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Latest News and Developments from Astro-Physics

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    Red ball (924 bytes) Introduction and General Availability Information

    Red ball (924 bytes) 26 April 2008 Astro-Physics announces 12 inch f/12.5 Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope.

    Red ball (924 bytes) 11 July 2000 Astro-Physics accepts orders for telescopes with delivery in early year 2001.

    Red ball (924 bytes) 23 February 2000 Technical Bulletin for owners of our Baader or Carl Zeiss Binocular Viewer

    Red ball (924 bytes) 18 February 2000 Asteroids Named for Roland Christen & Al Nagler

    Red ball (924 bytes) 24 January 2000 Regarding Resale/Scalping of Used Astro-Physics Products.

    Red ball (924 bytes) 24 January 2000 Astro-Physics Introduces Maksutov Telescope, Pole Finder and SMD Discontinued

    Red ball (924 bytes) 1 July 1999 Introducing the new 92mm f5 Apo Telescope, Zeiss Binocular Viewer news.
    Other new products: "DigitalSkyTM" software, AstroSolarTM and TurboFilmTM

    Red ball (924 bytes) 1 May 1998 First Production Astro-Physics 1200 GTO Mount On Display at C-7, new 8x50 Finder

    Red ball (924 bytes) 28 April 1998 Carl Zeiss Abbe Ortho Eyepieces - SOLD OUT, New Products: Zeiss/Baader Binocular Viewer, DigitaSky Voice Control Software, SMD Mount Control System, new Portable Piers,
    Convertible 2" 2X Barlow, 80x 900 Photoguide Telescope, and Maxbright update.

    Red ball (924 bytes) 7 April 1997 New Products: Carl Zeiss Abbe Orthoscopic Eyepieces, "Maxbright" 2" Mirror Diagonal

Introduction and General Availability Information

Company Seven continues to display the 90mm f5 "Stowaway", 105mm f6 EDT "Traveler", the 130mm f6 EDF, the 130mm f8 EDT, the 160mm f7.5 EDF, and the 206mm f8 EDF telescopes in our Laurel, Maryland showroom. Also on display all the Astro-Physics GTO mounts, and a variety of third party Alt-Azimuth and German Equatorial mounts.

All of the coming production runs of the much sought after Astro-Physics telescopes and mounts have been sold out. You can ask us to have your name put in our waiting list for future notification by Email, facsimile, or voice when the next production run of any particular telescope is announced. Or, you can periodically check our Internet Site at "Astro-Physics Product Availability" page, where we list all availability information.

Prices are posted at our Internet Site at "Astro-Physics Product Prices" page. The most recent posted price of the Astro-Physics production telescopes is at our Internet Site; this is based on when orders were last accepted for the various models. But the posted prices can not be guaranteed to hold for the next production run of telescope optical tube assemblies and mounts.

If you have any questions, then please call us to discuss your needs at 301-604-2500 or by facsimile to 301-953-2000. Our showroom hours are: Monday to Fridays 11 am to 6 pm Eastern (Washington, D.C.) Time, Saturdays 11 am to 5 pm. Or contact us on line. Please understand that Company Seven can receive several hundred Email inquiries per day, and so it is best to call to obtain the most prompt reply. And note the showroom is closed on Sundays, on U.S. Federal Holidays, and from December 25 to January 1 inclusive.

Astro-Physics is a comprehensive and well integrated telescope system, supported by the only firm in North America that has as much experience with so many of the best products in the industry. We encourage you to take full advantage of our experience and resources, and if at all possible to visit our showroom to see these instruments.

26 April 2008: Astro-Physics announces 12 inch f/12.5 Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope.

    Astro-Physics has shown their 12 inch aperture f/12.5 Maksutov-Cassegrain prototype telescope. This is their latest, and largest Catadioptric telescope and is a notable step up from their previous 10 inch Mak-Cass with about a 1.23X increase in light gathering power and proportionate increase in resolving power.

    Right: Astro-Physics 12 inch Mak-Cass with Dewshield attached on their new 3600GTO German Equatorial Mount.
    Image courtesy of David Illig, all rights reserved.
    Click on image to see enlarged view.

    The basic data about this instrument is (subject to change in production):

      Aperture: 12 inch (304.8 mm)
      Focal Ratio: 12.5
      Focal Length: 3,810 mm
      Visual Resolving Power: 0.380 Arc Secs
      Photo Resolving Power: 0.173 Arc Secs
      Lowest Visual Magnification: 0.69 Degree at 953x (4mm TeleVue Radian, etc.)
      Highest Visual Magnification: 0.06 (46.0 mm Field Stop - 55mm TeleVue Plossl, 41mm TeleVue Panoptic, etc.)
      Light Gathering Power (est.): 1,896 / 1,480 (times that of unaided human eye)

      Focuser: 4 inch with 105mm span of travel
      Weight of OTA: 65 lbs. (29.5 kg)
      OTA Tube Diameter: 14 inch (355.6 mm)
      OTA Overall Length: 36 inch (914.4 mm)

      Finish black anodized front and rear cells, Carbon Fiber OTA clear coated

    The production numbers have not yet been announced but are likely to be spread around by the factory to the few distributors world-wide. After considering how many people have been on the "waiting lists" (some of whom were on the lists well before 1998 still did not get an order in for the 10 inch Mak) there are certain to be some people pleased, with many more disappointed by not being able to buy.

11 July 2000: Astro-Physics accepts orders for telescopes with delivery in early year 2001.

    Astro-Physics and Company Seven have allocated all planned production of the much prized 105mmf6, 130mmf6, and 155mmf7 Apochromatic Refracting telescopes for the first half of the year 2001. This is the first instance where we have accepted orders since all planned production for 1999 and 2000 was sold out in March 1998! Astro-Physics contacted their few worldwide retailers on 11 July with new pricing and availability information.

    The production numbers have been spread around by the factory to the few distributors. After considering how many people have been on the "waiting lists" (some of whom were on the lists well before 1998 still did not get an order in) there are certain to be some people pleased, with many more disappointed since this production announcement can only satisfy maybe 6% of those who have been waiting! We apologize to those who did not get assigned a telescope in July 2000, and hope we may accommodate more when we begin to accept orders for delivery later in year 2001.

23 February 2000: Technical Bulletin for owners of our Baader or Carl Zeiss Binocular Viewer

    The "Carl Zeiss" Binocular Viewer (now marketed by "Baader Planetarium", Astro-Physics and Company Seven) produces the best image clarity of any similar device we are aware of. This accessory was designed to accept the traditional 1.25" eyepiece where the typical chromed male barrel rarely exceeds 7/8th inch (22mm) or so. However, some of the newer 1.25 inch diameter eyepieces which are available on the market incorporate design features that require a longer barrel thereby rendering them incompatible with the Binocular Viewer unless precautions are taken. Eyepieces which are furnished with barrels that are too long may slide in so far that the eyepiece barrel may damage the prism on one side, if fully inserted into the Binocular Viewer receptacle.

    Company Seven will provide an eyepiece stop that you can insert into your Binocular Viewer. You will not need to purchase extra parfocal rings or sell your eyepieces! Please send a quick e-mail or call us. We need to confirm your current shipping address so that we can send this part to you free of charge.

    If it is not convenient for you to contact us and receive the part, then one quick simple solution to this problem is to insert a "spacer ring" onto the barrel of the offending eyepiece in order to insure the barrel can not be seated too deep into the Binocular Viewer.

    We are contacting our customers about this matter, and we will provide an instruction sheet with this warning:

    WARNING: Eyepiece barrels longer than 1.2 inch (30.5mm) will strike the prism within the Binocular Viewer. Eyepieces which are concerns include the TeleVue 22mm Panoptic, and the TeleVue Radians of 5, 6, 10, 14, and 18mm focal length. Parfocal rings from DAR Astro Machining will allow you to use these eyepieces. Contact them at or call O'Neil Photo & Optical Inc (519-679-8840).

    Company Seven will soon post the complete, revised instruction sheet at our web site.

    We would appreciate your informing us about which eyepieces you enjoy using with your Binocular Viewer, and about those which you find may incorporate the longer barrel.

18 February 2000: Asteroids Named for Roland Christen founder of Astro-Physics,
and for Al Nagler the founder of TeleVue Optics

    Asteroid Citation Published in the 2000 Jan 24 "Minor Planet Circulars"

    (11823) Christen = 1981 VF
    Discovered 1981 Nov. 2 by B. A. Skiff at the Anderson Mesa Station of the Lowell Observatory.
    Roland W. Christen (b. 1944) is an optician and maker of affordable apochromatic refractors at the forefront of mechanical and optical design. The citation was provided by Sue and Alan French.

    (10715) Nagler = 1983 RL4
    Discovered 1983 Sept. 11 by B. A. Skiff at the Anderson Mesa Station of the Lowell Observatory.
    Al Nagler (b. 1935) is an optical designer best known for his innovative wide-field eyepieces and versatile, compact refractors. He also designed visual displays for the Gemini and Apollo Lunar Module simulators. The citation was provided by Sue and Alan French.

    Where are these asteroids? This information was provided by Brian Skiff:

    Ephemerides for these objects can be obtained using either the Lowell or MPC Web sites:

    Positions as of February 16, 2000

    (10715) Nagler is presently about magnitude 18.5 in Aquila, just coming up in the pre-dawn sky. It is in the Maria family of asteroids, with semimajor axis near 2.6 AU, eccentricity of 0.27, and inclination of 17.5 degrees.

    (11823) Christen is similarly faint and close to the Sun at the moment, but low in the west in Aries at dusk. Although it is not a member of a well-defined dynamical family, it's semimajor axis is about 2.4 AU, eccentricity is 0.25 and inclination is 4.9 degrees.

    Brian commented in a recent posting: "It is appropriate to their namesakes that both objects are somewhat eccentric."

24 Jan 2000: From Company Seven Regarding Resale of Used Astro-Physics Products

    The demand for the Astro-Physics telescopes and mounts continues to out pace production. While this can be viewed as quite flattering, this situation has spawned scalpers who meticulously scour the Internet and other media searching out products for sale by individuals. Scalpers buy a product to market it to others at a notably inflated cost; they bring no value to a transaction and yet they may markup a product by 30%, 50%, 100%, or more. In fact several states actually out law the scalping of tickets, etc. and yet a number of scalpers find ways to bypass the intent of the law while technically complying with it. More and more of us who view telescopes to be more than mere commodities consider scalpers to be anathema.

    Company Seven works diligently to professionally represent all our products. We maintain an unrivaled Internet presence, spending hours upon hours advising and training our customers how to use these products. This is often accomplished with a surprisingly small profit margin. Sure, Astro-Physics could double the prices and probably still sell all they could make however, the policies are set with the values of offering perfected products, while keeping them as affordable as is practical.

    If profit is the reward for a job well done, then we are mystified that anybody would deal with a reseller who will not earn the profit in a transaction more so since sellers really do not need a middleman to conduct such a transaction. If you will ship a telescope to a scalper then why not sell it directly to someone who really wants the telescope? It is more and more a simple matter to post the telescope on "E-Bay", or onto any one of a number of other commercial or astronomy sites and take the entire profit for yourself!

    Company Seven maintains a database of schools and amateurs who really seek to use the equipment. We will help transact the sale of Astro-Physics equipment from trade in, bought out right, on consigned basis, or of our spare new telescopes selling them at not more than the current retail price of comparable product. We understand this may be less money than the equipment is likely to realize on the open market, but we consider this a fair and honorable way to conduct business.

    If you wish to sell a used Astro-Physics telescope or mount, then you may contact us and we will be happy to advise you how to proceed to sell the telescope yourself, or sell it using our consignment services. Company Seven will seek to place Astro-Physics telescopes where they will do the best public service. And so if a telescope is to end up with a non profit educational organization then Company Seven will waive our 15% consignment commission, and volunteer an Certified Appraisal permitting you to claim the current Fair Market Value value of the donation (above what money you receive from the sale) as a charitable contribution with the Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.).

24 Jan 2000: Astro-Physics Introduces Maksutov Telescope, Pole Finder and SMD Discontinued

  1. After more than a decade of research and development, Astro-Physics is releasing the first of a limited number of Maksutov "Mak" telescopes. Designated the Astro-Physics 10 inch f14.6 Maksutov Apochromat telescope, this is a compact 33 lb. high resolution instrument designed to provide refractor like views (and images) of the brighter, small objects including the planets, moon, double stars, and the like. Astro-Physics has been working to make a telescope that would be compact, perform well in temperature extremes around the world, and meet their exacting requirements for optical and mechanical excellence: they have continued their tradition of innovative excellence.

    A further goal in this development effort was to equal or to approach the performance of their highly prized triplet apochromatic refractors in at least certain applications. One thought in producing these Catadioptric telescopes is that if a number of customers who do not require the versatility of the Apo refractors (which perform superbly well at extremely high magnifications, and down to very low magnifications) will order the Mak telescopes instead of the triplet Apos then this may take some of the burden from the Triplet production line, and thereby help Astro-Physics to satisfy a far greater number of the more demanding amateur and professional clientele.

    Deliveries from the first production run will commence in limited numbers in April of year 2000. It is likely that production will accelerate, and the 10 inch model is likely to be followed by other variants of the design in terms of designed function and aperture.

  2. The SMD Micro Drive Controller option for the Model 400, 600E, 900, and 1200 German equatorial mounts has been discontinued. The demand for the fully capable GTO "Go To" Computer Control Micro Drive Controller option so fully surpassed the SMD option that in order to streamline production, all new mounts sold will include the GTO control system. Company Seven and Astro-Physics will honor existing orders for the SMD option, once these orders are filled we will accept orders in the future for GTO configurations only.

    There may be some limited availability of SMD controllers, as there is support remaining for the prior "QMD" option.

  3. The "Pole Alignment Finder" option for the Astro-Physics German equatorial mounts has been discontinued. The "GTO" mount provide a "Pole Alignment" assistance feature that permit the operator to obtain an even more accurate alignment of the mount than was possible with the Pole Finder.

1 July 1999: Astro-Physics Introduces new 92mm f5 Triplet Apo Telescope,

  1. The long awaited new Astro-Physics 90mm telescope has evolved from a 90mm f7 doublet concept into an 14 inch long, 6 lb., 92.5mm aperture f5 triplet telescope. Deliveries commenced last week; one instrument will remain on display at Company Seven. The telescope resembles the Astro-Physics 105mm "Traveler" telescope but with a textured paint finish common to the larger Astro-Physics telescopes, and scaled down focuser of from 2.7 to 2 inch incorporating a very smooth 10 to 1 reduction geared focuser. The telescope is furnished with one pair of split mounting rings (similar to the "Traveler") and a custom Slide Bar; the Slide Bar fits onto the Astro-Physics DOVE08 Dovetail Plate, and as with the mounting rings it is threaded 1/4 inch 20 threads per inch (TPI) to mount onto camera tripods.

    Company Seven will soon publish photographs and technical information about this telescope however, it is very likely that not many people will see this 90mm telescope at any other than our Laurel, Md. showroom or at our Internet site since the production of this first production run is extremely limited in numbers. It is not likely to remain in production. There remain many more names on the 90mm telescope waiting list than there are telescopes to meet the demand. The telescope ended up costing about as much as the larger 105mm Traveler, since the labor was about the same (or a bit more to "tool up"), the focuser is more complicated, and there is not that much difference in other costs of materials. But those persons who have seen the telescope in our showroom believe it is well worth the price.

  2. The "Bayonet Straight Through Viewing Adapter" (P/N ZBINOB) is now included at no extra charge with the Astro-Physics Binocular Viewer (P/N BPINOV). This is the highly regarded system which employs optical components manufactured by Carl Zeiss, Germany; these optics are housed in castings identical to those originally made by Zeiss. However, in making that change Astro-Physics also increased the net cost of the two component set to $1,250. The 2 inch diameter 2X Barlow lens remains an available option.

  3. Astro-Physics completed the first production "DigitalSkyTM" software and began making deliveries in June, 1999. Company Seven will see to it that the first release (in "CD-ROM" format) is delivered either directly from Astro-Physics or Company Seven to our customers. The software is also to be sold to support third party products (Meade LX-200, Celestron Ultima 2000, etc.). Details of performance and price will be posted at our Internet site "Astro-Physics" section soon.

  4. Astro-Physics and Company Seven have been chosen sole U.S. distributors for the BAADER AstroSolarTM, an exciting new solar filter material that promises to revolutionize high-resolution solar observing. This new high-strength polymer is unlike anything else sold today. Producing a high contrast, scatter-free diffraction-limited image. The manufacturer uses a patented high-temperature process similar to annealing to eliminate internal strains. The material is then ion implanted and metallized with a tough, color neutral layer on both sides of the film. This ion implantation/metallization process (also patented) produces a pinhole-free, high-contrast film that stands up to considerable abuse. The coating cannot easily be rubbed off, and in that respect this is actually safer than coated glass filters. Unlike commercial film and glass filters, AstroSolar will not significantly degrade the imaging capabilities of your telescope.

    This diffraction-limited polymer film is also available in clear transparent form under the trade name TurboFilmTM for those wishing to protect their telescope optics from heavy dewing or windblown sand, salt spray or dust. TurboFilm is made from the same material as the BAADER AstroSolar solar filters, however it is not coated for solar filter use. Many people use a clear filter in front of their camera lenses to protect the coatings from dust and fingerprints. Use TurboFilm to make a protective filter for your telescope optics that will serve the same purpose. Since this clear material is diffraction-limited, it will not degrade the quality of your image. DO NOT use the TurboFilm material as a solar filter to observe the sun or irreversible eye damage will occur.

    Prices of these two new products will be determined in a week or so.

1 May 1998: First 1200 GTO Mount On Display at C-7, new 8x50 Finder,

  1. We are now offering a new Astro-Physics 8x 50mm finder telescope with illuminated Polaris Finder telescope. The view is straight though (in line); it is possible that in the future we will offer a right angle (90 degree) viewfinder. The finder includes the Astro-Physics machined aluminum quick release mounting hardware. The cost is $175.00.

  2. Company Seven has now put on display at the Maryland showroom the first of the production Astro-Physics Model 1200 GTO computer/voice controlled German equatorial mounts. Displayed on the mount is an Astro-Physics 206mm EDF (8.14") f8 triplet Apochromat telescope with 4" focuser. The public is welcome to visit, bring offerings, and meditate in the presence of this awesome system!

  3. Astro-Physics expects to complete the first production "GTO" mounts and the associated "DigitalSky" software and then begin making deliveries in June, 1998.

28 April 1998: Carl Zeiss Abbe Ortho Eyepieces - SOLD OUT,

    New Products: Zeiss/Baader Binocular Viewer, DigitaSky Voice Control Software,
    SMD Mount Control System, new Portable Piers, Convertible 2" 2X Barlow,
    80x 900 Photoguide Telescope, and Maxbright update.

  1. On 7 April of 1997 the Astro-Physics Company, Baader Planetarium, and Company Seven announced the availability of a limited quantity of new production Carl Zeiss "Abbe Orthoscopic" oculars for astronomical telescopes. This marked the first production of such accessories since when Zeiss dissolved their amateur telescope division in the Fall of 1995.

    The new production Carl Zeiss Abbe Orthoscopic series oculars are now SOLD OUT.

  2. In May 1998 we expect to begin deliveries of the new Binocular Viewer. This accessory accepts two similar focal length 1.25" diameter oculars (not included) to permit observing with both eyes simultaneously through a telescope. The unit incorporates optics made by Carl Zeiss in Germany; these are precisely assembled and aligned into the original Zeiss designed castings (now owned by a third party in Germany). The binocular viewer is furnished with a high quality 90 degree prism diagonal.

    The resulting images can be breath taking, producing a view that is unrivaled in contrast, clarity, and even distribution of light, and appearing three dimensional. Such viewers are particularly desirable for views of the planets, moon, and sun, and on some of the brighter deep sky objects (depending on telescope quality and aperture, and eyepieces used).

    The new production unit appears to be a duplicate of the much sought after (now discontinued) Carl Zeiss unit, the new unit will carry the trade mark of "Baader Planetarium". It will be distributed n the U.S. by Astro-Physics and Company Seven. Production is limited, and so those who desire such a unit should contact us to discuss compatibility, interpupilary distance, and eyepiece selection issues.

    Prices are posted at our Internet Site at "Astro-Physics Product Prices" page.

  3. On 8 September 1997 the Astro-Physics company formally announced a new era in telescope control: their new "DigitalSky VoiceTM" telescope control system. This system culminates "go-to" computer controlled telescope mount research and development efforts that go back to before 1992 when Company Seven first showed an Astro-Physics computer controlled Model 1200 Mount prototype at the Winter Star Party in Florida. The revolutionary two way verbal communication "DigitalSky Voice"system is the first "go-to" computer control system that Astro-Physics knows has the reliability (in all conceivable operating environmental extremes), the traditional Astro-Physics durability, along with the precision and functional capabilities desired by experienced astronomers to justify carrying the "Astro-Physics" trade mark. Couple this revolutionary software and hardware with the already superbly engineered Astro-Physics mounts and telescopes and you can enjoy a view of the universe from your own starship!

    The first Astro-Physics mount to be equipped with the "DigitalSky Voicetm" control system is the "Model 1200GTO" which are scheduled for delivery beginning in late April or May of 1998. The first production model will be displayed at our showroom in Laurel, Maryland.

    Just imagine the highlights of this revolutionary system: speak out "m-1-0-1" and listen as the mount replies its acknowledgment of your verbal command with a synthesized voice and then slews the mount very quietly from one horizon to another at a rate of about 5 degrees per second (1200x Sidereal) and with repeatable precision places Messier 101 onto a 10.25mm square CCD - centered precisely on target (spot (Finger Lakes Instrument Company has the CCD images on display on their web site)! Or if you prefer, you can direct the movements of the mount with a few clicks of the computer's mouse (or track ball or track pad) at the computer.

    This mount has no built in hardware obsolescence as the system is controlled by any modern desk or notebook Pentium 75 MHz or faster PC compatible computer with 16 MB ram or more memory, running either the Windows95/98 or NT operating systems. With the current rate of technology advancements imagine a palm sized (or credit card sized) computer controlling the mount! To take advantage of the voice control requires the computer have a convenient built-in microphone, or accept an optional external microphone, or an optional completely wireless headset microphone!


    • Remain at the eyepiece (or in another country with a speaker phone) while you direct the telescope mount solely with verbal commands.

    • Mount slews onto the object that you specify from an extensive object database that includes: Messier, IC, NGC, ADS (American Double Star) catalogs, Planets, or to any Declination and Right Ascension coordinates that you specify. All as simple as speaking "Pluto", or "M 1", or "find the Cocoon Nebula"!

    • Retain your dark adaptation as there is no need to look at the computer display, or rely on illuminated displays or flashlights.

    • Protect your personal computer from cold weather - leave the personal computer in a heated car or observatory control room.

    • Hands free operation of the telescope.

    • Ability to control the mount by your voice alone even when in a crowd that this no doubt will draw.


    • Guides you through Polar Alignment of the mount, and all functions of the program.

    • Provides extensive information and descriptions of the objects you are viewing.

    • As an aid to astrophotography with functions such as by advising the time remaining in an astrographic exposure.

    • Notifies you when an object that you select at the beginning of the session has reached the desired position in the sky.

    • Informs you what objects are visible or not from your observing site and time.


    • Automatic meridian swapping, avoids piers or other possible binding obstructions.

    • Easy two-star polar alignment routine.

    • Search for objects on criteria you define: within specific constellation or across entire sky, database, object type (galaxy, globular cluster, open cluster, planetary nebulae, cluster with nebula), magnitude limit.

    • Auto Tour: define a sequence of objects you can select for your viewing enjoyment.

    • Tour Builder: prepare tours of your favorite objects before your viewing screen.

    • Intuitive computer interface. Extremely easy to learn and operate.

    • Use control system with Astro-Physics computer controllable mounts, or with any mount that uses the Meade protocol (Meade computer mounts LX200, LX500, LDX650, LXD750).

    • Can employ control system in conjunction with the popular Software Bisque "TheSky" planetarium software. You can even use the DigitalSky voice control when looking at the star map displays of "TheSky" on your computer screen!

    • Mount power draws 12 volts DC at only 4 milliamps!

    • Has PEC (Periodic Error Correction), and Declination anti-backlash circuitry.

    • Computer screen has unique, proprietary window. With tuning features, display of position, RA & DEC, whether or not the computer hears you, when to calibrate, sky catalog with information display (recognizes common names such as "Whirlpool", "Pluto", etc.).

    • Synthesized computer voice; computer speaks and recognizes English (even with slight accents), although system is created with future growth into a variety of optional foreign languages.

    • 4 arc secs per digital "push" coupled to a digital sky ("TheSky" type programs). Compatible with "TheSky" of Software Bisque.

    • Motors are a very high quality non-cogging AC servo motor. No pulses (as on stepper motors) for very smooth tracking.

    • Can operate independent of a PC with standard Astro-Physics hands control (similar to QMD controller)

    • Ultra High "Coolness" factor!

    Company Seven will have this system on display at our Laurel, Maryland showroom soon. The production "DigitalSky Voicetm" system will first be available as an option installed in new Astro-Physics Model 1200 German Equatorial Mount. Then the "DigitalSky Voicetm" system will be made available for the Astro-Physics Model 900 mounts scheduled for delivery in mid 1998. Eventually the "DigitalSky Voicetm" system will be available on Model 400 and Model 600E series mounts.

    Price has been set and is now posted at our Internet Site Astro-Physics Products Prices page.

  4. In May 1998 Astro-Physics will begin deliveries of a new Servo-Drive" high speed slewing drive system for all of their German Equatorial Mounts. The "SMD" system will incorporate the same servo motors as those employed with the "DigitalSky Voicetm" control system. However, the "SMD" includes a hand control that resembles (in appearance and functions) that furnished with the QMD Mount Series. While the "SMD" drive system does not include the "go-to" functions or the fast slewing computer ROM chip, these features can be added later as an upgrade. The system will operate independent of a personal computer, and from conventional 12 volt DC power sources.

    The controller features include: fine quiding rates, and slew rates of up to 64X. The first mount equipped with this system will be the Model 1200 SMD heads delivered in May 1998. Astro-Physics mounts made in 1998 will have the SMD (or GTO) option available. The exact price of this servo drive system as an upgrade for existing "QMD" systems has not yet been firmly established, but it will probably not be cost effective to perform so, we suggest existing owners who wish to upgrade sell their old mounts and order new SMD or GTO mounts.

  5. In addition to the new "DigitalSky Voicetm" control system, Astro-Physics will now offer new Portable Piers for the Model 800, Model 900 and Model 1200 mounts in several additional heights to better accommodate a wider selection of possible telescope optical tube assembly designs such as the Newtonian. These additional pier heights are: 24 inches, 32 and 42 inches.

  6. The Barlow accessory lens is typically employed to increase the effective focal length of a telescope objective such as is desirable for high-magnification photo-visual applications. The Astro-Physics 2 inch diameter 2X Barlow has been redesigned to make it better suited for use in wide range of uses. The new Astro-Physics "Convertible Barlow" (Part No. BARCON) is a two-part accessory which is can now be used as a lens alone such as with a Zeiss Binocular Viewer, or with the 2" Barrel Adapter as a conventional 2" diameter Barlow. The features that made this Barlow unique in the industry are retained: non-marring brass locking ring, ability to accept 48mm filters, etc. The result is that it can be employed at least as follows:

    • at 1.7X when placed after the Astro-Physics "MaxBrighttm" 2 inch diagonal

    • at 2X when placed before the Diagonal or Camera Adapter

    • at 2.4X when placed before the Zeiss Binocular Viewer

    • at 2.4X when placed before the Zeiss Binocular Viewer used with an Extension tube

    The price of this accessory remains at $185.00.

  7. Astro-Physics has announced a new 80mm aperture x 900mm focal length Achromatic Photo-Guide telescope (Part No. 80GUID2). The new guidescope includes a 1.25" diameter Helical Rack and Pinion Focuser, with a drawtube locking set screw. Two one half inch wide aluminum bands are attached to the optical tube in order to protect the white paint finish from being marred by mounting rings; the position of these protective rings is adjustable. This guidescope has a larger overall diameter than the previous 80mm guide scope offered by Astro-Physics. Therefore, it will require the new 4.4" guidescope rings (Part No. GR4400) which are sold as a pair, or an equivalent pair of mounting rings to attach the guidescope to the Astro-Physics telescope mounting rings.

    The cost of the new guidescope 80GUID2 is $425.00.

    The cost of the new guidescope rings GR4400 is $90.00.

  8. Demand for the new 2" diameter "Maxbright" has exceeded the factory ability to produce this accessory. The price remains at $290.00.

  9. Discontinued products are:

    • Model 1200 QMD, 900 QMD, 600E QMD Mount.
    • 2 Inch Barlow Model BAR2X0
    • 80 x 900mm Guide Scope Model 80GUID
    • 8x 50mm Right Angle Finder Model 850RAI

7 April 1997: New Carl Zeiss Abbe Orthoscopic Eyepieces, "Maxbright" 2" Mirror Diagonal

  1. On 7 April of 1997 the Astro-Physics Company, Baader Planetarium, and Company Seven announced the availability of a limited quantity of new production Carl Zeiss "Abbe Orthoscopic" oculars for astronomical telescopes. This marked the first production of such accessories since when Zeiss dissolved their amateur telescope division in the Fall of 1995.

    The new production Carl Zeiss Abbe Orthoscopic series oculars are now available in limited quantity, and only as a set of five with one optional ocular. These are: 4mm, 6mm, 10mm, 16mm, 25mm. An optional sixth ocular of 34mm is also available. It is planned that only 100 five piece sets will be made available in the United States. In the US these will be sold only by Astro-Physics Co. of Rockford, Illinois and by Company Seven Astro-Optics Division of Laurel, Maryland.

    Company Seven will contact its customers to advise them of the product availability. And it is planned by Company Seven to accept orders for these items only from those who have already established a customer relationship, or to members of the "Carl Zeiss Historica Society". Even then, the availability issue is such that we ask our clientele to buy only one set, or possibly as many as two sets if they have a binocular viewer.

  2. On 7 April 1997 Astro-Physics announced the new 2" diameter "Maxbright" 2" mirror diagonal. A "Zenith Mirror" (or "diagonal") accessory is designed to provide a comfortable viewing position for the observer by diverting the image at the rear of the telescope off axis by 90 degrees to the side, all with minimal degradation of image quality. The "Maxbright" diagonal incorporates several features unprecedented in our industry to provide optimum performance and years of use.

    Among the new features, this new Astro-Physics 2" diagonal has a very high-tech dielectric coating that was developed originally for military optics used in hostile environments such as blowing desert sand. There is no aluminum or other reflective metal used. The reflective surface consists of 52 layers of thin film oxides, similar to those used in anti-reflection coatings. The coatings are deposited by an electron beam evaporator at a high temperature. The result is that reflectivity is above 99% over the entire 4000 to 7000 ? photo-visual range. Thin film coatings have extremely low surface scatter compared to aluminum or enhanced aluminum coatings; examination with a laser source shows approximately a 5 fold improvement in surface scatter.

    The price of this accessory is $290.00.


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