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Entry: Astronomy:Equipment Reviews:Eyepiece Reviews:GTO Proxima 31mm

I think this eyepiece is going to redefine "FOV", especially for those Deep Space Objects usually described as "best in binoculars" in stargazing books. I've had mine for about a month but due to poor seeing (mostly cloudy, with lots of extra humidity) in the Dallas area since I bought it I haven't been able to use it but the past three nights.

I've used it in my Stellarvue AT1010 f6 refractor (wonderful wide-field star fields) and in my Celestron G8N 8" f5 Newtonian.

Both of these are fast, short focal-length scopes. So you get a moving black smudge of an image of the secondary in the Newt if your eye is not right at the focal plane of the eyepiece, which is rather snug up against the folding rubber eyecup. You can eliminate this by moving in close and holding still. The extra FOV is worth it, since in the 8" I get 33 X with this eyepiece.

In the refractor it's fine.

Even in the 8" you can still fit the entire Pleiades asterism in a single FOV with a little room to spare. I've never seen it as well before, and I have some very nice binoculars. I can't wait to take this on vacation to Colorado and some really dark, dry skies! Gary at Hands On Optics has a real winner here.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:9 Value:10
Weight: 10
Date: 07/22/2002 12:11:31 pm PST

Replies: 0


Entry: Astronomy:Equipment Reviews:Eyepiece Reviews:Harry Siebert Optics Ultra 9mm, 2 inch

This is an amazing piece of glass. Harry's done it again. Fit and finish is good, but the view is just superb. Imagine the moon at 55X and it doesn't even fill the FOV! That's in my StellarVue AT1010 80mm F6. Imagine the moon at 110X and it doesn't fill the FOV!! (That's in my Celestron G8N 200mm F5. You just don't expect this kind of eye-relief-forgiving view with a 9mm. It's hard to believe until you see it. I cannot WAIT to get to a dark sky site to try this on a star field! Very nice job. Delivered USPO insured, well packed, and in a nice custom belt pouch with Velcro closure.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Value:10
Weight: 10
Date: 07/19/2002 06:20:53 am PST

Replies: 0


Entry: Astronomy:Equipment Reviews:Telescope Reviews:Stellarvue AT1010 (OTA)

This little scope is incredible. You MUST try one to understand just how good it is. I give public star parties about once a month (adult continuing education) and I usually have three telescopes set up at the same time. I've been doing this for some time now, but for the last two months (since I got the AT1010) the longest line is always behind the Stellarvue. The 8" Newtonian "wins" on deep-sky objects because of its greater light-gathering power, but on everything else the better optics and higher contrast of the Stellarvue win hands down. I have never seen better views through a small telescope. I also just acquired some Vixen LV eyepieces and have ordered my first Televue Nagler just because of this scope. It seemed a shame to have such a great refractor and not put some better eyepiece glass in it.
I have an engineer friend who is very smitten with the Stellarvue. He raves about the quality of machining and assembly compared to other telescopes. When he comes to the star parties I practically have to kick him to use anything else.
Technically, I haven't found any objectionable false color. It simply isn't there at all on planetary views. I can't see any edge-to-edge light or focus falloff along the lunar terminator, either. I considered ordering an minus-violet filter with it, but didn't, and now I find I don't need it.
If you're looking for the best introductory experience, I'd recommend the AT1010 with a couple of Harry Siebert eyepieces (the 7mm is my favorite).
To top it all off, Vic is now occasionally offering the AT1010 OTA on eBay! That's how I got mine. At the time, I was looking at the Orion 120ST rich-field ... same price range, similar features. I had used the Orion at a star party given by a local dealer and was impressed. So when I found the Stellarvue at about $100 less as an OTA (I already had an extra CG-5 mount with motor), I was worried about the difference in size. I shouldn't have: the views through the AT1010 are very much better than through the Orion even given the difference in aperture.
Try it ... you'll like it. A red-dot finder, star diagonal, 40mm Plossl, mount rings, and an easy-to-set up, portable scope ... all for under $400 including shipping. Amazing.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Ease of Use:9 Value:10
Weight: 10
Date: 07/08/2002 04:31:56 am PST

Replies: 0


Entry: Astronomy:Places To Buy:Hands On Optics

Gary is tops, in my book. I discovered Hands On Optics on eBay, but quickly learned that he not only offers great deals via auctions, but similar bargains -- even on hard-to-find items--at the store web site. My orders have always been filled promptly and packed well for shipment. His phone support is absolutely the best and he's so knowledgeable that he's steered me away from items that weren't precisely what I needed and toward items (even once to a different vendor!) that were. Great place to do business. At my public star parties I always mention Hands On Optics as the place to start shopping on the web. Jeff Barton, Dallas.

Overall Rating: 10
Price:10 Service:10
Weight: 10
Date: 07/08/2002 03:38:19 am PST

Replies: 0


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