Fecker Celestar 6
This is an ultra rare telescope from the late 50’s. Apparently there were only a few made and a scarce handful are known to have survived. This one makes thirteen as of the last count. I purchased this in November, 2016 from an Ebay seller who said it was from the estate of a long time amateur astronomer in Memphis.
When the scope arrived it appeared to be in great shape. Testing under the night sky showed that it had great optics. There are a few minor specks and flaws on the mirrors but no serious problems.
The eyepieces are clearly marked J.W.Fecker and have focal lengths of 32mm,16mm and 8mm. The finder eyepiece is marked 1.00″ and also has the Fecker brand on it. They are all in superb condition, except for the finder eyepiece; the once present cross hairs are no longer there. The eyepiece turret seems to be like new except for a little tarnish. The clock drive works perfectly. The beautiful original Zolatone paint is in good shape over nearly the entire surface.
There was a lot of rust on many screw heads so I removed and cleaned them. The finish on the legs had perished so I cleaned them and put a coat of polyurethane on them. The metal brackets on the legs were highly rusted. I cleaned and painted them. The leg chains were heavily rusted so I removed the rust. It is a beautiful telescope.
I love the fact that this scope completely unique and has many fascinating attributes. And it is in almost original condition. I made a video about the scope if you are interested:
I recently finished making a model of the Hale 200 inch telescope on Mount Palomar. Here is a video https://youtu.be/xCQCpob6erU .
In this image it’s the one on the left. Also shown is a wonderful Barry Crist model of the 100 inch on Mount Wilson. I also made working 1:64 models of the Yerkes 40 inch Alvan Clark refractor and the Hubble Space Telescope. These are all at the same 1:64 scale. The three models I made are all of aluminum and are fully functional small telescopes. More details about making the Hale model is here: Making the Hale Model
This is a pair of Mogey 3 inch telescopes. They probably date from the 1920’s or so. The one on the left is completely original except for the tripod, which I made. The one on the right was a mess when I got it, with a very strange declination housing. Here’s a picture.
The Declination housing was made from a Right Ascension housing from a very old Alvan Clark! Have a look at these pictures:
So that may be a project in the future.
There are many details about the restoration of the Mogey mount here:
Mogey 3 inch Restoration.
You can see a video about these two scopes here Mogey Telescopes.
I recently acquired this beautiful 1927 Zeiss Traveling Telescope.
Zeiss Asegur Traveling Telescope AS 60/840
See all the details at Zeiss Traveling Telescope
I have finally realized a long held dream and now own a genuine Alvan Clark telescope.
It did not come this way and I had to do some work to make it look like this. If you are interested please see this page Restoration of Alvan Clark 3 inch Telescope and check out my Youtube videos at Alvan Clark 3 inch Telescope and Alvan Clark Number 3 Mount
Recently I acquired a nifty classic Tinsley Telescope mount. It came in pieces I had to assemble. I loved doing that! It also came with a telescope. So, through several iterations I ended up with three Tinsley telescopes. Two had been through a restoration process and one was mostly original. Even though the restorations were very nice, I value the original one the most. I decided to strip the paint from one of the restored scopes and reveal the lovely brass so that it would fit nicely on the equatorial mount. The thing is beautiful, in my eyes. It needs a tripod of its own. Right now it sits on a tripod I made for Unitron 4 inch scopes. Eventually, it will probably have one of its own.
Here are some pictures. There is a video about the mount itself at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUK8mLjWqHs
Tinsley Equatorial Mount
Right Ascension Drive
Declination Setting Circle
Right Ascenscion Setting Circle
Three Tinsleys, the middle one is nearly all original
I became addicted to Unitrons many years ago when I bought a 50mm Unitron 105 scope at a flea market. I discovered the joys of small aperture with that scope, observing double stars and the moon.
Unitron 105 50mm refractor
These scopes are oblivious to seeing, always delivering perfect diffraction patterns around stars. Because of the small aperture the airy disks are relatively large which make it much easier to see the color difference in the double stars that have a large enough separation to be split with this aperture. I’ll never forget the appearance of Eta Casseopea in that scope. Beautiful!
One of my favorite Unitrons is the often overlooked Unitron 131C. It offers large enough aperture to see great detail on the Moon and planets, is relatively insensitive to seeing, has plenty of focal length so you can use comfortable eyepieces. To top it off the scope is one hand portable on its mount! I am lucky enough to own two of the superb green lens versions. They are optically perfect, even with the presence of the folding mirrors. I would compare them with any Zeiss of similar aperture.
Unitron 131C 75mm f/15 folded refractor
My ultimate favorite is the 160. Wow, what a package. It is like having an observatory in the back yard, and is about as difficult to move. I seldom set it up because the task is so arduous. But it is a stunning sight and the performance matches its appearance.
Unitron 160 4 inch f/15 refractor
At last, after many years of wanting a Questar, I finally own one. Now I know what all the hyperbole was about and am guilty of going over the top myself when describing mine. It is simply the best telescope I own on several levels. Don’t get me wrong; a bigger aperture scope will out perform my little Questar. But, as any Questar owner will tell you, it is impossible to get more performance in any other similar sized scope. Pound for pound, it is the most bang for the buck. And it is astounding to hold a small piece of sheer perfection in your hand.
It seems to me that a Questar demands a fine mount. The scope actually performs well on a nice Bogen Tripod and the Questar folks sell an elegant mount (for a lot of money). But, as an amateur machinist, I wanted to make my own. I wanted a suitable tripod and wedge befitting a Questar, so I modified a wonderful little Celestron CG4 tripod and made a carefully crafted pier and wedge to go on top.
You can see my Questar and its mount at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5wmX1QYvZU
I recently posted a couple of videos about classic Tinsley telescopes.
The smaller scope in this picture is a Tinsley 3 inch. Video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtQRkQebbKk . I had to repair the mount as shown in the video but otherwise the scope is all original.
The larger scope in the picture is a Tinsley 4 inch refractor. It is nearly a complete superficial restoration. The basic scope, focuser and objective are all original, as is the wonderful mount. All the paint is new and the finder is a replica I made. Please watch the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmz_Wg58iVw .
Here are some shots of making the replica finder rings on the 4 inch for those interested in machining.
Here are pictures of a couple of Duetrons. A Duetron is a device that allows two people to look through the same telescope at the same time. It was an accessory available from the Unitron company for many years during the 1950’s through the 90’s. The most common version was designed for .965″ eyepieces. A more rare version was designed for 1.25″ eyepieces. Here they are pictured next to each other. The one on the left in the bottom picture is the more common .965″ version. Note that the 1.25″ version is designed to go into a 1.25″ focuser while the .965″ was designed to fit into a Unitron draw tube.