice. Now, the ads on Orion show adults using this telescope, but personally - well, put it this way, my son is 14 years old, soon to turn 15, and this is exactly the kind of telescope I would buy him. Yes, yes, and yes, a nice dobsonian would be better for "serious astronomy" - no arguement there, but what if you ahve a teenager who seems interested in astornomy, but you are not sure he/she is interested enough to warrant a full sized dobsonian? this is a great little package - 45 diagonal (yes, I can sell you a 90 as well), two kellners, tripod & backpack.

The truely surrealistic aspect to this telescope for me is it incldues of course Orion's free astronomy CD, but also a 45 minute DVD on Canadian wildlife. You'll all note the Orion ads say "North American Wildlife", as though the thought that Canada has wildlife soemwhere in our contry might be a shock to many Americans, but there you go - a Canadian delaer has to order from an American sourse to get a DVD on Canadian wildlife. At least it's not as bad as the Chinese made RCMP dolls I once saw in Ottawa. :)

Anyhow, the Geopacker is a great Christmas gift for any teenager, or somebody who isn't totally serious about astronomy and may want to use a telescope for other purposes. If you are dedicated to a "serious" small refractor - all the better - call me about a StellarVue Nighthawk - got them in stock. :)

 

Stuff I wanna get now but Orion doesn't have it yet...

Orion Cameras - CCD & CMOS

Starshoot CCD - estimated $490 Cdn

Starshoot CMOS - estimated $125 Cdn

Two new Cameras from Orion. Images are NOT to scale. At this point, I know nothing more than you do from reading the Orion web site. First off, notice the CCD camera - which is cooled - has a seperate power supply, while the CMOS camera is powered via the USB cord. These CCD cameras - any good digital camera as a matter of fact - suck back the power like no tommorrow. Another thing I remeber a few years ago with the old ST4. It needed it's own, seperate power supply if you were running batteries in the field. Thsi was not always needed, as there was some conflict at the itme between the CCD camera and the drive system on some mounts, but I remember some guys found it extended operating time in the feild.

USB connection. the CMOS camera is supposed to be USB 1.1 and 2 compliatn, while the CCD camera is USB 2 only. My advice, sight unseen - make sure your computer/laptop is USB 2 on both cameras. Also you will find these things use up hard drive space like crazy - external USB hard drives are very common anymore at places like Best Buy, Business Depot, etc. I use two myself, and they are worth looking into.

Notice something else - the CMOS camera is "Made in the USA." Hmmm - quality control! Not sure about the CCD camera, but hey, it uses a Sony chip. It's like an epidemice of common sense broke out at Orion.

I do plan on ordering one of each in, to have before Christmas.

 

Intelliscope Encoder Kit

Estimated $250 Cdn.

This is an add-on for the Orion Skyview Pro mount. Will it work on other EQ mounts, like the EQ5? I don't know, but tempting, eh? Also bear in mind this is bascially a digital setting circle kit, it is NOT a GOTO system. Personally I like that better - motor drives get a real workout slewing all the time on any GOTO equipment mount. Not sure when I will get one of these in. The backorder date, last time i checked, was later than the backorder date on the CCD camera, and i want to get everything here for Christmas, even if just in time.

 

New stuff from Antares

A few new products, but nothing to report on at this moment, as the new 1.25" focal reducers I ordered have not arrived yet. Although aimed at all telescopes, I think they may work best one the Mak-cass telescopes. Will let you know how ti works out on my Astro C90.

That's all for now.

 

 

 

September 10th, 2005

Some News Updates

 

 

Warning!

Lots of jpgs below. I tried to keep them small files, but if you are on dialup, go nuke yourself a coffee for a couple minutes while they load. I've been writting my news updateover the past four days, and now that I am almost done, i see a pile of jpgs to upload. Okay on high speed, but on 57K - well..... :)

 

StellarVue F2 Finder

I now have them in stock. Amazing little unit, you can change form a dot to a crosshair to thingiee that is a circle/crosshair type mark- whatever. Seven brithness levels,m all metal construction. I instantly took a liking to this finder - which, according to my own personal version of Murphy's Law "anything Joe would use personally will be a terrible seller" means it will sell terrible. However, it should not, it's the nicest reflex finder out there at the moment (Rigel Quickfinder a close second - but th eSV unit more compact and portable)

$85 Cdn each. Bases $23 Cdn each if you need one.

 

Antares Update

1) Nothing new on the Petzals. :(

2) I will be posting pictures of the Sentinel, and my thoughts - see below

3) Semi-Ed refractors. Mixed reviews. I will use the "Semi-Ed" moniker as long as Antares does, but I think this term is raising expectations too high. To boil down feedback, optically these refractors are better than Synta, a hair better than the Meade achromats, but the "Semi-Ed" name is giving people a higher expectation that these scopes seem to deliver. So bear in mind if you want a decent refractor - and achromat, but NOT an APO in any means, not a bad buy. Also, the Vixen lens achromats form Antares are still, optically, a better unit, but no larger than 100mm (4 inch).

 

Optisan 7x50 Pioneers

These binoculars, imported directly into Canada (Chinese made) were recently reviewed in the latest edition of SkyNewsmagazine. Yep - the same ones advertised at $129 Cdn. Been testing them out. Not bad, not bad at all. Here is what I like about them

1) Excellent coatings

2) Full sized BAK-4 prisims, no cutoff

3) Very large oculars

4) easy on the eyes

5) Resonably sharp on the stars.

If you put them directly against say Orion Ultraviews, 7x50, made in Japan, I feel the Orions are better. However, hey are almost twice the price. Put it this way. Overall I think the Denkmeier line of binoviewers is the best brand out there at the moment. I use a Denk One myself. So when people ask me how the Stellarvue binoviwer comapres, we go outside, and we test both units, one after another on the same Nighthawk. Everyone agrees the Denkmeier to be the superior unit, however, at least here in Canada, the Denkmeier retails for roughly 3 times the cost of the Stellarvue unit (just to be clear, no, I do not sell Denkmeier).

Given the crazy cost of gas and other rising day to day expenses, you see people deciding on the less expensive option.

Here is a a picture of them from thier web site at www.armsum.com

Where they cut cost is on the plastic body. There are metal parts - notably the hinges and tripod socket, and they are all rubber coated so easy hold. Also the box they come in is very dull - looks like the carboard version of newsprint. But if they can save a few bucks on packaging and pass it on to the consumer, I am all for it.

 

Antares Sentinel

80mm, F6

OTA - $490 Cdn - includes case

Tripod Version (case, eyepiece & diagonal) $540 Cdn.

 

BTW, this is the "official" Antares image, so are the others below

Not a bad little scope. Optically I think the Stellarvue Nighthawk, which sells for $150 Cdn more, is better at high powers. The only complaint I have about this and the Orion Express is the finish is so nice, so shinny - liek somebody gave it 20 coats of turtle-wax, that it picks up fingerprints like a magnet.

Brushed chrome finish on highlights, roating focuser, 1/4-20 tripod base built in. The dew cap is retractable, and as seen on one of the pictures above, well baffled and fully multicoated.

 

If the above pictures look too "polished" here is one aken in my office/showroom. The "tripod version" includes a 45 degree diagonal and a W70 eyepiece, 19mm. The tripod, BTW, is an old junker I keep around for occasional use. Last time I showed off a Nighthawk on one of my good tripods, everybody wanted to knwo how much the tripod was.

 

Nighthawk VS Sentinel

The first thing to understand is I sell Stellarvue Nighthawks, Orion Express 80, Antares Sentinel 80, Orion 80 ED and SkyWatcher 80 ED, so strickly speaking, from a mercenary point of view, it ain't gonna break my heart if you, the customer, ultimately chooses an ED 80 or a Nighthawk, or a Sentinel or an Express.

The second thing to understand is this - in addition to the above telescopes, I also own an old Astro C90 with great optics, and including that old Mak, my personal choice for day to day use, when I observe from the city or when travelling, is the Nighthawk. Take it from there however you like it.

So, if you have been asking me how the two scopes are matched, you probally hear me say the Nighthawk is, IMO, better at higher powers? What's "high power". Well last hard pres night on the moon's terminator, while it was still high enough above the horizon for seeing to be sharp, I aimed both a Nighthawk and Sentinel on the moon. At lower powers - for example, using my Pentax 28mm SMC, the average person might be hard pressed to see a difference.

The acid test however, was at 192 power. To achive this, I used the same optical train on both scopes, just moved it back and forth. I have an anchient, Japanese made 1.25" prisim star diagonal that I bought at a swap meet at Stellafane almost 20 years ago, and it still is nice to use (cosmetically it looks beat up, but optically good). On top of that I used a TMB 6mm monocentric, and my old but trustworth Dakin 2.4X barlow.

Both scopes looked pretty good at 192X I have to tell you - which is way above the "theoretical limit" of 50X per inch aperture. But here's how I saw the difference. At this power, I was content with the Nighthawk, but in the Sentinel - well, ahve you ever tried a new telescope, you play with different powers and eyepieces and at some point, something inside your head, even on a subconcious (or unconsious) level just says ":nope, too high, go down one step"? That's howI can best describe it when using the Sentinel at 192X.

Mind you, if I didn't sell StellarVue, or had never heard of them, I would likely be scoping up either a Sentinel or an Express for personal use real fast. But I do, and I'll stick with the Nighthawk.

One last thought - for the record - I still think the StellarVue 80/9D mops the floor of all the above models. Problem is size. In terms of sheer versatility, for example - travelling, birdwatching, looking at ships on the lake, and astronomy, either the Nighthawk or the Sentinel/Express are the way to to.

 

 

 

Antares Dobsonians

Eight Inch

Twelve Inch.

They don'tlook very different, do they? Ten inch is also available, and here is a picture of the mirror cell fan as seen on either the ten or tweleve inch dobs.

I am asked if the fan runs off batteries. Well no, we have these specially trained genetically engineered gerbils that run on modified rodent wheels hooked up to minature generators that power the fans. The gerbils and generators don't cost very much at all, but the specialty gerbil food, grown only in a small plot of land located in Area 51 will cost you an arm and a leg.

Yeah, I think the average persan can figure out a way to make the fan run off batteries.

 

4x5 Large Format Cameras

FYI segment, if you will

One part of the "photo" side of the business is my 4x5 large format cameras. I have some working models that I actively use on display in my office.

From left to right in the first two pictures, an unknown process lens, two areial camera lenses, an old 6 inch refracror achromat of unknown origin, a Graphpic II View camera in mint shape, and a fully working Crown Graphic, in the rear is an old Spenser Microscope - made just before American bought them out, fully functional, dates to the ealy 1920s, a DAR mirror cell, two process lenses form old process cameras(one is an APO Ronar form Rodenstock), and the tall lens in the background isan oddball zoom lens from Elcan here in Canada that has a 6 inch clear fornt lens, no iris, and is flat to the edge when used with a 35mm film camera on the stars.

These are just some of my "toys". I placed them here after a suggestion. You see, i still buy, collect and actively use 4x5 sheet film and large format cameras. For what it is worth, I find that while everybody is rushing to digital, large format is still not only hanging on, but actually growing (albeit, slowly) in popularity. When any 10 year old can take nearly professional lookign images all depndendant solelyon how much money you have to spend (technically speaking - the art of composure seems to be in the shadows between dying and lost), how do you set yourself apart? Large format is one way.

So, if you ahve some old cameras, even beat up ones ( i rebuild them, if and when time permits), and you are lookign to sell, trade, whatever, feel free to drop me a line. I am always on the lookout.

 

160 Loonies

Paul, Bridget (future super-nova discoverer) and myself with bacon, eyepiece, toque, obligatory bottle of scotch, and the 160 loonies. Or as one wag put it "is that sock full of coins, or are you just happy to see me?"

Paul Gray (Grey?) counts out his 160 loonies, overlooked by Bridget Whelan, Dave Lane, and Dr. Dave Toth. Dave and Dave are honoured members of the RASD - The Royal Astronomical Society of Dave's - if you really want to know more. Dr. Dave (aka Dave I of the RASD) is also a nova discoverer, part of the Tim Puckett team. However, he was living in the USA while he made his discovery (2002ee - in - NGC 5772 ), so the NYAA team figured by strict interpretation of the rules not to award him his pound of bacon. Dr. Dave was so emotionally distraught, he took out US citizenship this year.

I learned, the only way to carry around 160 dollars in coins is an old sweat sock. If anybody tries to mug you, you have a weapon reminiscent of a medieval flail.

 

Right - so here goes. One of the stranger sales I have ever had, but possibly one of the most fun I have ever done too.

First, some background. This text is stolen directly from the NYAA - Starfest web page, utterly and totally plagerized without thier knowledge, permission or acknowledgement.

STARFEST
BRING HOME THE BACON AWARD

The Starfest Bring Home the Bacon Award will be awarded to the next Canadian amateur astronomer or group of Canadian amateur astronomers to make an astronomical discovery, such as a near earth asteroid, comet, nova, SUPERNOVA. This discovery must be announced by and authenticated by a recognized authority such as the International Astronomical Union.

In keeping with the spirit of Starfest the award will consist of:

* 500 Loonies
* a pound of back bacon
* a toque

What they forgot to add is the socks are free, part of the prize too.

For those of you who are wondering, a toque is something you wear during cool weather while sitting outside on the chesterfield on your verandah while you wolf down Kraft dinner or poutine, suck back the better part of a two-four, watching water leak from your eavestrough, wondering how you'll ever get the garbulator fixed.

 

Got it so far? Okay, next, I steal some text directly from http://www.davelane.ca/aro/sn/ - yada, yada, yada, about stealing text, plagerizing, etc.

 

Images and discovery details of Supernova SN2005B in UGC11066

Discovered by Paul Gray and Dave Lane from Abbey Ridge Observatory
(discovered January 11, 2005 as confirmed on IAU Circular 8462)

Discovey Notes:

Paul Gray and I are pleased to report that we have discovered a supernova (mag ~17.5) in UGC11066 (a magnitude 15.2 galaxy in Draco), as reported on IAU Circular 8462. This discovery is part of an organized search program of ~2500 galaxies.

It was detected late in the evening of January 11, 2005 by Paul (located in Fredericton, NB) while he was studying images taken earlier that evening at the semi-automated Abbey Ridge Observatory (located at Stillwater Lake, Nova Scotia) - I was not even home when the image was taken - my wife and I were at a Tsunami Benefit Concert at the Halifax Metro Centre.

It was verified immediately when I got home and reported by 2am to the IAU's Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams. It was confirmed Friday by Ramon Naves, an amateur astronomer in Spain.

It was also detected on an image that we took on December 17th, but at the time it was assumed to be noise and was not reported. A well-known supernova searcher Tom Boles reported an independent discovery on an image taken early Friday morning and is credited as a co-discover.

This is our second discovery - our first was made in February of 1995 (SN1995F), nearly 10 years ago. Soon after the first one we stopped searching, only to start up again about 16 months ago after ARO was up-and-running. So far was we know, these are the only supernovae to be discovered solely in Canada (imaged and discovered in Canada by Canadians).

 

So,are you still following me?

 

Okay, so on Friday morning of StarFest, Paul comes up to my dealer table, and takes a liking to these new Orion Stratus eyepieces. A lot of people do. So he wants ot buy one, but tells me he won't have the cash until Staturday evening. I say no problem, I'll even knock off 3% if he pays cash. then he asks me if he can pay in all LOONIES. Now i haven't the foggiest clue at this moment, but hey, I say sure. At this point I figure he's one of those nice but weird people who save all thier loonies in a box under the mattress, but I figure cash is cash, so why not?

It is not until supper that night back at my campsite that reality whacks me in the forehead and the little 7 watt light bulb in my brain turns on and goes "well, duh !"

Well the purchase was made on Saturday night. When you have a co-discoverer, they give you each your own bacon & touque (also spelt, toque, or teque, depending sometimes what part of the country you are from or usually if you have had too much to drink), but they split he 500 loonies. So Dave and Paul come wandering up, each carrying a sock full of 250 loonies. The rest, as they say, is history.

 

 

 

September 2nd, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

 

A few random thoughts and useless predictions:

1) Shipping Prices: With the rise in gas prices, shipping costs and the "fuel surcharge" seen by many shipping companies will only go up in the short term. this may also affest overall costs. Weirdly here in Canada our dollar has been rising against the US dollar since Katrina, but not nealry enough to compensate for increased fuel costs.

2) Shipping Times: Imports in the USA and Canada may not be that much affected, since most telescopes imported from Asia land on Pacific ports. However New Orleans is or was argueably the most active port on the Atlantic side of the USA (the Mississippi is still one of the heaviest "highways" in the USA for freight transport), and if some exporters are looking for new ports for shipping, whoknows if that increase will find it's way westward, and slow things down.

3) Stock up on coffee. I read a report that over 1.6 million pounds of coffee were on the docks at New Orleans. If you are like me, and coffee is how you stay up late for a long observing session, I think the price will go up.

4) 80mm Refractors. My prediction is small telescopes will increase in popularity - not that this trend isn't evidenat already. Why? Gas prices. At StarFest a few weeks ago, I was sitting with my local club members (RASC London) and many of the guys were talking about how it cost so much in gas they only drove out to or dark sky site - roughly a 40 minute drive out of town - just when the weather was really good, not marginal or even "hopefull" skies. These comments were made when gas was around $2.40 US per American galln and 89 cents Cdn for litre. What's it at today? :(

Now this means more and more people will be observing from urban areas, more often than not, IMO. Light pollution is pretty detrimental to visual astronomy for anything outside of solar, lunar and planetary work. CCD an digital camera work from light polluted areas is still a "bright spot" if you will, for amatuer astronomy if you like deep sky work. So for the average person wanting to keep a hand in observing, a small scope in the 80 to 100mm range (3 to 4 inch), regardless of brand, style, etc, fits the bill pretty good.

The other thing that is seldom mentioned, but does come up once in a while, is small scopes are good for security, day or night, in some situations. Given the state of anarchy in New Orleans, and how these events will settle into the public sub-consiousness, I think anything even remotely seen as security related will be a good seller.

That's it for now. I am processing some pictures of the new Antares Sentinel, and will be posting them this weekend.

 

 

August 17th, 2005

Orion SCTs

The Orion branded SCTs, made for them by Celestron, are currently NOT dealer items. That is, if I were to order one, I pay full retail price. Now if you live locally and want one, come talk to me, as I can get a cheaper shipping rate because of my bulk orders and commerical accounts, so I'll be happy to help you bring one in at cost. It's not pure charity on my part - odds are you'll want a couple eyepeices or finders, etc, once you come to pick it up. (insert big evil grin here :). However, say you live in Saskatoon or St. John's, it would be easier for you to order one in directly in terms of shipping costs. Also, the mounts are an Orion product, so if you need poalr scopes, motor drives or advise on the mounts, e-mail or call.

 

The Sentinel by Antares - 80mm, F6

Yepper, the same beast that Orion calls the Express and known as the Zenistar, is now available from Antares (aka sky Instruments). I have one on order as of last night ot see how it works out, and once I play with ti a bit, I'll let you know the price. However, the retail price will be lower than Orion simply due to the fact it is cheaper to pay shipping cost from Vancouver than it is from California.

I am also told that the "real" Zenistar from Williams Optics, while mechanically identical, uses a different lens. I cannot say so either way. However, my attitude is this: The Orion Express is a wonderful scope, a good performer, and a viable alternative to the cheap 80mm, F5 Chinese made short tubes. But if guranteed mechanical and optical quality is your primary concern, buy a Stellarvue fer cryin' out loud! :)

I'll post pictures probally next week when it arrives. Also, there are going to be different packages. With or without eyepieces, and while it come photo tripod mountable, EQ mounts can be used. If you ahve an existing EQ mount - any brand/size - and wan tot mount any of the 80mm, f6 scopes to it, contact me, I can get you fixed up.

Estimates for prices - not 100% sure yet, but I can tell you the OTA alone will be below $400 Cdn. just by how much will be the question.

 

 

 

May 10th, 2005

Tuktoyaktuk T-Shirts Return!

Yep - 10th Anniversary T-shirts, Navy blue, S-M-L-XL

$17.39 Each

I am expecting delivery on or just after July 15th - about two months from now. I will have them for sale at StarFest in early August as well. Orders can be taken anytime.

I do not have an exact picture of how they look, but they are 100% cotton, navy blue, and the heavy silkscreen is the off-white. Click here to download a 120K PDF file of roughly what the logo looks like. Bear in mind the final product is a bit more stylized. It is a large logo, so I had to "squish" everythign together and downsize a couple fonts to fit it on one sheet of paper to make the PDF document. I will have a few sweatshirts too. If you want a Tuk 2006 T-shirt at StarFest, just e-mail me and I'll be happy to put one aside for you. No payment on StarFest orders until you actually pick it up. I am ordering a pile of them, but it is always a guessing game as to how many to actually get, so letting me know ahead of time is very helpful.

In case you are wondering why the odd price of $17.39, here in Ontario only, we have 15% sales taxes (7% Federal and 8% Provincial). NO sales taxes on orders shipped outside Canada. Anyhow, $17.39 + 15% = $20.00 - a nice round number. :)

 

April 5th, 2005

New Orion Eyepieces - Stratus

2" & 1.25" dual bearrell, 20mm eye relief, 68 degree apparent FOV, 6 sizes as shown below.

$149 Cdn each

These eyepieces are not due out until the end of April, so that means sometime in May before I have them. Cannot say yet how they perform, but jus t looking at pictures and reading descriptions of them, they appear to be (Chinese made) derivatives of the Vixen Sueper Wide Lanthanums (see picture below), but at roughly half the price.

 

Which of course I still sell, 8 & 13mm for $269 Cdn, and the 17 and 22mm for $279 Cdn.

 

 

March 24th, 2005

Happpy Easter Weekend

Two quick news notes...

1) My StellarVue binoviewers are due to arrive by or before April 10th, if you are interested in seeing how they work.

2) I have a StellarVue SV80BV system due to arrive here - estimated around April 15th to 18th.

 

March 18th, 2005

Happy Spring Time

Hi Everyone

Yes, I have not updated in the past two months. Given Canadian winters, you can almost forget selling telescopes in the months of January and February. I think I have sold more product in the past two weeks than in the previous two months. Anyhow, neato news from StellarVue.

StellarVue BinoViewer

Introductory Price - $275.00 Cdn

From the StellarVue Web Site...

Stellarvue Binoviewers. Featuring BAK-4 prisms, 17.8mm aperture, individual helical focusing mechanisms with knurled edges and stainless screw with nylon tip. Weight is only 18.5 ounces! These binoviewers come with a set of 23mm wide field fmc eyepieces providing a 50 degree field of view. These binoviewers require an additional 4" of in focus so they work only with the SV80BV, SV80DL, SV80LBV (appearing soon), SV102V, SV115, SV115SE and SV130.

I have them on order, they should be here within two weeks. Now I will take one exception to the statement above - many binoviewers WILL work if you use a good barlow lens. So I intend to test them personally and see how they work. You will also notice in the picture above, they are set in a 2 inch diaognal. A good 1.25" diagonal - which, addmittedly is a hard thing to find (the Japanese made 1.25" star diagonal fomr Orion I carry is a rare exception) has a shorter ligth path. For example, I right now use a DenkMeier One binoviewer in my personal NightHawk, and I use the Orion star diagonal. Works pretty good.

One last thing - NO, you do not get a discount if you order them without eyepieces. That is how they come to me.

 

Brunton Pocket Transit

Model 5008 - in stock.

$290 Cdn - new lower price.

Other models are available as well, I woudl be ahppy to order them in.

 

 

Carton Adlerblick Binoculars

Yes, the very same, famed, Japanese made Adlerblick binoculars, so long missing from the shores of North America, are now back. We are now a Carton Dealer. These are NOT grey market binoculars! Not only that, I will have 7x50 and 10x50 Alderblick binoculars in stock by Boxing Day. These are extremely well made binoculars, and very crisp on the stars. Optically they compare very close with Fujinons - well, imagine Fujinons with out the waterproofing or nitrogen purging and the mil spec housing, and you have Adlerblicks, but at about half the cost. Here are some basic specs.

For all Adlerblicks: Fully multi coated optics, BAK-4 Prisms, Centre Focus, Body is rubber coated, case and strap is included with every pair. They weigh on average 600 grams / 21 oz for the 42mm sizes to 800 grams / 28 oz for the 50mm pairs. Eye relief ranges from 16mm (10x50 and 8x42) to 23mm (7x50).

Prices

7x42 - $215 US or $320 Can

8x42 - $225 US or $335 Can

7x50 - $240 US or $360 Can

10x50 - $250 US or $375 Can

I am making it a point to always keep the 50mm sizes in stock. Also, yes, there are other sizes (such as 12x50), but they are special order and may or may not be available. Sorry, no 70 or 80mm sizes I know of.

Other Carton Products - Microscopes & Telescopes.

The great Carton mount, as once sold by Tele Vue does not seem to be available anymore, but that is being looked into. In the meantime, I can supply Carton microscopes (more info combing) and telescopes. E-mail for more details in the meantime.

 

 

SkyWatcher Collimating Eyepiece

$40.00 Can or $26.00 US

Cheshire style tube for 1.25" focusers. Includes cross hairs, 45 degree reflective surface for secondary collimation and centred pinhole on top. In stock. First picture is taken on it's side, second picture from the bottom looking in.

 

 

Nova-Astronomics

I have a new product I am planning to carry from Nova-Astronomics called the MicroGuider, version 5. I have one myself and i am testing it out. Click here to go to the Nova-Astronomic page.

MicroGuider 5 is a unit for controlling digital setting circles. It uses high quality optical encoders (such as the ones I sell from Orion :), and interfaces with software programs on your computer such as Earth Centred Universe. (Which I also sell :)

 

DAR-Astro Mirror Cells & Focusers

    Click on the above link to see DAR-Astro Products up close.   Very high quality components, 100% Canadian made, from the sand casting to the machining to the powder coat paint. These are NOT cheap overseas imports. 100% satisfaction guaranteed on these mirror cells, or your money refunded.

 


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