Sacred objects

Posted by Daniel Pendick
on Tuesday, June 12, 2007

How much would you pay for the telescope Galileo used to observe Jupiter's moons? Or how about the eyepiece through which Halley peered at his comet for the first time?

Such astronomical objects — if you could get your hands on them — would be akin to religious relics. And they would be fantastically expensive and difficult to acquire.

Good news: You, too, can own your own astro-relic. The organizers of Stellafane, the famous telescope-making conference held in Vermont every year, are going to auction two items of considerable interest to amateur astronomers.

One is an original prototype of Al Nagler's prototype Nagler 13mm eyepiece, one of only three prototypes of a product that first went on sale in 1980. The eyepiece offered a wide-angle sky view with sharp resolution — not just in the center of the lens, but across the whole field of view. Observers saw the sky in a very different way, fuller and richer than before. The prototype Nagler eyepiece will go up for auction on eBay in late July to benefit Stellafane's Flanders Pavilion Fund.

Astronomy Contributing Editor Stephen James O'Meara also made a donation: his beloved 4-inch Tele Vue Genesis refractor. This is the telescope he has been using to create astronomical drawings and descriptions, and the one referenced in four of his Deep-Sky Companion Guides. These are the guides to the Messier and Caldwell objects, the Herschel 400, and recently, 109 Deep Sky Treasures of his own choosing, all published by Cambridge University Press.

It's a worthy cause selling astronomically worthy objects.  Check it out.

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