Category Archives: Product Reviews

Recent Product Announcements To CNYO – Night Sky Star Stensils™ And An Environmentally Friendly Lighting Resource From LEDLights

The following emails and product information came to the CNYO inbox recently and are reproduced below as received. CNYO does not endorse any particular product or service, but is happy to provide a forum for astronomy-related merchandise and services. Members of the CNYO board will also consider reviewing products on a case-by-case basis (please contact info@cnyo.org for more information).

Environmental Impact Of Lighting, from www.ledlights.co.uk

From the email:

Our choice of lighting can have a significant impact on the environment. Overly bright lights can disrupt hunting patterns, confuse baby turtles as they try to make their way out to sea, disrupt mating habits, and make it more difficult for birds to navigate. In addition to the effects of the lights themselves, how we produce light can have a significant impact on the environment. Fossil fuels and toxic materials can have a direct, disruptive effect on the environment, as well as contributing to global warming. There are a number of steps both individuals and companies can take to reduce the effects of light pollution on our environment. Limiting when exterior light is used, choosing more energy efficient bulbs, reducing the amount of street lighting after certain hours, and finding more environmentally friendly sources of energy can all improve the situation for wildlife.

Whether you make changes to your own habits at home or lobby for companies to be more responsible with their light usage, any steps to create more environmentally friendly lighting can help wildlife in your area.

And their very organized environmental impact poster is provided below (click for a larger copy):

2016june13_Environmental-Impact-LEDs-Infographic

Night Sky Star Stensils™

The following email and brochures were sent courtesy of Dick Shimmin of Bridgeway, Inc. (facebook), located in Galesburg, IL. For additional information (or to purchase), the product reviews on amazon.com may be useful.

Click HERE For The Product Announcement (in PDF Format)

Click HERE For The Product Brochure (in PDF Format)

2015april1_nightskiespictureThe Night Skies Star Stencils can create a relaxing and romantic display of a real night sky in any darkened room of anyone lured by the attraction to or are studying the night time sky, particularly those associated with CNY Observers. The Night Skies Star Stencils are available in two sizes featuring accurate and educational winter or summer night time displays over the Northern Hemisphere. Luminous paint and a corresponding star map are included with each Night Skies Star Stencils to enhance their educational value. The stencils can be used more than once and additional luminous paint is available. They can be purchased from many retailers who can be found by searching “Night Skies Star Stencils” on the Internet.

The Night Skies Star Stencils are a portion of the Ursa Major stencil selection (ursamajorstencils.com) produced by Bridgeway. Bridgeway, headquartered in Illinois, is a not-for-profit agency that provides an assortment of services to disabled people. Sales of its American made products help fund those programs.

12963487_1149217685119045_5991915582496788297_n* Night Sky Star Stencil™ transforms the ceiling of your darkened room into a dramatic replica of the real night sky while leaving the lighted room unchanged (no posters or noticeable markings).

* Dazzling and romantic. Guaranteed bedtime fun for everyone.

* Soothing and relaxing. Finally a simple cure for fear of the dark. The peaceful comfort of a starry night inspires a feeling of “connectedness” with the universe. Enhance your sense of peace with our new tape, Night Sounds™.

* Accurate and educational! Stars and constellations are in proper positions with accurate relative brightness. You also get a hand-held Star Map and Constellation Finder that shows the names and locations of hundred of stars–an entire hemisphere! In addition, the star map is an excellent take-along item anytime you’re star gazing outdoors.

* Easy! You simply affix the stencil to the ceiling or wall–the adhesive won’t stain or remove paint or wallpaper–and paint the stencil holes with the special glow-in-the-dark paint. Then you remove the stencil. Works on both smooth and textured ceilings!

* When you’re ready for the stars to shine, expose them to normal room light. Turn out the lights, and the stars glow and keep glowing for up to 30 minutes. They can be recharged indefinitely and are unnoticeable in lighted rooms or on light-colored surfaces. The 8-foot stencil takes one hour to apply; the 12-foot takes two hours. The stencil can be saved and reused.

* It’s all here! Your kit contains everything you need. The Night Sky Star Stencil (either 8- or 12- feet in diameter), adhesive, a special formula luminous paint, brush, and easy-to-follow instructions.

* No projectors, no batteries, no black lights…nothing to clutter the room.

* Completely safe non-toxic paint and adhesive (certified by O.S.H.A.).

* Available in winter or summer Northern Hemisphere sky, and 8- or 12-foot diameter. Choose one to fit your room.

An Astronomical Trifecta For Ryan Goodson And New Moon Telescopes

Greetings fellow astrophiles,

Having a master scope builder in our own backyard has made the lives of several CNYO members very easy. Not only is Ryan Goodson a great observing partner, but he has either brought or built many of the best scopes that make their way to our library lectures, later-night school outings, county parks, North Sportsman’s Club, or his own observing base at New Moon Telescopes HQ. To that end, I’m happy to help Ryan and NMT celebrate a unique astronomical milestone this summer, having pulled off recognition in three prominent astronomy magazines.

1. Feature Article In Astronomy Technology Today

2014july14_ATTTo begin, Ryan contributed a combination technical analysis/product review based on a hot topic he’s been pondering from the builder perspective for over a year now. The article, “Calculating The Perfect Telescope Size Post Paracorr Type-2,” is one of the feature articles in the May-June 2014 issue of Astronomy Technology Today, one of the great amateur astronomy magazines that features contributions from the broader amateur astronomy community.

For those who missed their chance to pick up a copy at Barnes & Noble this year (the only place around here that we now carries it), ATT and their editor Gary Parkerson have allowed CNYO to reproduce the article in PDF format for your reading pleasure.

Download The ATT Article HERE

Several of us in CNYO are subscribers to ATT (I ripped this PDF from my subscription) and we encourage you to geek-out bimonthly to product reviews and expert opinions from real users in our community. From the article:

Calculating the Perfect Telescope Size Post Paracorr Type-2

And the perfect telescope size is…?

The perfect telescope size is… It’s a line that invites critique and insight from every corner of the astronomical community. Having built a number of telescopes for clients all over the U.S., I have called three of my New Moon Telescopes my own: a 12.5-inch f/4.9, a 16-inch f/4.5, and a 27-inch f/3.9. Outside of those three Dobsonian-style telescopes, I have also owned various refractors and binoculars and a large arsenal of eyepieces. But since I build Dobsonians-style telescopes (okay, “Dobs”) for a living, however, I will limit my opinion to that particular style. My opinion of the perfect Dob size has changed over the years as my observing habits have also evolved.

2. A NEAF Shout-Out In Sky & Telescope Magazine

2014july14_SkyTelNMT had a great showing at the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) this past year (and several of us stopped by the booth looking for free samples). In their own coverage of event highlights, the venerable Sky & Telescope Magazine (also worth your considered subscription – their list and coverage of important astronomical events is certainly one of the best ways to know what the month holds for amateur astronomers the world over) focused in on NMT’s new aluminum bearing design. Kudos to John Giroux for spotting the bearings first.

A snippet from the August 2014 issue is shown at right. Their brief write-up of the bearing design is reproduced below:

24. www.newmoontelescopes.com New Moon Telescopes had a great display of its custom mid- and large-aperture Dobso- nians. Of special note were the company’s new lightweight-aluminum altitude bearings with a textured powder coating that produced just the right amount of “stiction” for a Dob mount.

3. Star Product Designation From Astronomy Magazine!

2014july14_starproduct_indexTo soon be announced in the September issue of Astronomy Magazine, NMT’s 12.5 f/5 Dobsonian telescope has been selected as a Best-Of by the other venerable oracle of events and celestial highlights. An excellent notch in Ryan’s belt that several of us already knew all about. As a shameless plug, I’m the proud owner of the first NMT production model, a 12.5″ f/5ish Dob known affectionately as Ruby (for the red MoonLite focuser). Now over 3 years and many, many observing sessions in, I’ve yet to want for another telescope. Not even interested.

Stay tuned for more press when the official publication comes out. In the meantime, a hearty congrats to Ryan (and Heather and Lily!) and NMT on the astronomical trifecta!

The 16-inch f/4.5 Collapsible-Truss Dobsonian From New Moon Telescopes – Feature Article In Astronomy Technology Today

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

As if NEAF wasn’t already an excellent first showing for Ryan (and Heather!) Goodson and New Moon Telescopes (including discussions at Cloudy Nights (link 1, link 2) and a recorded observation in Sky & Telescope in this month’s issue), I am pleased to provide a full copy of the result of their first NEAF meeting with Gary Parkerson, Managing Editor of Astronomy Technology Today (www.astronomytechnologytoday.com): A feature (and cover) article (by yours truly) giving the NMT 16″ f/4.5 Dobsonian a complete walk-through in the May-June 2013 issue.

Before anything else – I’d like to personally thank Gary and all at ATT for providing a platform for my review of the NMT scope, their continued support of other amateur astronomers through many years of excellent equipment reviews, and their complete coolness with allowing CNYO to repost the complete article for your viewing pleasure.

Click HERE For The Full Article (PDF, 2.3 MB)


2013june22_nmt_att_article

From the article:

New Moon Telescopes (NMT, newmoontelescopes.com) is a very recent addition to the list of manufacturers of custom Dobsonians, having made their first company appearance at the Kopernik Winter Star Party (kopernik.org) this past January and their commercial appearance at NEAF 2013 this past April.

While NMT is now making itself known to the larger amateur astronomy community, NMT is no secret to Central New York observers. Amateur astronomers in several CNY astronomy clubs have seen the expert woodworking skills and design choices of NMT’s owner and sole craftsman, Ryan Goodson, first-hand, giving CNY observers and their always unpredictable weather conditions the honor of being NMT’s original customer base both in rebuilds and new Dobsonians.

The article introduction is no joke! There are three NMT Dobs owned just by CNYO session hosts alone (Larry S, Dan W, and myself), not counting whatever Ryan brings to our observing sessions, then several additional just in the CNY area (one CNY customer’s beautiful 18” Dob having been on display at NEAF). I remember just within the past ten years when SCTs and fancy mounts seemed to rule the observing grounds at Darling Hill Observatory, now all of the sessions I attend are populated by light buckets. The GOTO is increasingly being superseded in favor of memorization. I say excellent!

As a point of discussion in the article, I make reference to Ryan’s high-end component choices (the MoonLite focuser being high on the list – my “Ruby” (NMT #1) is named for its red focuser). I spent an extra block of time discussing the merits of a primary mirror purchase from John Lightholder at Lightholder Premium Optics.

Just as I have seen many an amateur astronomer start with seemingly decent eyepieces, then eventually sell and buy their way up to TeleVue (my personal bias, anyway), I have heard too many stories of observers with primary mirrors that eventually have their faults found out over the course of many observing sessions (the primary mirrors, that is). The solution, while not cheap, is simple – start with the best you can get and never, ever, find yourself regretting an “intermediate” purchase when you go to finally take the plunge on a high-quality primary.

The mirror alone cost more than many of the major vendors are currently charging for complete-and-shipped 12-inch Dobsonian telescopes. The reason is simple – it is absolutely worth it.

A final thought about the whole enterprise comes from Gary himself at ATT:

The Goodsons’ telescopes captured my attention, as did the Goodsons themselves, for the simple reason that they represent one of the aspects I love most about the telescope industry. Astronomy enthusiasts are primarily served by what are essentially cottage enterprises, populated with business people and craftsmen for whom their astro products and services represent labors of love. Most are family businesses, as is ATT, a fact that is reinforced with each trip to NEAF as I am privileged to again greet in person the family partnerships who gather there each year.

I am grateful to Gary and ATT for allowing us to repost the complete article on the CNYO website (and this pruned version of the issue was generated from the PDF I obtained as an enlightened subscriber to the digital version of ATT). It remains an excellent source of information from real users of equipment, a kind of completeness of analysis and discussion many of us had the pleasure of experiencing during discussions with Stu Forster and still have the pleasure of experiencing with my favorite local scope-sage Bob Piekiel.

And why yes, now that you mention it, it is easy to subscribe to ATT today! Click on the image below for more info!

2013june22_ATT_subscribe