Okie-Tex Star Party was graced with generally good weather and
clear skies. Rick brought a 16.5" F/3.65 FX telescope, and we and a
number of others enjoyed using it the whole week. The telescope was an
excellent thermal performer, providing sharp images of Jupiter despite
falling temperatures at dusk. Stars remained sharp into the night as it
got colder, and the images were limited by the seeing.
highlights of the star party for me were finally getting to look
through a 16.5" FX, and using our new 30" F/3.77 telescope, built by
myself, Mike Conron, and Bob Nonnemann. I figured the mirror over the
summer and it was coated a couple of weeks before the star party. It
rewarded us with superb images. Andromeda was FIVE FIELDS WIDE in a
26mm Nagler! The detail in the Veil was like nothing I've ever seen.
You, too, can experience this since Rick is now offering a 30" F/3.7 FX
Above is an
image of me with the 16.5" FX that we used extensively at Okie-Tex. One
evening I was returning to the area where we were set up, and I found
Barbara Wilson, Rick, and a couple of other people at the 16.5"
telescope, and they seemed quite excited. I found out quickly that
there was a unique object in the focuser - the prototype 17mm Ethos
eyepiece! Using a Paracorr, the images in the 16.5" FX telescope were sharp
to the edge of the field. This was simply amazing, and images
of the double cluster, Veil, and other large objects were simply
stunning, all at F/3.65! The contrast of the 17mm Ethos was just as
good as the superb 13mm, so it is clearly going to be an
industry-advancing product. (By the way, Rick is a TeleVue dealer, so
you know where you can get one.)
experience with the 17mm Ethos/Paracorr combination made me think about
just how fast a Newtonian telescope could be (how low of an F-ratio it
could have). I had a 20" F/3 mirror polished out and ready to figure,
and its use in a visual telescope now seemed possible. Rick and I
discussed this possibility to kill time while relaxing in the shade.
Based on the plans we made, 2009 will be a very interesting year for
both of us.
UPDATE - Click HERE to see the 20" F/3 MX scope, now a
Below that is
a shot of the southern Milky Way, also at Okie-Tex, from the horizon up
past Altair. I took it one evening with a wide-field lens on my Canon
350D. The bright object is Jupiter.
continues to be a superb event with excellent skies and friendly
people. Hope to see you at Okie-Tex in 2009, and Rick and I both hope
you enjoy some wonderful views through a Starmaster Telescope.
- Mike Lockwood, Lockwood Custom Optics