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Equipment Discussions >> Eyepieces

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Dan McConaughy
sage


Reged: 11/11/06

Loc: LA
Warm Eyepieces
      #5625466 - 01/15/13 11:46 PM

What are the benefits of keeping eyepieces warm? Are there any disadvantages?

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Scanning4Comets
Markus
*****

Reged: 12/26/04

Loc: Ontario, Canada
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: Dan McConaughy]
      #5625489 - 01/16/13 12:06 AM

Keeps dew off them.

Cheers,


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Starman1
Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)
*****

Reged: 06/24/03

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: Dan McConaughy]
      #5625492 - 01/16/13 12:07 AM

Well, actually warm might not be a good idea if you're going to pull them out to use at 0F. But warmer than the dewpoint/frostpoint is not a bad idea so the proximity of your warm, moist, eye doesn't cause immediate fogging.
You can accomplish that by merely keeping them in a case until used.


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Astrojensen
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Bornholm, Denmark
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: Starman1]
      #5625620 - 01/16/13 03:47 AM

If you're outside for a few hours or so, you'll need some kind of heat source in the case. I always observe from home and have many eyepieces, so I usually keep a couple inside, on top of the electric heating element. Nice 'n toasty! And stay free from dew for a while.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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SteveTheSwede
member


Reged: 09/28/09

Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #5625623 - 01/16/13 03:53 AM

When I observe from home I also keep them idoors (though not on a heater ). Also I tend to keep 2 ocular in my jacket pockets which keep them warm enough in the winter. Of course you need lots of pockets if you use lots of eyepieces.

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Sarkikos
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/18/07

Loc: Nyctophobia, Maryland, USA
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: SteveTheSwede]
      #5625704 - 01/16/13 07:01 AM

I've never bothered to heat the eyepiece case. Doesn't seem necessary to me. In fact, I don't think it is necessary. I've never seen an eyepiece fog up in transit from case to focuser. I keep the case closed until I need to take an eyepiece out. When one is in the focuser, I wrap a dew strip around it. If I take an eyepiece out of the focuser but I plan to use it again soon, I put it in the focuser rack with a cap on top of the eyepiece. No dew problem at all.

Mike


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5625745 - 01/16/13 08:14 AM

Quote:

I've never bothered to heat the eyepiece case. Doesn't seem necessary to me. In fact, I don't think it is necessary. I've never seen an eyepiece fog up in transit from case to focuser. I keep the case closed until I need to take an eyepiece out. When one is in the focuser, I wrap a dew strip around it. If I take an eyepiece out of the focuser but I plan to use it again soon, I put it in the focuser rack with a cap on top of the eyepiece. No dew problem at all.

Mike




I have never tried heating my case, I just keep it closed. Maybe it would help when it's cold and it's close to the dew point and the eyepieces are fogging up. Generally it is so dry that I see static electricity sparks whenever I touch anything but sometimes eyepiece fogging is a problem, particularly with friends. Seems less cumbersome that a dew heater.

I suspect Thomas on his island in the Baltic sea and Steve the Swede probably see colder conditions that most of us do so maybe they are onto something.

Jon

Edited by Jon Isaacs (01/16/13 08:15 AM)


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Dick Jacobson
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/22/06

Loc: Plymouth, Minnesota, USA
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5625786 - 01/16/13 08:51 AM

I keep my eyepieces in a little 6-pack or lunch sized Coleman cooler. This keeps them reasonably warm, dry, and clean without an additional heat source. I made a little rack out of hardboard with six 2-inch holes to keep the eyepieces standing upright. An alternate rack has four 2-inch and three 1.25-inch holes. The rack sits in the bottom of the cooler supported by four bolts. If you need additional heat you could throw in a chemical hand warmer, but I haven't found this necessary.

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Sarkikos
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/18/07

Loc: Nyctophobia, Maryland, USA
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: Dick Jacobson]
      #5625809 - 01/16/13 09:04 AM

A dew heater with dew strips is essential here in dewy Maryland, unless you want to bother with constantly wiping off the lenses or blasting them with a hair dryer. Dew will form eventually most nights on eyepieces when they are in the focuser. That's where the dew forms. I've never had an eyepiece dew up in the case.

In my area, you could go to the trouble of keeping eyepieces nice and toasty in the eyepiece case. But what's the use? You put one in the focuser, and on many nights, that eyepiece will be dewed over within an hour or so anyway. Heating the case seems like an exercise in futility to me. I would not bother with it. You want heat at the eyepiece while it's in the focuser! Heating it anywhere else is a waste of time.

Mike


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t.r.
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 02/14/08

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5625817 - 01/16/13 09:09 AM

Oh, I thought the topic was about "coffee tones" again!

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Sarkikos
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/18/07

Loc: Nyctophobia, Maryland, USA
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: t.r.]
      #5625820 - 01/16/13 09:12 AM

That's what I thought, too. Otherwise I might not have bothered.


Mike


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kevint1
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 04/19/11

Loc: West Michigan
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5625830 - 01/16/13 09:19 AM

I was out the other night in cold weather. The scope and eyepieces went from about 60 deg F to 20 and the scope needed quite a while to cool down. I set up the scope and went inside to keep warm. When I went back out and opened the eyepiece case the eyepieces were still warm. I was wondering do eyepieces experience the same cool down issues as refractors? If true, wouldn't this apply when keeping them warm inside the house and bringing them outside when observing?

Thanks,


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: kevint1]
      #5625878 - 01/16/13 09:46 AM

Only here will you find that part of your equipment must be cooled, while other pieces must be heated....

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dan_h
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/10/07

Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5626388 - 01/16/13 03:23 PM

Quote:

In my area, you could go to the trouble of keeping eyepieces nice and toasty in the eyepiece case. But what's the use? You put one in the focuser, and on many nights, that eyepiece will be dewed over within an hour or so anyway. Heating the case seems like an exercise in futility to me. I would not bother with it. You want heat at the eyepiece while it's in the focuser! Heating it anywhere else is a waste of time.

Mike




In this area, if you stick a cold eyepiece in the focuser and place a dew strap on it, you will have to wait for the eyepiece to warm up before you can look through it or it may very well fog up with first peek. Won't happen if the eyepiece case is heated. I get similar problems with my binos on many nights if I don't store them in a heated location. They may stay nice and clear right up to the moment I put them close to my eyes. Then they fog up almost instantly.

(The secret to successful ice fishing? Keep your worms warm!)

dan


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stevetaylor199
sage
*****

Reged: 09/21/11

Loc: SE Wisconsin
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: dan_h]
      #5626665 - 01/16/13 05:42 PM

I have the same problem as Dan, and it's really annoying me. I'm willing to use a dew heater for my objective, finder, hand controller, etc, but I find them a bit cumbersome on many eyepieces. I've got to find a way of keeping them warm - vest pockets aren't good enough in the winter, and I guess be disciplined enough to wrap them in dew heaters. (Because you can never have enough cables hanging around. )

The only other thing I can think of that could help reduce eyelens fogging under my eye is to use eyepieces with large eyelenses and/or lots of eye relief.


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Starman1
Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)
*****

Reged: 06/24/03

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: stevetaylor199]
      #5626740 - 01/16/13 06:26 PM

And remove the eyecups to keep air circulating between your eye and the eyepiece.

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rfic1
sage
*****

Reged: 10/25/05

Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: Starman1]
      #5626755 - 01/16/13 06:33 PM

For years I have been placing hand warmers in my eyepiece case. Works great.I put one or two in the case depending which size case I use. They are cheap, usually $1 for a pair and can be found at lots of stores. You can also buy them in bulk.

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Sarkikos
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/18/07

Loc: Nyctophobia, Maryland, USA
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: rfic1]
      #5626928 - 01/16/13 08:14 PM

I attach dew strips to three points on my scope: Telrad, optical finder eyepiece and the eyepiece that's in the focuser. You can get different widths of dew strips for eyepieces and even a special double-pronged attachment to fit under the Telrad's window. I don't find them cumbersome at all, just a bit of a bother to set up in the evening. But if I'm going to be at my dark site for five or six hours, dew control is a necessity.

For the finder's objective, I've made a dew/light shield out of black foam sheeting, ProtoStar and Velcro. Doesn't make sense to wrap a dew strip around a refractor's objective when passive dew control is sufficient. That simple dew shield keeps the dew off my finder's objective all night.

I tried something similar for my Telrad, but it obstructed the view. IME, active dew control is needed for a Telrad.

Mike


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stevetaylor199
sage
*****

Reged: 09/21/11

Loc: SE Wisconsin
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5627053 - 01/16/13 09:31 PM

Thanks for the tips gents!

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bigdob24
super member


Reged: 04/19/08

Loc: Central Illinois
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: stevetaylor199]
      #5629610 - 01/18/13 10:17 AM

I agree with the hand warmers.
I put two in my eyepiece box and keep the lid closed when not grabbing an eyepiece.
Its good for the whole night , I also have a dew strap at the scope for when they are in the scope.
Dan


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: bigdob24]
      #5629674 - 01/18/13 10:50 AM

So far have not been bothered with dew and have no dew strips/equipment. Not that we don't get dew here, we do occasionally. But it is usually not until just before daybreak...and I'm just not up that late (actually, I am, but only after I've been asleep, as I'm usually up before it gets light to go to work.)

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Scanning4Comets
Markus
*****

Reged: 12/26/04

Loc: Ontario, Canada
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5629740 - 01/18/13 11:17 AM

I wonder if it would help putting a hand warmer on the eyepiece by using an elastic band to secure it on the eyepiece, (the side of course), ?? Hmmmmm....Has anybody tried this?

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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: Scanning4Comets]
      #5629842 - 01/18/13 12:10 PM

That would probably cause thermals as it would be too much heat. Now, throw that handwarmer into a closed eyepiece case......

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Sarkikos
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/18/07

Loc: Nyctophobia, Maryland, USA
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5629906 - 01/18/13 12:53 PM

All of this depends on where you observe. If you are in a dewy area - the East Coast of the USA, for instance - you really need dew control on the eyepieces when they're in the focuser. Whether or not you warm the eyepieces while they're still in the case is pretty much irrelevent. I wouldn't waste my time with it. In fact, I don't.

Maybe farther north, heating the eyepiece case would make more sense. And out west, in the drier states of the USA, maybe dew control for the eyepieces is not needed at all.

Any observer with a little experience should know what they need or don't need in their area in terms of dew control. There's no sense having observers from different climates debate what's needed - that's going to vary from area to area.

But I know for a fact that in my area, you really need dew control at the telescope, not in the equipment box. Dew can be prevented actively or passively. For most nights here - if you're going to observe longer than just an hour or so - you better have active dew control on an eyepiece in the focuser, the eyepiece of the finder, and the Telrad.

Here in Maryland, a hand-warmer or two in the eyepiece case won't cut it. You best keep those hand warmers in your pocket. That's just the way it is.

Mike


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dan_h
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/10/07

Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: Starman1]
      #5629985 - 01/18/13 01:51 PM

Quote:

And remove the eyecups to keep air circulating between your eye and the eyepiece.




You can buy high end goggles for alpine skiing that have tiny little fans built into the sides to blow a gentle stream of air in front of your eyes to keep the goggles from fogging. Maybe that's what we need for our eyepieces!

dan


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dan_h
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/10/07

Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: Scanning4Comets]
      #5630005 - 01/18/13 02:05 PM

Quote:

I wonder if it would help putting a hand warmer on the eyepiece by using an elastic band to secure it on the eyepiece, (the side of course), ?? Hmmmmm....Has anybody tried this?




The chemical hand warmers do their best when in an enclosed space that will trap the heat such as a coat pocket or in an eyepiece case. Out in the open they don't hold up to the task very well. Having said that, I have used them inside a refractor dew shield by laying them along the lower edge and they did the job for me in a pinch. They will stop dew, they won't clear it once it starts. I have hand warmers under the eyepieces of a pair of binos and they were completely ineffective as the eyelenses fogged up as soon as I tried to look through them.

There are supplies of reuseable chemical heaters that put out a lot more heat than the little hand warmers. You can find some in a camping section of a sports store or in the baby section of some department stores. Boil the heaters to charge them. Shake them up to activate. You can get a wrap around model that is made to warm up baby bottles. (Should fit a 17mm T4 rather well.)

dan


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Sarkikos
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/18/07

Loc: Nyctophobia, Maryland, USA
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: dan_h]
      #5630010 - 01/18/13 02:07 PM

I haven't had much of a problem - if at all - with eyepieces fogging from my body heat or breath. That just doesn't happen for me. Maybe the key is to breath slowly but deeply when looking in an eyepiece? Don't huff and puff.

In general, I keep the eyecups on my eyepieces and try to add them to eyepieces that don't already have eyecups. Even for my little flat-top short focal-length eyepieces, I like to attach a shallow eyecup to help center my eye and shield it from ambient light.

Mike


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Sarkikos
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/18/07

Loc: Nyctophobia, Maryland, USA
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: dan_h]
      #5630019 - 01/18/13 02:16 PM

Dan,

Quote:

Having said that, I have used them [hand warmers] inside a refractor dew shield by laying them along the lower edge and they did the job for me in a pinch. They will stop dew, they won't clear it once it starts.




The best method to prevent dewing on a refractor objective is to make a longer dew shield for it. The dew shields supplied with most refractors are not long enough to keep dew from forming on the objective lens - at least in my area. Make them from black foam core, line them with ProtoStar or similar, and close it tight with Velcro strips. The ProtoStar or similar lining is important not only for glare prevention but to trap the dew and keep it from rolling down onto the objective.

I also make these for my binocular objectives. Easy to do and cheap.

When I have these home-made dew shields on a finder scope, refractor telescope or binoculars, dew will absolutely never form on the objectives, no matter how dewy the night is or how long the optics are exposed to the night air. Not gonna' happen'.

Mike


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Dick Jacobson
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/22/06

Loc: Plymouth, Minnesota, USA
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: Scanning4Comets]
      #5630534 - 01/18/13 08:20 PM

Quote:

I wonder if it would help putting a hand warmer on the eyepiece by using an elastic band to secure it on the eyepiece, (the side of course), ?? Hmmmmm....Has anybody tried this?



I have a friend who uses this method all the time. And this is Minnesota, so it should work anywhere.

I've often wondered if it would be practical to make an electrically heated focuser, or would the power demand be too great?


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Sarkikos
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/18/07

Loc: Nyctophobia, Maryland, USA
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: Dick Jacobson]
      #5630581 - 01/18/13 09:02 PM

We have electrically heated focusers now - you just have to wrap a dew strip around the focuser.


Mike


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mich_al
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/10/09

Loc: Rural central lower Michigan ...
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5631210 - 01/19/13 09:38 AM

Quote:

We have electrically heated focusers now - you just have to wrap a dew strip around the focuser.


Mike




Tha's what I do but I question the sanity of it. The dew strip is a few Watts, wraped around an exposed piece of metal that is thermally coupled to an exposed OTA with enough surface area to radiate alot more than a few Watts.
How much of that energy goes to warm the eyepiece, even with a dew strip on the eyepiece. Seems like a loosing battle.


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Dick Jacobson
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/22/06

Loc: Plymouth, Minnesota, USA
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: mich_al]
      #5631219 - 01/19/13 09:47 AM

Quote:

Quote:

We have electrically heated focusers now - you just have to wrap a dew strip around the focuser.


Mike



Tha's what I do but I question the sanity of it. The dew strip is a few Watts, wraped around an exposed piece of metal that is thermally coupled to an exposed OTA with enough surface area to radiate alot more than a few Watts.
How much of that energy goes to warm the eyepiece, even with a dew strip on the eyepiece. Seems like a loosing battle.



A well designed electrically heated focuser would heat the drawtube but as little else as possible. Maybe there would be resistive heating elements embedded in the drawtube, and some kind of insulation between the drawtube and the focuser body. Sounds like an interesting project if there are any machinists out there reading this.


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dan_h
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/10/07

Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: Dick Jacobson]
      #5631331 - 01/19/13 11:05 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

We have electrically heated focusers now - you just have to wrap a dew strip around the focuser.


Mike



Tha's what I do but I question the sanity of it. The dew strip is a few Watts, wraped around an exposed piece of metal that is thermally coupled to an exposed OTA with enough surface area to radiate alot more than a few Watts.
How much of that energy goes to warm the eyepiece, even with a dew strip on the eyepiece. Seems like a loosing battle.



A well designed electrically heated focuser would heat the drawtube but as little else as possible. Maybe there would be resistive heating elements embedded in the drawtube, and some kind of insulation between the drawtube and the focuser body. Sounds like an interesting project if there are any machinists out there reading this.




If you heat the focuser tube, the eyepiece will still dew up and that is the problem you want to fix. You will need to apply a lot of heat to the focuser to effectively prevent eyepiece dew. Sounds like a recipe to create thermal problems. This is a case where less is better.

Put a dew strap on the eyepiece as needed and be done with it.

dan


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Sarkikos
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/18/07

Loc: Nyctophobia, Maryland, USA
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: mich_al]
      #5631372 - 01/19/13 11:25 AM

Quote:

Tha's what I do but I question the sanity of it. The dew strip is a few Watts, wraped around an exposed piece of metal that is thermally coupled to an exposed OTA with enough surface area to radiate alot more than a few Watts.
How much of that energy goes to warm the eyepiece, even with a dew strip on the eyepiece. Seems like a loosing battle.




Are we really worried about wasting a few watts of electricity? Are we going to having Green Telescopes now? I hope not.

I think convenience, adaptability and lowering initial costs are more important than wasting a few pennies in electricty. IME, my rechargeable 12v battery lasts at least eight hours. That's good enough for me.

Also, if we heat the focuser or other integral parts of the OTA internally, then we have a good chance of introducing thermals into the optical system. Definitely not a good thing. We should keep application of heat to the telescope to a minimum. I'll stick with the dew strips.


Mike


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andyrud
member


Reged: 05/21/07

Loc: Philo, California
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: Dan McConaughy]
      #5631551 - 01/19/13 01:09 PM

New guy here.

Could somebody explain what causes dew and also what is dew point?

Thanks in advance,
Andy R


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Starman1
Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)
*****

Reged: 06/24/03

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: andyrud]
      #5631677 - 01/19/13 02:32 PM

Quote:

New guy here.

Could somebody explain what causes dew and also what is dew point?

Thanks in advance,
Andy R



Simple.
Cold air has less ability to contain water vapor than warm air.
So, as the night cools, eventually the water vapor content of the air becomes too high for the colder air to sustain and the water vapor condenses out on cold surfaces.
If the air is dry, that point could be at a very cold temperature. In fact, it may never get to that cold a temperature, hence, no dew. That is often the case in the desert or mountains in the Southwest.
If the air is moist, the condensation point might be reached with only a few degrees drop in air temperature.

Since horizontal surfaces exposed to the sky are radiating heat into space, and space is not radiating heat back, those surfaces become cold and it is on those surfaces dew first condenses.
Vertical surfaces radiate, most of the time, into the nearby environment which, in turn, is radiating heat right back. So those surfaces cool more slowly and are the last surfaces to get dew on them (in case you wondered why the top of your car got dew before the sides).

So, dewpoint is the temperature at which water vapor can no longer be carried by the air and below which the air must shed water. This is why the relative humidity rises at night, because humidity is related to the ability of the air to carry moisture. Hot air can carry more moisture, so if the absolute humidity (the amount of water vapor in the air) doesn't change, the relative humidity will be highest at night and lowest in the peak temperature of the daytime.

Hope I explained it well enough.


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andyrud
member


Reged: 05/21/07

Loc: Philo, California
Re: Warm Eyepieces new [Re: Starman1]
      #5632118 - 01/19/13 07:43 PM

Very good explanation Starman.

Thanks,
Andy R


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