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Posts Made By: Barry Fernelius

March 6, 2004 08:00 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Crazy Eyepiece Prices

Posted By Barry Fernelius


Your original question was:
AP eyepieces- $249?!
Monocentrics- $200?!
Pentax XOs- $339?!

What am I not understanding about the construction of these that would warrant their prices...?
After reading the entire thread to date, it seems that what you're not understanding is pretty much everything that goes into the manufacturing of a high quality product.

Why don't you make a serious inquiry into what it would require to design an excellent planetary eyepiece and have it manufactured by subcontractors (just like Tele Vue) to meet exacting standards? If it's as easy as you claim, you'll be able to add a bit of marketing BS, and make a fortune. If it doesn't turn out to be so easy, maybe you'll quit taking the great selection of quality eyepieces for granted.

April 2, 2004 02:17 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Mag 1 portaballs

Posted By Barry Fernelius

Mark, I used to own an 8" Portaball. I used it for over a year, and I sat down and thought about all of its good points and bad points. I concluded that I should sell my 8" Portaball... after I could find a 12.5" Portaball to use instead!

I sold my 8" Portaball through Astromart, but I'm guessing that many Portaball sales never happen on Astromart. (I was fortunate to purchase my 12.5" Portaball through S&S Optika, a fine telescope dealer in Denver, Colorado.)

If your interest is visual observing, any of the Portaballs, equipped with superb Zambuto mirrors, should bring you years of pleasure. I can honestly state that my 12.5" Mag1 Portaball is a perfect balance of aperture, optical quality and ease of use. For me, a Portaball on a tracking platform is the perfect personal observing system.

If you're not sure about these telescopes, there may be an owner near you who'd be happy to share an evening of observing with you. (I'm located in Colorado.)

May 13, 2004 03:52 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Best book about binocular astronomy ?

Posted By Barry Fernelius

How about _Binocular Astronomy_ by Craig Crossen, Wil Tirion? This is one of my favorite observing guides, both for binoculars and small telescopes. Crossen does a great job of connecting theory to observation and Tirion's Bright Star Atlas in included as a bonus. The only thing I didn't like about this book was its cover, which just goes to show you, ...

May 14, 2004 02:40 PM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

Record Set for Messier Marathon?

Posted By Barry Fernelius


I doubt it. There are Messiers that can be (and have been) observed with the naked eye, like M45, the Pleides. Many millions (perhaps billions) of people have seen one or more Messiers, but they've NEVER seen any of the other objects.

In other words, NEVER is sometimes a larger period of time than 6 years, 10 months.

P.S. Congratulations! You've accomplished something that most of the people on this planet are never able to do.

June 4, 2004 06:25 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

RTMC: Celestrons Big one

Posted By Barry Fernelius

Based on the banner seen in the photo of the scope, the new motto is:

Celestron - Take a Close Look

June 4, 2004 06:27 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

UO super erfle 25mm on a fast f/5 system

Posted By Barry Fernelius

I have a 12.5" f5 system, and the 25mm erfle had... issues. A 24mm Panoptic, on the other hand, was wonderful. (Yes, I know it's much more expensive.)

June 30, 2004 12:40 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Observatories around Denver

Posted By Barry Fernelius

Definitely try to make the time to visit S&S Optika. (Bill Possel (I almost wrote Plossl!) touched on this briefly in his post above.) Cathy Havens, the proprietor, is very knowledgable and friendly. She also carries the good stuff. I've left a fair amount of my money there over the years...

July 5, 2004 10:40 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Serious question about Meade Cats.

Posted By Barry Fernelius

My local telescope dealer, an extremely reputable shop, won't carry Meade telescopes anymore. 'Nuff said.

July 8, 2004 09:21 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Stargazing weather forecast? Is there such a thing

Posted By Barry Fernelius

I use the Clear Sky Clock and Intellicast as my primary tools for weather forecasting, just as several folks have already recommended.

I also like to check a jet stream map to help me get an estimate of the seeing conditions. An example of such a map can be found at

October 12, 2004 01:24 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Choice of magnifications

Posted By Barry Fernelius

For a 12.5 inch telescope that's remarkably similar to yours 8) I use the following eyepiece set:

35mm Panoptic
24mm Panoptic
19mm Panoptic
13mm Nagler T6
9mm Nagler T6
2.5x Powermate

This gives me the following magnifications: 45x, 66x, 84x, 122x, 165x, 176x, 209x, 305x, 441x.

At higher magnifications, I like having more choices; seeing often dictates which eyepieces that I use. I'm considering the purchase of a 7mm Type 6 Nagler as an addition to this eyepiece set.