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TeleVue eyepieces and accessories
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 directed to:
 Starmasterô Portable Telescopes
 Rick Singmaster


An explanation of Hybrid, Truss, FX, Super FX

Starmaster manufactures two types of truss-tube telescopes:

  • Our 14.5" Hybrid Scopes feature a hybrid truss for faster setup.
  • Our 16" through 24" Truss Scopes feature an easy-to-assemble truss system suitable for larger apertures.

Our Hybrid Scopes include a 14.5" F/4.3 scope with optics by Carl Zambuto (Zambuto Optical Company), as well as a 14.5" F/4 FX scope with optics by Mike Lockwood (Lockwood Custom Optics).

Our standard Truss Scopes feature Zambuto Optics in the following sizes and focal ratios:  16" F/4.3, 18" F/4, 18" F/4.3, 20" F/4, 20" F/4.3

Two new series of telescopes have been recently introduced.  They both use primary mirrors with lower/shorter/faster focal ratios from Lockwood Custom Optics.

  • The FX Series includes one 14.5" F/4 Hybrid Telescope and F/3.7 Truss Telescope models: 16.5", 20", and 24" (all F/3.7)
  • The Super FX Series includes 20" (FX-Q), 22", and 24" with F/3.3 optics.  The NEW 20" FX-Q features all-quartz optics!  The 20" and 22" feature modified mirror cells that allow the mirror and rocker boxes to be reduced in size.  So, these telescopes are the same physical size as the 18" and 20" FX telescopes, but you get 2" of extra aperture!

QUESTION:  Do you have limited observing time or problems lifting heavy items?
If so, Starmaster makes four telescopes with thin primary mirrors that you might consider.

  • 14.5" F/3.7 FX, 16.5" F/3.7 FX  - mirror is 1.25"-thick Pyrex
  • 20" F/3.3 Super FX-Q              - mirror is 1.25"-thick QUARTZ
  • 22" F/3.3 Super FX                 - mirror is 1.50"-thick Pyrex
  • 24" F/3.3 Super FX                 - mirror is 1.52"-thick Pyrex

Thin optics cool faster and are lighter.  Contrary to popular misinformation, they offer the same optical performance as thicker optics, and actually outperform thicker optics when temperatures are falling.  These optics are made by Mike Lockwood, who specializes in thin, fast, high-quality optics.  These optics weigh less than thicker mirrors and will provide you with more quality observing time because they will equilibrate more quickly than thicker mirrors.

NOTE:  The Versa Series telescopes have been discontinued and have sold out.


Our unique truss design provides quick, no tool setup and makes the telescope a very compact unit for easy transport.

We use a custom built, all steel, open design, quick-detach mirror cell, with lightweight oak transport case. This feature makes our telescopes very portable and safe to transport.

-All components, large and small, show Starmaster's commitment to craftsmanship. -All telescopes are tested optically and mechanically before delivery.
Note: On 20 inch and smaller scopes, the mirror and cell may be left in the telescope for transport when ramps and transport handles are used for loading the scope.

Primary Mirrors: All of our telescopes feature Pyrex mirrors mounted in premium, research quality mirror cells. We use 1.25"- (FX series) and 1.6"-thick primary mirrors for one simple reason - performance is improved due to faster cool-down time.

Years of dedicated observing have proven to us the value and importance of quality optics. Quality and consistency are the criteria that we use to choose our optical suppliers.

For our 11" through 20" telescopes F/4.3 and slower, we use primary mirrors supplied exclusively by the Zambuto Optical Company. Carl Zambuto consistently produces mirrors that have smooth and accurately figured surfaces, edge to edge. This attention to detail costs a little more, but it yields the best possible full-aperture views of planets and deep sky objects.

For our 14.5" F/4 (Hybrid) and 16.5" through 24" FX Truss scopes (F/3.3 and F/3.7), we use primary mirrors supplied exclusively by Lockwood Custom Optics. Mike Lockwood also consistently produces mirrors that have smooth and accurately figured surfaces, edge to edge. Working at these fast focal ratios means more careful work is required to figure a mirror, but this results in a markedly shorter telescope.  Working with thinner mirror blanks (14.5" F/4, 16.5" F/3.7, and 20" F/3.3 are 1.25"-thick) also requires special care, but this results in much faster cooling optics, providing more quality observing time.

Careful testing of the FX optics has shown that they too provide the best possible full-aperture views of planets and deep sky objects. There is absolutely NO compromise in the optical quality of the FX telescopes, just more convenience.

Primary mirror coatings utilize Ion-Assisted Deposition (IAD) and quartz overcoat. This provides higher reflectivity than the "standard" 89% sputtered coatings. Using a single IAD metallic layer also eliminates the tendency of multilayer "enhanced" metallic coatings to roughen the mirror surface thereby degrading the image. We believe that the fidelity of the optical images are better preserved with this process, with the additional assurance that the optical coatings will outlast "run-of-the-mill" SiO-overcoated (monoxide, not the superior quartz) sputtered coatings.

Secondary Mirrors: Carefully sized secondary mirrors provide superb full-aperture planetary views and high contrast deep sky images. 96-97% enhanced coatings are standard.

Mike Lockwood now tests the entire surface of all Starmaster secondary mirrors, and he refigures them if necessary. This ensures that the entire optical system meets our exacting specifications. Why? Because Mike's testing of batches of secondaries showed significant variation in quality, regardless of supplier, and Mike would not agree to supply optics without making sure that the secondary mirrors used in the FX telescopes were up to his specifications. As a result of this, Starmaster telescopes, which already were the most carefully and thoroughly tested commercial truss-telescopes available, are now even more carefully tested!

Packing an 18 inch secondary cage.
-Every wood piece of a Starmaster Telescope is protected by a durable exterior grade polyurethane finish.

-The upper cage, which is shown being packed in the image at left, utilizes lightweight ABS material for the liner. This material is far more stable than Kydex and will not deform. (Kydex has a tendency to change dimension when exposed to sunlight, such as when a telescope is left out in the sun at a star party.)

-Oak plywood construction with high-gloss polyurethane finish is standard on all models.

-Premium Crayford 2" focuser, with 1 1/4" adapter, is standard on all models.

Carol sewing another light shroud
-Light shroud for trusses, dust cover for secondary and carrying case for trusses included at no charge.

-Telrad finder with dew shield is standard on all models.

-Aluminum truss poles with black, rubberized armor coating standard.

-Light shroud for trusses, dust cover for secondary and carrying case for trusses included at no charge.

All major components of Starmaster Telescopes are made with pride in the United States of America by small, community based companies.

-Cancelled orders will be subject to a restocking fee which will be equal to 15% of the BASE price of the telescope, NO EXCEPTIONS.
-Orders are not transferable without permission of Starmaster Telescopes and will be subject to additional fees.
-We are now accepting international orders for telescopes 22" in aperture and under.

For comments or questions about this site, email Starmaster Portable Telescopes.

Rick has a second passion besides astronomy - Click here to see what it is!