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Equipment Discussions >> Reflectors

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Astrosetz
professor emeritus


Reged: 10/05/03

Loc: Wisconsin
RIP Peter Smitka, creator of the Porta-Ball
      #6144006 - 10/17/13 11:54 PM

Peter Smitka, who many will remember as the creator of the Porta-Ball reflecting telescope and proprietor of Mag-1 Instruments until he sold the business in 2007, passed away a few days ago from complications related to leukemia. I don't have more details and an obituary hasn't been posted online yet, but more information will become available in the coming days. Just didn't see anything posted on CN and thought folks would like to know.

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sqrlman
member
*****

Reged: 01/02/08

Re: RIP Peter Smitka, creator of the Porta-Ball new [Re: Astrosetz]
      #6144050 - 10/18/13 12:33 AM

Sad to hear this. I remember him from Astrofest and Hidden Hollow.

Steve


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Mr. Marbles
professor emeritus


Reged: 04/23/05

Loc: Saratoga Springs, NY
Re: RIP Peter Smitka, creator of the Porta-Ball new [Re: sqrlman]
      #6144124 - 10/18/13 01:47 AM

RIP

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Erik Bakker
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 08/10/06

Loc: The Netherlands, Europe
Re: RIP Peter Smitka, creator of the Porta-Ball new [Re: Astrosetz]
      #6144136 - 10/18/13 01:58 AM

That is very sad news. R.I.P. Peter.
And thanks for creating those wonderful Portaballs. The first time I saw one, the 14.5", I was very impressed. What a unique and elegant design with great optics!


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Astrojensen
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Bornholm, Denmark
Re: RIP Peter Smitka, creator of the Porta-Ball new [Re: Astrosetz]
      #6144203 - 10/18/13 03:14 AM

Sad news, another great person in our hobby has joined the eternal star party on the other side.

RIP.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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Chucky
sage
*****

Reged: 04/16/10

Loc: Dublin, Ohio
Re: RIP Peter Smitka, creator of the Porta-Ball new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #6144268 - 10/18/13 05:21 AM

I talked to him at several large star parties and always thought good things about Peter. Really sad to hear this news.

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Jarad
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/28/03

Loc: Atlanta, GA
Re: RIP Peter Smitka, creator of the Porta-Ball new [Re: Chucky]
      #6144303 - 10/18/13 06:34 AM

Very sorry to hear this. He has a very nice guy, came up with a great design and really supported his product and owners of his scopes.

Jarad


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SkyRanger
super member
*****

Reged: 10/21/10

Loc: Prescott Valley, AZ
Re: RIP Peter Smitka, creator of the Porta-Ball new [Re: Jarad]
      #6144354 - 10/18/13 08:03 AM

Thanks, Peter, for the two wonderful scopes you made for me!

Gordon G


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Sgt
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 12/17/05

Loc: Under the southern horn of the...
Re: RIP Peter Smitka, creator of the Porta-Ball new [Re: SkyRanger]
      #6144835 - 10/18/13 12:53 PM

RIP. People who didn't know or deal with him, like me, will remember his legacy of innovative and COOL scopes.

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ckwastro
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/23/05

Loc: Tempe, AZ
Re: RIP Peter Smitka, creator of the Porta-Ball new [Re: Sgt]
      #6145261 - 10/18/13 05:13 PM

Very sad. RIP Peter.

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okieav8rAdministrator
I'd rather be flying!
*****

Reged: 03/01/09

Loc: Oklahoma!
Re: RIP Peter Smitka, creator of the Porta-Ball new [Re: ckwastro]
      #6145284 - 10/18/13 05:29 PM

I'm sad to hear of Peter Smitka's passing. He certainly was an innovator!

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Tom TAdministrator

*****

Reged: 02/26/02

Re: RIP Peter Smitka, creator of the Porta-Ball new [Re: okieav8r]
      #6146461 - 10/19/13 11:17 AM

His FB page is here:

https://www.facebook.com/peter.smitka?fref=ts


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Diana N
member


Reged: 07/10/12

Loc: Nebraska
Re: RIP Peter Smitka, creator of the Porta-Ball new [Re: Tom T]
      #6146479 - 10/19/13 11:26 AM

RIP, Peter. You changed the face of amateur astronomy with your wonderful scopes, and those of us who are lucky enough to have one won't forget you!

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Tom TAdministrator

*****

Reged: 02/26/02

Re: RIP Peter Smitka, creator of the Porta-Ball new [Re: Diana N]
      #6146653 - 10/19/13 12:55 PM

There is a CN interview and visit to Mag 1 located here:

http://www.cloudynights.com/item.php?item_id=1306


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Bill Jensen
sage
*****

Reged: 10/23/04

Loc: Springfield VA
Re: RIP Peter Smitka, creator of the Porta-Ball new [Re: Tom T]
      #6147495 - 10/19/13 09:56 PM

very sorry to see this, Peter was a wonderful guy. I owned 3 of his scopes at one time or another, the 8, 10, and old 12 inch scopes. He was very supportive of his customers. I was glad to have met him once while picking up one of the scopes, and then other times at star parties, including hidden hollow.

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azure1961p
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/17/09

Loc: USA
Re: RIP Peter Smitka, creator of the Porta-Ball new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #6147615 - 10/19/13 11:14 PM

Quote:

Sad news, another great person in our hobby has joined the eternal star party on the other side.

RIP.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark




Well said Thomas. I'm curious as to why the ball thing hasn't take off even more. I know its not the cheapest way to go but its one of the most efficient and elegant at that.

Clear sky's Mr. Smitka.

Pete


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Lamb0
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/25/07

Loc: South Eastern(ish) Nebraska
Re: RIP Peter Smitka, creator of the Porta-Ball new [Re: azure1961p]
      #6147835 - 10/20/13 03:54 AM

Aside from co$t like any premium scope, the Portaball is weight sensitive so balancing a widely varied heft of glassmongery can be problematic. As many of us prefer 1 or 2 reference axes it may be easy to get lost with a Portaball when star hopping; but if you are comfortable with no reference axis you're good to go.

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sparkyht
super member
*****

Reged: 11/10/07

Loc: 43N 89W
Re: RIP Peter Smitka, creator of the Porta-Ball new [Re: Lamb0]
      #6147994 - 10/20/13 08:32 AM

I knew him when I was a MAS member back in the late 80s/early 90s. Seems like yesterday when he revealed his first Portaball to us at the member meetings. He was a great guy and an innovator who loved sharing his passion with others. R.I.P. Peter.

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Full Sun
super member
*****

Reged: 11/19/06

Loc: Ontario
Re: RIP Peter Smitka, creator of the Porta-Ball new [Re: sparkyht]
      #6148797 - 10/20/13 06:00 PM

Peter was a great person! My experience with him was all positive. He would go an extra mile for his clients, in my case about 600 miles...
The Portaball was/ is just about the simplest high quality , user friendly telescope that money can buy.
Peter saw the big picture , I just hope his last few years were good ones.


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GeneT
Ely Kid
*****

Reged: 11/07/08

Loc: South Texas
Re: RIP Peter Smitka, creator of the Porta-Ball new [Re: Astrosetz]
      #6148870 - 10/20/13 06:34 PM

Truly sad news. I did not know he was ill. Peter built my 12.5 inch Portaball about 18 years ago. It is the favorite telescope I have ever owned. I have bought and sold several telescopes along the way, but my Portaball is my keeper.

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