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The Perfect Telescope is. . .
                    . . . a small apochromatic refractor.

Letter to editor by Mr. Beat Kuechler published some years ago in the "Amateur Telescope Making Journal" Issue #10
The original letter is accompanied by a sketch showing an original TeleVue "Genesis" 4" telescope
on a simple "Panoramic" head and wood wood tripod. The Genesis is an TeleVue 500mm f5 design
introduced in 1988 but it has since replaced by even more advanced models.

Perfect Telescope Is.. When I was a young man, I built the largest telescope in my hometown. It was a whopping 8 inches in diameter and none of my friends had ever seen anything like it. By the time I was in my forties, I'd built several telescopes (mostly for the kids and their friends), ranging in size from 4 to 12-1/2 inches in diameter. In those days, a 12 1/2 inch telescope was considered a monster and being recognized for having built one that big was quite an honor.

I will be 73 in June, and when I look back to the days when I was an avid telescope maker (or assembler) I can't recall spending nearly as much time observing the heavens as I spent in hauling the things around to show people and tell them how I made them from plate glass, plywood, and old plumbing parts.

After having been away from telescope making for many years, I found that I had lost the fascination for hours of grinding and testing. I just wanted something to look through and have some fun with when the clouds and temperature would permit.

Looking around the property, I discovered that I had one complete 10-inch telescope and a tube, mirrors and focuser for a 12 1/2- incher -- all of the smaller units had gone to other homes. Some of your more mature readers might guess what I discovered. The damn things were too heavy-much heavier than I remembered. They were good performers in their day. But, it was plain that it was going to take a lot of time, money, and muscle to restore either one. I had none of those things to spare .

About that time, I started paying more attention to advertisements for "apochromatic refractors" in the astronomy magazines. I had been hearing about them for several years, but I didn't know the difference between an apochromat and a laundromat. I just figured it was another one of those gimmicks to part a sucker from his hard earned money.

Anyway, to make a long story short, a friend showed me an ad for a used Tele Vue Genesis, and we took a drive that evening to have a look at it. When we arrived, I learned that there was no stand to go with it. Nevertheless, on my friend's excited recommendation, I bought the thing and took it home.

After one leisurely evening in my workshop, I had a 4-inch refractor on a homemade base sitting atop an old surveyor's tripod, and was ready for the next clear night. When the first clear night came, I was amazed! I had no idea that a telescope which was so small on the outside could be so big on the inside. I can't recall ever seeing anything as clearly with the 10-inch telescope I had been using 20 plus years ago. I suppose that could be due to the fact that I was living in New Jersey at the time and that I hadn't done any serious observing in years.

The result of all this is that I am very happy with this little telescope in so many ways. It is much more compact than the refractors that were around when I was a boy. It has a very wide, clean, field of view. I can easily use it with my glasses on. And, I can set it up and take it down almost instantly.

I have saved the best reason for owning such a telescope for last. I do not recall my wife (of 44 years) ever having more than a peek through any of my telescopes. She said they were always a pain to use. Now that I have this little hot-dog refractor, she is with me just about every time I set it up and it has been the launching pad for many a fine, and sometimes overdue, conversation.

Mr. Cook, after reading over this letter, I really don't think it is the kind of technical stuff you people are looking for. But I promised to tell you about the telescope that's been best for me and I hope my comments will be of some use to you.



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