Finally, a long awaited vacation to Florida for Carol and I. Warm
weather, steady seeing and many friends to enjoy. However, a
tropical storm had other ideas. Four days of rain, clouds and cool
conditions insured we got lots of rest.
Mid-week the weather improved and telescopes were unloaded and the fun
began. Many of our friends and longtime customers had arrived and
Starmaster scopes ranging in size from a 7" Oak Classic to 30" F/3.3
were grouped on Tom & Jeannie Clarks field. Views were superb and
laughter was constant. Carol was treated to views through the 28" and
30" scopes she had never seen as was I and others.
Following are observing comments from some of our customers. -Rick
From the Starmaster Yahoo
Group: "The best 30" f/3.3 in the World?"
was a rather intesting weekend at Chiefland Astronomy Village (CAV)
when it comes to looking up and using huge portable telescopes.
How about getting to gorge on views through two 30's and two 28's
within 100 feet of each other? It really does not get much better than
Many of you know that I am somewhat biased toward Starmasters having
owned 19 of them and currently owning Tom Back's 20" f/4.3
Zambuto/Starmaster which I dearly love and have decided is my last
large scope. I owned a 24" ZOC/Starmaster and had the best lifetime
views of Jupiter and Saturn with it at Chiefland Astronomy Village.
Well, let me just cut to the chase and say that the 30" f/3.3
Lockwood/Starmaster is the
finest large aperture portable telescope that I have ever looked
through and I have been very fortunate to have been able to look
through a bunch of absolutely superb high-end large scopes (28-32").
What absolutely blew me away was that on the first evening I got to
play with Duane's scope, at dusk, Jupiter was strutting its stuff as
the Sun was going down. To have such a large mirror/scope produce the
images I saw was astounding. That scope with a 20mm TV Nagler and a
Hydrogen-beta filter produced the finest image I have ever seen of the
Horsehead Nebula and I have seen it live hundreds of times both
naturally as we did and with image intensifiers and astrovideo cameras.
The dimensions of that scope were just. dare I say it, "perfect" for a
large aperture scope.
OK enough about Duane's scope. Now we move on to the other three huge
scopes in the group that included a 28" f/3.6 Kennedy/Starmaster, a 28"
f/3.5 Lockwood Starmaster and the other huge scope of a 30" f/3.7
Lockwood Starmaster. The other three were spectacular. John's 28" f/3.6
Kennedy/Starmaster has been the standard by which I have judged all
other 28" scopes. Well, Kirk with his new 28" f/3.5
Lockwood/Starmaster has answered the challenge. I frankly was skeptical
that Lockwood could keep up with Kennedy in the super-large category
(sorry Mike but I too used to be a scientist).
Well, I am here to tell you that the Lockwood flat performed. Then, we
need to remember that the other HUGE 30" f/3.7 Lockwood/Starmaster
owned by Dan showed us some of the finest views of the Eskimo Planetary
Nebula at 2250x. The views of the Horsehead through the scope were
absolutely spectacular with his 17mm Ethos and the H-b filter. I wish
we could have compared the two views of the Horse with the same
OK, so I am thinking, this Lockwood guy maybe has something going on
Well, all you had to do was go over to John's 16.5" Lockwood/Starmaster
or Gary's 20" f/3.7 Lockwood Starmaster to see some of the finest views
that can be had in those respective aperture classes. Gary's 20" on M42
happened to be one of the finest views of the nebula that I have ever
seen. The pinprick protostars were popping out all over the place in
the nebula surrounding the Trapezium. The 20" by far put up the finest
view of the object of all of the scopes we were viewing through. If you
guessed that I am sort of "high" on Lockwood optics, you would have
From my personal vantage point, it appears that he has joined the
lengendary ranks of Kennedy and Zambuto in the large aperture
world. My hats off to Mike and Rick for producing some very
spectacular instruments. I mentioned to Kirk that when these boys show
up in the neighborhood (CAV), I am just going to leave my exquisite 20"
at home because it is just so
Well, these are my personal views with very little specifics.
There was a lot of other evaluation going on but that is simply not
important to discuss. The finest batch of Starmasters I have ever seen
assembled happened this week in a 100 foot radius. It was all the
better that Rick Singmaster and Carol Singmaster were able to join us
and revel in the superb accomplishments of the moment.
Bob Schilling, Tallahassee, Florida
From the owner of a 30"
home a few hours ago after 2072 miles and I can say I'm a changed
man. I finally had the chance to put the new 30" through a good
workout under steady skies.
Your optics coupled with the Starmaster structure is without a doubt
the best it gets in visual astronomy.
We observed the Eskimo Nebula at 2300X !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and
observed the structure seen in photographs. How about the
Horsehead with direct vision-the entire outline of the head, the
pillars of creation and on and on.
Many fellow observers passed by and spent considerable time with the
30" and all agreed that it provided the finest views they had ever seen.
Several were shocked that such a huge, fast scope could show such fine
detail on Jupiter. Many said that it was the best view of Jupiter they
ever had. In fact, one guy got on the phone with his wife and was
pleading with her to let him get a 30"... I think he lost that
discussion but I'll never part with the 30.
I looked through a 42" and the 30" blows it away in sharpness ( which
didn't shock me ) but also in image quality.
Aperture envy is a thing of the past. This is truly as good as it
gets and a wonderful time was had by all. The 30" makes my former
excellent 24" seem like a toy. Hope to talk/see you soon. Again thanks
for your dedication to providing the absolute best optics money can
buy. Feel free to use this on your website.
Dan Kleppner, PA
Here are a couple of photos from Duane Smith, the very happy
owner of a 30" F/3.3.
Here are a couple of photos
from Gary Beyerstein, owner of a 20" F/3.7 FX.
Finally, here are a few
photos from John VeDepo, owner of a 16.5" FX and a 28" F/3.7.
Left to right - 30" F/3.7
FX, 20" F/3.7 FX, 28" F/3.7, 30" F/3.3 Super FX, 16.5" F/3.7 FX.