Sky & Telescope - January 2021 - 6

FROM OUR READERS

Thanks to Jerry Oltion's article about building "Homemade Eyepieces"
(S&T: Sept. 2020, p. 74), I scrounged four 35-mm binocular objective lenses
and arranged them per his instructions. I placed the objectives in a metal tube
(from a junked variable-power binocular), which sits in a PVC adapter that I
shortened and joined to a standard eyepiece barrel. The resulting eye relief is
significant, just as Jerry Oltion said, so I added a tall eyecup made from black
foam sheeting that slips over the metal tube. It also helps shield the view from
unwanted light sources. Quite frankly, I didn't think that the eyepiece's performance would impress me, but was I ever wrong! It had great light transmission,
was sharp across the entire field of view, and didn't cause any eye strain. Now,
if I could only fi nd four 50-mm lenses . . .
Randy Strauss * Papillion, Nebraska
S Randy Strauss made this eyepiece (left) from four binocular objective lenses. A PVC adapter
and eyepiece barrel help it sit nicely in his telescope (right).

Matchstick Quick Fix

A Moving Geosat

I doubt I am the first person to come
up with this idea, but I stick a matchstick into the fi ne focus knob of my
Crayford focuser.
It provides precise and vibration-free
adjustment and makes a huge difference compared to turning the knob
with both my fi nger and thumb. This
way, I only need to touch it lightly with
one fi nger. While using this matchstick, I can easily focus a star, even at
high magnification.
I decided to try this because I had
just started out in planetary imaging,
and I needed something to
improve my focus. But my
new electric focuser was
eight weeks away, while
the opposition of Mars
was in four!

It was fun to read Steve Daubert's
remarks about observing and photographing geostationary satellites in
"Observing Geosat Flares" (S&T: Oct.
2020, p. 36). I made this discovery by
accident decades ago. I was at a star
party in Colebrook, Connecticut, hosted
by the Astronomical Society of New
Haven, looking through various telescopes to see what the more experienced
amateurs had to offer. When I stopped at
one to peer through the eyepiece, I must
have moved it slightly from its previous
target because what I saw blew me away.
There was a spaceship
traveling steadily through
the stars! No doubt about
it. Contact!
I quickly motioned to
the telescope's owner and
called out to other observers to take a look. It took
me an instant to infer that
I was looking at a geosat.
Since the telescope was

Bill Wood
Melbourne, Australia
X The addition of a simple
matchstick greatly improved
this focuser.

6

JANUARY 2 021 * SK Y & TELESCOPE

Joel Marks
Milford, Connecticut

Memories of M57
Reading the first paragraph in Howard
Banich's fine article "The Ring and I"
(S&T: Sept. 2020, p. 58) reminded me of
my first look at M57 with my new 4-inch
(102-mm) Criterion reflector in 1955.
I was 12 years old and so proud that I'd
found it that I ran up the steps to tell my
mother and asked her to come down and
look. Then I heard a crash. I looked back
at the sidewalk and saw to my horror
that the telescope had fallen over. Upon
impact with the sidewalk, the focuser
had punched through the tube, and the
eyepiece was rolling down the street.
My mother never saw M57 that night.
I eventually was able to repair the damage and get a few more years of enjoyment out of the telescope, including
"discovering" Saturn. Wow!
Bill Dellinges
Apache Junction, Arizona

A Region by Any Other Name
While reading "The Andromeda Outback" by Ken Hewitt-White (S&T: Sept.
2020, p. 62), I sensed that I knew that
region but under a different name. I
opened my copy of Field Book of the Skies
by William T. Olcott, Margaret W. Mayall, and R. Newton Mayall and turned
to their entry on Andromeda. There was
Ken Hewitt-White's Andromeda Outback, a little pattern of stars they called
Gloria Frederika or Frederik's Glory. A
Google search revealed that this grouping was named in 1787 by Johann Bode
in honor of Frederick the Great of Prussia, who had died the previous year.
David A. Rodger
North Vancouver, British Columbia

BILL WOOD

Impressive Handmade Eyepieces

tracking, it looked like the satellite was
moving rather than the stars around
it. Of course, the irony here is that the
satellite is not moving in the sky relative
to an observer on the ground.
It would be fascinating to work out
the geometry of this kind of observation,
but I'm not up to it. I'm happy just to
have had the experience, and I encourage everyone to have their own close
encounter with a distant geosat.



Sky & Telescope - January 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sky & Telescope - January 2021

Contents
Sky & Telescope - January 2021 - Cover1
Sky & Telescope - January 2021 - Cover2
Sky & Telescope - January 2021 - 1
Sky & Telescope - January 2021 - Contents
Sky & Telescope - January 2021 - 3
Sky & Telescope - January 2021 - 4
Sky & Telescope - January 2021 - 5
Sky & Telescope - January 2021 - 6
Sky & Telescope - January 2021 - 7
Sky & Telescope - January 2021 - 8
Sky & Telescope - January 2021 - 9
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Sky & Telescope - January 2021 - Cover3
Sky & Telescope - January 2021 - Cover4
Sky & Telescope - January 2021 - SA1
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