Home / NEAF Travelog: Part 2
by Tom Trusock 05/02/11 | Email Author
Voice your opinion about this topic in the forums
NEAF Part 2
2011 - Part 2
Welcome to Part 2 of the annual NEAF travelog - if you missed part 1,
you can find it here.
This year, we took some suggestions from members before the show as to
who to talk to. One of the people most requested was Don Yeier.
For those completely unfamiliar
with him, his name is synonymous with Brandon and Vernonscope. In
my interview with Don - who incidentally seems to be one of the worlds
nicest folks (that seems to be the rule, not the exception in
astronomy), he's hand assembled most of these eyepieces himself over
the years. Assembly time varies for several reasons, but he's
estimated he's personally put together somewhere around 500,000
eyepieces for Questar, Amateurs and the US Military. I have to
admit I was pretty tempted to put in an order for a set, but my
personal fiscal situation is looking fairly insecure for the near
future, so that's going to have to wait a bit.
My friend Normand Fullum was
unfortunately absent this year due to some unforeseen tragic
circumstances, but several of his friends came to run the booth
for him. If you've never seen his gear in person, you really owe
it to yourself to do so at some point - it's truly art.
SV was there, and according to
Vic, had an excellent show. Most of their products were gone by
the time we did the walk through at the end of the first day.
Of course the three US print
magazines were there - Astronomy, S&T and Astronomy Technology
Today. I must admit to having a special place in my heart for
both the guys from Astronomy and ATT. I (on occasion) have been
known to contribute to Astronomy, and having worked with them, can
attest to the fact that they are a great bunch of guys. ATT got
it's start largely due to CN, so I have something of a family feel
where they are concerned, and it's always great to see them. Aw
heck, and for that matter, I've got lots of friends who write for
S&T as well. Three fine magazines.
William Yang was there, and we had
a chance to do an interview with him. WO has reopened their
offices in the US, and William showed me some of his (very beautiful)
Of course, no NEAF would be
complete for me without a stop by Tom Peters Discmounts booth.
I've known Tom for several years now, and remain convinced that - with
money no object - he makes the best alt-az mount on the market.
There were several discmounts floating around the floor, so I suspect
other folks there feel the same way.
Explore Scientific was there this
year - although sans fish tank for underwater demonstrations.
They did have a new prototype mount that looked extremely
promising. I've long felt that the EQ mount market was under
exploited, and am glad to see some new options coming to light.
And of course Astronomics / TMB
were there with a massive multimedia booth. Astronomics has just
started importing the russian Mak-Newts, Mak-Cass telescopes. And
at amazing prices. They had an Intes Alter 603 and a 615 at the
show for a mere $1200. The 503 and various Mak Newts were even
And then of course, there's that
staple of NEAF - Tele Vue.
One thing you can't argue with -
Tele Vue consistently produces some of the most desirable gear on the
market. Many of us wondered how they could possibly top the Ethos
line up tho. I mean, flat field, true color rendition,
exceptional contrast and high throughput - how could you top it?
Well, the Ethos is lacking in one area - eye relief. This year (a
couple of days before the show actually) Tele Vue announced their
latest line of eyepieces - Delos. These are dioptrix compatible,
have a 72 apparent field, an extremely flat (and large eye lens) and 20
mm of eye relief.
How are the views? Amazing. See the 5$ bill taped to the
focuser? They had another on the wall 20-30 feet away, and you
could easily make out more low contrast detail on the distant bill than
the one mere inches from your eyes. Additionally, the huge eye
lens really lends itself to an immersive viewing experience, and the
new adjust system for determining spacing is sure to please everyone -
infinite adjustment possibilities, quick positioning, and no grease.
Before you ask, no - they aren't planning on replacing the Radians or
the Panoptics with these, at least immediately - Al and David told me
they would wait to see what the market wanted. Had a great
interview with them on Sunday as well - watch for it to come up in the
archives if you didn't get a chance to see it live.
I don't often say this, but IMO
two of the most interesting products at the show this year were from
Celestron. Both on the low end of the price range. One,
their intro level computerized scope incorporates technology that for
the first time makes it truly easy for beginner to operate.
Their Sky Prodigy line of gear incorporates a camera to assist with
alignment, and ensure a good out of the box experience for any beginner
- and in a move many of us will like - note that the mounts themselves
will take vixen style dovetails.
Below is a shot of the camera used
to help align the telescope.
Another product with a lot of potential is their NexGuide
autoguider. This inexpensive autoguider eliminates the need for a
It's small and light enough to mount on nearly anything.
Coming soon: Part 3!
- Gear, Gear and More Gear
- The Solar Star Party
- The New Portaball
- A camera that will monitor everything - and I mean
- Some new entries in the Alt/Az mount region
- Some stuff from and for our favorite imagers
- And more!