Lockwood Custom Optics at the
2008 Okie-Tex Star Party

The 16.5" f/3.65 FX telescope debuts; the 17mm Ethos wows; faster scopes may be the on the way!

All images and text Copyright Mike Lockwood, 2008

Another trip to Oklahoma

The 2008 Okie-Tex Star Party was graced with generally good weather and clear skies. Rick brought a 16.5" F/3.65 FX telescope, and we and a number of others enjoyed using it the whole week. The telescope, with a 1.25"-thick primary mirror, was an excellent thermal performer, providing sharp images of Jupiter despite falling temperatures at dusk. Stars remained sharp into the night as it got colder, and the images were limited by the seeing.

The highlights of the star party for me were finally getting to look through a 16.5" FX, and using our new 30" F/3.77 telescope, built by myself, Mike Conron, and Bob Nonnemann. I figured the mirror over the summer and it was coated a couple of weeks before the star party. It rewarded us with superb images.

Andromeda was FIVE FIELDS WIDE in a 26mm Nagler! The detail in the Veil was like nothing I've ever seen. You, too, can experience this since Rick is now offering a 30" F/3.7 FX telescope!

Me and the 16.5" f/3.65 FX

Above is an image of me with the 16.5" FX that we used extensively at Okie-Tex. One evening I was returning to the area where we were set up, and I found Barbara Wilson, Rick, and a couple of other people at the 16.5" telescope, and they seemed quite excited.

I found out quickly that there was a unique object in the focuser - the prototype TeleVue 17mm Ethos eyepiece!

Using a Paracorr, the images in the 16.5" FX telescope were sharp to the edge of the field. This was simply amazing, and images of the double cluster, Veil, and other large objects were simply stunning, all at F/3.65!

The contrast of the 17mm Ethos was just as good as the superb 13mm, so it is clearly going to be an industry-advancing product. (By the way, Rick is a TeleVue dealer, so you know where you can get one.)

This experience with the 17mm Ethos/Paracorr combination made me think about just how fast a Newtonian telescope could be (how low of an F-ratio it could have). I had a 20" F/3 mirror polished out and ready to figure, and its use in a visual telescope now seemed possible. Rick and I discussed this possibility to kill time while relaxing in the shade. Based on the plans we made, 2009 will be a very interesting year for both of us.

UPDATE - Click HERE (Article 1), HERE (Article 2), or HERE (Article 3) to see the 20" F/3 MX scope, now a reality!

Below that is a shot of the southern Milky Way, also at Okie-Tex, from the horizon up past Altair. I took it one evening with a wide-field lens on my Canon 350D. The bright object is Jupiter.

The amazing southern Milky Way at Okie-Tex

Clear, dark skies, warm weather, good friends, and good seeing.

  -Mike Lockwood, Lockwood Custom Optics

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