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"Fun" Equipment

There are recommendations all over the web comparing, evaluating and recommending astronomy equipment and accessories.  A good portion of this website talks about equipment suitable for an inexpensive telescope program.

This page contains my personal recommendations for or comments about "fun" equipment.  I share what I'm liking, suiting my interest and perhaps narrow needs.  It's not intended to be a comparison of a product and its competitors.  My intent it to highlight items that unique and without direct competitors.

I refrained from calling this page the "Toys" page, because, if I'm being honest, every piece of astronomy equipment falls into the "Toy" category.  My focus here is for "non-essential" stuff that is primarily "fun".  For example, I love my Nagler 31, but that eyepiece is essential and wondrous.  It is fun, but it is fundamentally a serious thing.

My initial recommendations are:

 

 Astro-Devices Nexus: Direct Encoder-to-Wireless adapter

The Nexus is more of a "new" thing, than a "fun" thing, but I really love it.  The future of controlling your telescopes is the smartphone or, preferably, a tablet.  The Nexus essentially connects your mount wirelessly to your iPad or tablet. 

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then look at this picture below and answer this question:

which interface is more intuitive? 

Hand-held, character-based menu navigators are obsolete; an immersive, telescope-tracking map is the future.

There are proprietary wireless devices that connect your old school LCD-text hand controller (and generally only that brand) to your tablet, but the Nexus allows you to go straight from the telescope's encoders to your smart device.  Before buying a WiFi device built for your specific telescope, consider the Nexus.  It's a better investment, because it works for almost anything.

I have three scopes/mounts with encoders that work with varying old-school hand controllers.  I can use my Nexus with any of them.  The only time I use a hand computer is if I'm running two scopes at the same time.

Below is a video (poorly shot with my phone, sorry) demonstrating SkySafari on iPad navigating a Meade Lightbridge 12 via the Nexus.

 

Wood Wonders Eyepiece Case

Almost all frequent observers have some way to carry their eyepieces around.  I convinced my wife that I should have Ron from Wood Wonders build one of his custom cases for me and that she should pay for it as a Father's Day present.  It's beautiful and very, very functional.  I rotate through a lot of equipment, but knew I'd be keeping it for the rest of my life.

It was a great gift, I think of my wife and son every time I use my telescopes!

 

Yes Watch "Astronomy" Solar/Lunar Watch

This is another "lifetime" piece of equipment.  I really expect to be wearing one of these watches when I die (hopefully that won't be for a long time).

I really love this watch.  Just from the information shown on the picture at the right I can see a crazy amount of information:

  • the time
  • the moon phase
  • sunrise and sunset times
  • moonrise and moonset times
  • where the sun is spatially
  • where the moon is spatially (15 degrees east of the meridian)
  • day length vs. night length

It really put me back in touch with the sun and the moon, and it's useable everywhere 24/7 (unlike the rest of my equipment). 

I'm so impressed with the interface, I devoted several pages to it.

 

 

 

Questions or comments? Email:Jeff Martin