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Launch on the easiest route to the stars: POINT AND LOOK! See the BIG PICTURE: the richest, widest, most contrasty view.  Wow, now!
Launch on the easiest route to the stars: POINT AND LOOK! See the BIG PICTURE: the richest, widest, most contrasty view.  Wow, now!
Launch on the easiest route to the stars: POINT AND LOOK! See the BIG PICTURE: the richest, widest, most contrasty view. Wow, now!
108 backers pledged $31,557 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$31,557

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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.

Moon Craters and Mountains
Moon Craters and Mountains
Lots of Sisters, Not Just 7
Lots of Sisters, Not Just 7
New stars are born in the Orion Nebula
New stars are born in the Orion Nebula
Andromeda Galaxy, 2.4 million l.y. away
Andromeda Galaxy, 2.4 million l.y. away

BRIGHT–EYE MODELS

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.
Dust Cap
Dust Cap

WHAT COLORS WOULD YOU LIKE?

We expect to be able to make each telescope shell in 2 colors.  The colors of molten plastic should flow into one another.  Please tell us (using "Comments") a pair of colors you especially prefer.

SPECIFICATIONS

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.

OUR PLAN

  • 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.

BUDGET

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:

Draft of Website

http://www.everythingintheuniverse.com/blog/draft-for-bright-eye-website

Draft of Manual

http://www.everythingintheuniverse.com/blog/draft-for-bright-eye-manual

CREDITS

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

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Karma/good deed, level 1: An eMail of thanks, and a warm feeling good for an autumn evening.

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    Karma/good deed, level 5: Handwritten thanks, and a warmer feeling, strong enough for a winter night.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    “A Starhopper’s Guide to Messier Objects” atlas of star charts. Most amateur astronomers “star-hop” to find the hundred finest nebulae, clusters, and galaxies. Mailed to US or Canada.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    “A Starhopper’s Guide to Messier Objects” atlas of star charts. Most amateur astronomers “star-hop” to find the hundred finest nebulae, clusters, and galaxies. Mailed outside of US and Canada

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Inscribed and autographed copy of my book “What Your Astronomy Textbook Won’t Tell You”. It supplements common textbooks and general surveys. Mailed to US or Canada.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    The Atlas of Asterisms will help you point your Bright-Eye Telescope to about 500 star patterns that aren't "official constellations". Find geometric shapes, letters, and many more interesting figures. Autographed by author Jeffrey Corder. Ships to anyone who pays for delivery on their own shipping account.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Inscribed and autographed copy of my book “What Your Astronomy Textbook Won’t Tell You”. It supplements common textbooks and general surveys. Mailed outside of US and Canada.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    The Atlas of Asterisms will help you point your Bright-Eye Telescope to about 500 star patterns that aren't "official constellations". Find geometric shapes, letters, and many more interesting figures. Autographed by author Jeffrey Corder. Mailed within USA only.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    A base: Cool shape, meant for Bright–Eye to swivel on. Works for same-shaped telescopes. What else would you use it for? Ships within US only.

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    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    A base: Cool shape, meant for Bright–Eye to swivel on. Works for same-shaped telescopes. What else would you use it for? Ships to Canada and Europe.

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    Empty telescope shell: Just the body shell, no contents or fittings. Good conversation-starter. What would you use it for? Ships to anyone who pays for delivery on their own shipping account.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Empty telescope shell: Just the body shell, no contents or fittings. Good conversation-starter. What would you use it for? Ships to: USA.

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    Pledge $240 or more About $240

    Get your name on an asterism! Jeffrey Corder will soon publish The Atlas of Asterisms -- patterns that look good in a Bright-Eye Telescope. Most star patterns are not yet named. Get a star pattern named after you, or someone or something you want to honor! 4 to 16 stars @$60/star. Includes a commemorative plaque and an autographed copy of the atlas. Subject to author's approval. Not a function of the International Astronomical Union. Shipping within USA only.

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    Pledge $240 or more About $240

    Get your name on an asterism! Jeffrey Corder will soon publish The Atlas of Asterisms -- patterns that look good in a Bright-Eye Telescope. Most star patterns are not yet named. Get a star pattern named after you, or someone or something you want to honor! 4 to 16 stars @$60/star. Includes a commemorative plaque and an autographed copy of the atlas. Subject to author's approval. Not a function of the International Astronomical Union. Ships to anyone who pays for delivery on their own shipping account.

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    Pledge $499 or more About $499

    Autographed Bright-Eye Optical Tube Assembly: the bare-bones core of the telescope (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. Ships to anyone who pays for delivery on their own shipping account.

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    Pledge $539 or more About $539

    Autographed Bright-Eye Optical Tube Assembly: the bare-bones core of the telescope (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. Ships to USA.

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    Pledge $549 or more About $549

    QUICK-GRAB MODEL: a “second” telescope for experienced observers, when the occasion doesn’t call for big equipment. Complete autographed 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. Ships to anyone who pays for delivery on their own shipping account.

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    Pledge $599 or more About $599

    NEWCOMER MODEL: Everything you need to get started: complete autographed telescope, base, dust-cap, dew shield, eyepiece, skywatching book, carrying strap. Ships to anyone who pays for delivery on their own shipping account.

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  19. Select this reward

    Pledge $599 or more About $599

    CHECK-OUT MODEL, for libraries, clubs, and classes to check out. Complete autographed 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. Ships to anyone who pays for delivery on their own shipping account.

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    Pledge $609 or more About $609

    QUICK-GRAB MODEL: a “second” telescope for experienced observers, when the occasion doesn’t call for big equipment. Complete autographed 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. Ships to: USA

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    Pledge $659 or more About $659

    NEWCOMER MODEL: Everything you need to get started: complete autographed telescope, base, dust-cap, dew shield, eyepiece, skywatching book, carrying strap. Ships to: USA.

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  22. Select this reward

    Pledge $659 or more About $659

    CHECK-OUT MODEL, for libraries, clubs, and classes to check out. Complete autographed 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. Ships to: USA.

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Pay half the cost of the dust-cap mold, get your initials (or monogram or similar) on it, plainly visible on every single cap it molds. Plus a dust-cap showing your initials.

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    Pledge $950 or more About $950

    Pay 1/10 the cost of the eyepiece focuser mold, get your initials (or monogram or similar) on it, plainly visible on every single telescope it molds.

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    Pledge $1,650 or more About $1,650

    Super Reward: Pay 1/3 the cost of the base mold, get your initials (or monogram or similar) on it, plainly visible on every single base it molds. Plus a base showing your initials.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Super Reward: I’ll visit your private evening star party (where guests look through telescopes) or your 1-day event. Anywhere I can drive in the lower-48 US states or southern Canada, midJune to late August 2016. In California only: until midJune, and September-October 2016. Sensitive to each other's timing. Plus a complete autographed Bright-Eye telescope, including shoulder strap, skywatching book, eyepiece, ovals, dust-cap, base, and my book.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Superest-Duperest Reward: Pay half the cost of the body shell mold, get your initials (or monogram or similar) on it, plainly visible on every single telescope body shell it molds. Plus a complete Bright-Eye telescope, autographed.

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Funding period

- (33 days)