About this project
WHAT WE WILL MAKE:
Launch on the easiest route to the stars: POINT AND LOOK! Bright-Eye sets up in 15 seconds, the fastest of any telescope. Find targets the easiest and fastest of any newcomer’s telescope. THE BIG PICTURE: see the richest, widest, most contrasty view, not the dim wobbly frustration of toy-department scopes. Bright-Eye is compact, stable, portable, rugged ... and cute. It comes with everything a newcomer needs to begin skywatching. Wow, now! See objects more than 50 million light-years away.
Ages 10-100 (younger and older too, if assisted).
WHAT YOU CAN SEE
… visually through the eyepiece. Not the familiar gaudy time-exposures, usually taken through very large telescopes. There's nothing like seeing the objects live and in person, for an inspirational dose of reality.
All come with a manual, which is also online.
- NEWCOMER MODEL: Everything you need to get started: complete telescope, base, dust-cap, dew shield, eyepiece, skywatching book, and carrying strap.
- CHECK-OUT MODEL, for libraries, clubs, and classes to check out. Complete telescope and carrying strap. For people using it unsupervised, we make pieces harder to lose: we bolt the eyepiece in, and tether the base, dew shield, and dust-cap with wires. Such groups already have skywatching books so we don’t make them buy another.
- QUICK-GRAB MODEL: a “second” telescope for experienced observers, when the occasion doesn’t call for big equipment. Complete telescope, base, dust-cap, dew shield, and carrying strap. Such people already have their own eyepieces and skywatching books so we don’t make them buy more.
- The OPTICAL TUBE ASSEMBLY (including eyepiece focuser) is a useful component to add to large telescopes as a finder, and for photographers to use as a “telephoto lens”. It can also be a long-distance microscope. For technically-advanced users who already have the fittings, mountings, eyepieces, and skywatching books they prefer, so we don’t make them buy more.
WHAT COLORS WOULD YOU LIKE?
Type: Newtonian reflector telescope. The optical system was invented by Isaac Newton.
- Clear aperture: 4 1/8 inches = 105 mm
- Focal ratio: f/4.2
- Focal length: 17 1/2 inches = 445 mm, paraboloidal mirror
- Field of View: 3 degrees, the whole width of Orion’s belt.
- Sphere: 10 inches diameter = 254 mm
- Cylinder: 6 inches diameter = 152 mm
- Weight: about 12 pounds = 5.5 kg
- Shells will be made in different, contrasting colors, mixing in different places and patterns. The shell, tube, and base all made of ABS terpolymer.
- Optically-flat window, optically-flat diagonal mirror
I'M NORM SPERLING AND THIS IS WHY I CARE:
I have been popularizing astronomy all my life. I’ve given thousands of planetarium shows, taught astronomy to thousands of college students, and wrote the Sky & Telescope magazine articles that transformed Astronomy Day from a few local observances into a global celebration. I co-designed the first version of this telescope; those 39-year-old telescopes sell for about twice their original price. I published John Dobson’s own book about making Dobsonian telescopes. His favorite material was plywood so I thought of binding the book in that. Many people said it couldn’t be done, and several said it shouldn’t be done. To me, that’s a dare, so I did it. The books sold out quickly. 25 years later, copies command 12 times the original price.
Seeing the wonders of our Universe directly, in person, has an impact that no computer graphics can match. Newcomers gasp at the views, and grasp how far things have to be to look that way. They find the experience awesome and fulfilling. Watching them is awesomely fulfilling.
WHERE THIS PROJECT CAME FROM
- 1968-72: As a beginning astronomy teacher, I was disappointed that my students were unexcited by using conventional telescopes
- 1973: Roger Tuthill’s StarTrap hand-held rich-field telescope improved the view
- 1974: My custom-ordered rich-fields improved on that
- 1976: Consulting for Edmund Scientific, I wrote the behavioral and optical specifications for the original Astroscan®
- 1976-2013: Edmund Scientific, then VWR, then Scientifics Direct sold about 90,000 Astroscans, until their mold broke.
- 2015: People still want them, owners still gush about them, so I plan an improved successor, Bright-Eye. So this is a Kick*RE*starter. Shaping optics and plastics has changed hugely, so everything has to be done differently.
- We have identified all suppliers.
- April-May 2016: Kickstart Bright-Eye.
- May-June 2016: Order components as soon as we’re funded
- June-August 2016: Start producing and shipping Bright-Eyes to Kickstarter customers. Accept orders from countries not served in Rewards format.
The funds from this Kickstart will buy the component parts, and pay optics experts to assemble and ship the telescopes. Several parts need expensive molds. If we don’t fund all molds, some components will be shaped by smaller-scale means.
The less light pollution, the better your view.
Bright-Eye disclaims any responsibility for clouds.
Never point any telescope at the Sun.
Read much richer information at our temporary webhome:
Copyright © 2016 by Norman Sperling
Project title picture by Sheldon Carpenter
Video script, telescope, and talking head: Norman Sperling
Video Producer and Director: Mason Sperling
Video Editing: Keenan McGuckin
Video Music: Joel Terry
Seven Sisters base picture by Sylvain Billot, courtest of creative commons
Orion Nebula and Andromeda Galaxy pictures copyright by R. L. Dietz, used by permission
Dust Cap visualization by Steve Johnson
Astroscan is a registered trademark of Scientifics Direct, Tonawanda, New York.
Risks and challenges
Suppliers of materials (optical glass, plastics, etc.) may change availability, price, or delivery time.
Shipping prices might increase even more.
We have scouted appropriate workshops, but will not commit until the Kickstart campaign closes … at which time certain possible locations may no longer be available.
Our first-choice staffers may not be available when we want them.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Support this project
- (33 days)