have been observing the deep sky with telescopes ranging
from 4" to 30" for over 35 years. My specialty is
observing the more obscure deep sky objects, such as
Hickson Groups, Abell Planetary Nebulae, Arp Galaxies,
Abell Galaxy Clusters, Shakhbazian Groups, super thin
galaxies to name a few "lists".
My observing sites are in the Sierras of northern California at 5,000 feet and higher with fellow TAC and TAC-Sac observers. Our most used site at 7,600 feet with NELM 7.0+ skies.
- 30" f/4.3 Starmaster with Sky Tracker I use this telescope only at major star parties as it is too big for one person to setup. It also requires a trailer to transport unless you have an Excursion or something similar. It barely fits in there, due to the long truss poles and a 12-foot ladder required. The primary was figured by Steve Swayze and is a very good sample. I was able to use 1200x at Mars during the 2003 Oregon Star Party. There was astounding detail and many folks yelled that "You gotta see Mars in the 30." Lastly, the Starmaster has the best customer support and best optics of any commercial made truss telescope in the market. Rick Singmaster personally tests each telescope as a system over several nights before it leaves his shop. The telescope is for sale - please inquire if you are interested at email@example.com
- 4" f/11 AstroTelescopes refractor This telescope is used mainly as a quick grab and go for quick views out of my backyard. This telescope features an ultra smooth focuser, feels very close to the famed Feathertouch, and excellent hand figured optics. During the 2010 Golden State Star Party, I viewed Jupiter at 450x and was astounded by the level of detail with no image breakdown. Yes, there is very little color in very bright objects. But the amount of color is less than expected in an f/11 system. Some folks commented that the views through this telescope rivals those through the famous 4" f/15 Unitrons. Here is a brief review of this refractor.
- 6" Takahashi TOA-150 apochomatic refractor I rarely use this telescope and it sits in my closet. That thing is heavy 45 pounds! Excellent color free optics. Here is a brief review of this refractor.
- Baader Genuine Orthoscopics (18, 12.5, 9, 7 and 5mm) I use these to fill in the holes between the Zeiss eyepieces. Great alternative to the Zeiss Abbe II’s as an entire set costs as much as one Zeiss ZAO-II eyepiece – used. The Baaders are excellent eyepieces and outperform the Ethos when it comes to the ability to see threshold objects, which is the best ultra wide-field eyepiece on the market now. A couple beginners at the 2009 Golden State Star Party saw more detail and background stars with the Baader than the Ethos. We compared a 6mm sample of both eyepieces along with the Zeiss ZAO-II. In actuality, the UO HD (same as Baader) is closer to the Zeiss than the Ethos. See results here (scroll to the bottom).
- Takahashi MC ortho 0.965" (25mm) Recently acquired and use this for large diffuse objects, such as dwarf galaxies, large planetaries, etc. I did a comparison between this and the University Optics 25mm volcano top orthoscopic and the Tak handily beat the UO.
Update: I've tried the 6mm TeleVue Delos under mag 7.5 skies at OSP 2011. To sum it up, I found that it noticeably outperforms the Ethos, but not the Zeiss, while observing extended objects, namely Hickson 99, component E (mag 17.7) and IC 1296 (a good low surface brightness galaxy by M-57)
- Televue Delos (14, 10, 8 and 6mm) The Televue Delos is now the deepest widefield I've ever tried so far. I'm slowly replacing my Ethos (not the 13mm) with Delos as more focal lengths are released. I may acquire a 4.5mm, but not sure yet as I can always barlow the 6 or 8mm Delos to achieve the desired magnification.
- Televue Panoptic
(24mm) This is my primary
finder eyepiece as I leave the 2"/1.25" adapter in my
focuser 100% of the time. This is the widest
practical 1.25" eyepiece.
Other Visual Accessories
- TMB Barlow 1.8x ED
Wow, this barlow is excellent. The coatings is so
well made that the glass is very hard to see under
normal light. The glass is made at the
famous Zeiss Jena facility and is regard by many to be
in the same league as the famed Zeiss barlow, a few
think it is actually even better. It has only two
elements in one group as far as I know! Someone on
CloudyNights.com has recently performed the transmission
test with a laser and sensor...has determined that the
TMB barlow has a greater than 99% transmission!
- Lumicon O-III
filter Workhorse planetary nebula filter
- Omega Optical NPB Filter
- outstanding filter and a great alternative to the
Ultrablock or Lumicon UHC filter. The stars appear
natural versus greenish as this filter also passes some
red. You can pick it up here
- Baader Moon and Skyglow filter - Interesting filter that really works in enhancing the lunar and planetary contrast. I have not tried it on deep sky objects yet.
still considering the AstroDon
Sloan G filter for visual use as my buddy,
Jimi, and I have found it effective for protoplanetaries
or objects like Hanny's Voorwerp (offical site of
discoverer or an
Contact me by email at alvin dot huey @
faintfuzzies period com
Components Aids Guides Observing Guides Reports