|Entry: Astronomy:Places To Buy:Anacortes Telescope & Wild Bird|
I have made two purchases here, and would describe the experience as unremarkable in a good sort of way. What I mean by that is that I knew exactly what I wanted, and they executed the orders flawlessly. I did not haggle on price and can only offer a middle of the road five score on that item.
Overall Rating: 9
Date: 02/25/2004 05:58:12 am PST
Entry: Astronomy:Equipment Reviews:Eyepiece Reviews:TeleVue Panoptic 35mm
It is really hard to say enough good things about this eyepiece. I originally purchased it about 18 months ago in order to extract the maximum field of view from a 10 inch f/10 SCT. The 35mm Panoptic does exactly that, providing a [theoretical] one degree true field through this 2500mm instrument. Owners of the more typical 8 inch f/10 SCT can expect nearly 1.2 degrees of true field. That is enough to take in the M81/M82 galaxy pair, although the quarters are a little tight for my personal preferences. Nevertheless, the sight of two bright galaxies in the same field of view is worth the price of admission for this eyepiece and the necessary upgrades for a 2 inch format.
This eyepiece really came into its own for me when I later acquired a 4 inch f/8.6 refractor. The view through this combination provides an impressive 2.6 degrees of true field. Putting this field into a real perspective, M31 fits into this field of view from a dark sky location (magnitude 7). The two bright stars of Lyra's paralleogram neighboring M57 easily fit within the field.
The 35mm Panoptic has earned a place as one of two "must have" eyepieces with this telescope, the other being a 17mm Nagler Type 4. The greatest enjoyment I have found with this eyepiece is panning the Milky Way with my refractor from a dark sky location. It is an incredible experience to start near Sagittarius and Scorpius and then work your way up towards Cygnus. For some reason it is a lot more fun to simply happen upon a cluster or nebula within the rich star fields of the Milky Way than it is to simply go looking for the object. Try it - you'll like it.
One final word. There are reports of people experiencing a seasick feeling while panning around with this eyepiece. I have never experienced this sensation, but as always, your mileage may vary.
Overall Rating: 10
Date: 11/08/2002 04:28:08 pm PST
Entry: Astronomy:Equipment Reviews:Telescope Reviews:Stellarvue 102EDT
I had a chance to look through this scope at NEAF this weekend. It wouldn't be fair for me to offer numerical votes since I could only test the scope indoors at a range of 100 yards. Hopefully the comments will prove useful nonetheless. As a further qualification to these comments, I own a TV-102, which is a 4" apochromatic refractor retailing for about $900 more than this StellarVue product.
Appearance: the scope is very attractive, with good detail to fit an finish. The optical tube and dew shield have a shiny or glossy finish in comparisson to a TeleVue scope. The OTA was noticably shorter than a nearby TV/NP-101. It should be easy to transport as carry on luggage.
Features: The 2" focuser is made by JMI specifically for StellarVue. It has the ability to rotate 360 degrees, which allows the focus knobs to stay perpendicular to your viewing angle. This is a little more intuitive than what you get with other refractors when rotating the diagonal inside of the focuser. The focuser itself is a two speed Crayford design. One knob attaches directly to the adjusting shaft, whereas the other passes through a reduction gear first.
I tried this focuser on an illuminated red "EXIT" sign covered with a safety glass containg a 1/2" wire screen. Later I repeated the test from the TeleVue booth using a TV-102. The StellarVue was easier to focus, but it lacked that buttery feel of the televue focuser. I think this focuser might really shine at powers over 200X.
Optics: this is a tough one due to the limitations of an indoor test. The optics appeared to be tack sharp. There was no noticable difference between the center and edge of field when focusing in on the wire mesh in that safety glass, and no noticable field curvature. The optics looked extremely promising in this limited test!
If the color correction is as advertised, then this scope looks to be an exceptional value. Be sure to put this scope on your list when considering 4" airline portable refractors. Highly recommended based upon my brief impressions.
Overall Rating: No Vote
Date: 05/20/2002 03:03:20 am PST
Entry: Astronomy:Places To Buy:AstroPTX - Wholesale Optics
I made two purchases from AstroPTX (a.k.a. Pauli's Wholesale Optics), including eyepieces, filters, and a CG-5 mount. Both orders were executed flawlessly and in a timely fashion. This guy has the lowest advertised prices I have been able to find on the web. In the case of many big ticket items like Go To scopes, the price is simply listed as "please call". It's really a shame he doesn't carry the TeleVue line, or I would have plced several more orders with him.
The AstroPTX website is a price list and nothing more. The website does not support online orders. Do your homework elesewhere and then drop buy for a reality check on the pricing.
Calling AstroPTX can be an exercise in patience. The phone line is usually busy. I have found that email questions are always answered, but it can take anywhere from 1-3 days. I've always spoken with the same guy, so this may be a one-man shop.
The guy I have dealt with on the phone has rather obvious New York City accent and mannerisms. Some may find this rude, but I didn't. He seems to be in a hurry (typical NYC mannerism), and yet he still takes the time to question you if he senses that you are ordering the wrong thing.
In summary, this is really a good place to call if you want to save some money and you have the patience to wait out a few busy signals. I often wonder how much I would have saved had I ordered my SCT here.
Overall Rating: 8
Date: 05/15/2002 01:40:24 am PST
Entry: Astronomy:Equipment Reviews:Eyepiece Reviews:TeleVue Radian 4mm
I purchased this as a planetary eyepiece for use with a 4 inch / 880mm refractor. The purchase was also based on very favorable experience with both the 6mm and 10mm Radians, and the expectations that they would all perform pretty much the same way.
Reality hasn't matched expectations in this case. The 4mm Radian seems to be very unforgiving in terms of off-axis eye placement. The kidney bean blackout effect is much worse in the 4mm. I find both the 6mm and 10mm Radians quite simple and a joy to use in comparisson to the 4mm.
Once you get past the eye placement / ease of use issue, this is a very fine eyepiece. Sharpness and contrast are similar to the other Radians. I write this review only to warn others that the 4mm behaves a little differently than some of it's longer focal length sibblings.
Overall Rating: 9
Date: 05/14/2002 04:11:02 pm PST