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Pons Tri-Space Unveiled

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#1 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 11:37 PM

Since there has been so much discussion about tri-spaces, I decided to pay grand master Pons a visit, specifically for you guys here on CN to enjoy. I will do my best to take you all through each photo. Words simply can not express the emotions and history behind Pons and his legacy. His designs and work are simply the best I've ever seen. Once his designs are drawn and finished, he takes them to the machinist and everything is made to the T and I mean everything.

Pons is an unusually talented man. I can stand there and watch him make a drafting sketch on a 2x2 table using nothing but a pencil, circle tool and a ruler and in ten minutes, the most brilliant masterpieces begin to form, whether it's a lens cell, a mount or any other telescope related part and it's almost bizarre that his mind works so swiftly.

I will show you guys pictures of the hand written letters from Roland Christen and the agony he went through to make such beautiful work come true and most of all, some of the most memorably etched, planetary views I've ever seen. Some of us remember the refractor vs. reflector thread, but the tri-space was an entire story in itself because by the time you finished the work and considered the time that went into the fabrication of the parts including the tri-space itself, you were about $12,000 deep. The tri-space produces zero magnification and utilises three elements cemented together. Roland said the work was so agonising at the time, that it would have actually been easier for him to make a three element objective lens instead, according to his letters I read from him. There are so many letters. People often ask me how Pons could afford all these things, but don't forget the time Pons took to create the work and have it made. He's been into this for 56 years now. I like to call Pons the Ponsmaster, because that's really what he is. Kids from the local church and schools would visit his house to view the Sun and Pons would educate them on the features they could see.

He's getting up there in age and sometimes I can't help but feel some emotion. The emotion of knowing that there are only a handful of individuals left from the classic era to look up to, a time when so much integrity went into the work. I asked Pons how he felt about today's work in the industry regarding planets. His response was that its odd to see so much processing with planets using computers and still being able to do it whether the scope had good optics or not. He said you couldn't get away with that back in the day. You had to design a good scope in order to see it good with your own eyes. Pons is a purist and he'll never see a computer in his life in fact he hasn't even seen the posts I've contributed to him. :bow:

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#2 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 11:38 PM

This is the cork that surrounds the glass.

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#3 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 11:41 PM

Once that's done, it is then inserted into it's cell. Notice thin cork inlay.

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#4 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 11:44 PM

That cell was designed by Pons and utilises a push-pull system and eventually looks like this.

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#5 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 11:54 PM

Next, it is placed in the tri-space cage, where it is eventually inserted into the massive refractor which Pons can alter from two different 8" F-20 doublets, a 9" F-18 doublet or the beautiful 10" F-16 Zeiss doublet, all of which I will show you here shortly, up close and personal. I've personally viewed with the 8" and 10" doublets in private with Pons, and they are amazingly sharp, really sharp man!

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#6 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 11:58 PM

Pons sits down to prepare the assembly.

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#7 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 12:03 AM

Another angle.

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#8 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 12:11 AM

The tri-space dimensions are about 2.5" thick x4". I asked Pons to let me have the honour of holding the beast. I felt a bit nervous holding it, but I also felt like the Terminator with a 200mm electric canon. Notice that the tri-space sits right in the center where it's clamped in. It can be adjusted to slide forward or backward if needed for the best color correction.

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#9 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 12:15 AM

Case for the Zeiss doublet

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#10 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 12:32 AM

There are four doublets here. I put my cell phone between them for comparison.

The 9" F-18 doublet on the left was designed by James G. Baker. The upper right is the 10" F-16 Zeiss doublet along with two additional 8" doublets objective. The 8" F-20 on the left was figured by Barry in a D&G cell but the upper brass piece was designed by Pons. The real zinger though is the 8" F-20 at the right. Pons is very attached to it and it was figured by George Carol. I've star tested this objective using a green filter and honestly can't tell which side is which after equilibration, which is really fast since the F-ratio is so long. The star test is that perfect. Pons doesn't care much for optical certifications unless it's for a specific purpose and he is strictly into the star test. It's all or nothing and it's obviously rubbed off on me since I feel the same way no matter what I'm testing.

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#11 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 12:36 AM

Pons classic Brandon brass sets for binoviewing.

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#12 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 12:45 AM

Next is the gorgeous white light solar wedges designed by Pons. Trust me, white light viewing takes on a whole new meaning with these things and this one is world class. I remember mornings after the shootouts at Charlton Flats where the group would wake up and battle it out with white light filters. To put it into perspective, I was using a 100mm mylar and these guys were masked down to 90mm's using the wedges and I was getting about 70% what they were getting.

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#13 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 12:48 AM

This next device is for measuring the angular separations of double stars and measuring features on the Sun etc.

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#14 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 12:52 AM

Next is the collimator which Pons also designed and had made to his specs. This is the actual tool he uses when he aligns his lenses during each setup of the Big Guns.

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#15 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 12:55 AM

A closer look at the tri-space.

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#16 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 12:58 AM

Adjustable brackets and a stop-bolt which prevents the tri-space from sliding all the way down and hitting the inner back cell.

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#17 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 01:00 AM

Pons said he's always been fond of the Feathertouch focuser, so he had them make one for him.

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#18 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 01:03 AM

A closer look and a clearer picture of the fine 10" F-16 Zeiss doublet.

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#19 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 01:05 AM

A letter from Roland to Pons regarding the development of the tri-space lens.

***Photo removed per TOS Violation***
Posting of private correspondences is not allowed

#20 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 01:08 AM

More hand written letters and notes from Roland and Pons from the 80's. So much to grasp. :tonofbricks:

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#21 blueman

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 01:10 AM

One word, WOW!
Blueman

#22 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 01:13 AM

Pons Brandon Box label, probably came around the time Pons was quoted in Vernonscope's S&T ads back in the 80's.

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#23 Nebhunter

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 01:18 AM

WOW is all I can say. Thank you for posting this. I was in dreamland reading it.

Men like Pons are few and far between.

Igor

#24 mustgobigger

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 01:26 AM

man thats awsome dan,
there must be 50,000 in lenses there and i would
feel privileged to look through any one of them.
oh well so much for my 4" unitron.
brian

#25 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 01:31 AM

And finally Pons, the way I will always remember him. A 56 year planetary/ATM veteran sorting out his most prized possessions. A man who took the time to sit down and teach me so many things I would have never understood without his guidance. Most people only know his eccentric side, but I've seen his patient side and it's amazing when he starts talking about telescopes and optics. A true visual purist and a good friend.

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