Observatory in a Bag

This little grab-and-go telescope kit fits easily behind a car seat and
contains everything needed for on-the-spot astronomy.

The camera tripod is optional, but it is easy to carry nested between the canvas carry handles and takes up little room behind the car seat.

Neatly organized in the bag's internal pockets we find everything needed:

The telescope itself is made of a short length of aluminum tubing. The objective lens was procured from a surplus catalog, which also supplied the hefty eyepiece from a piece of military equipment. The objective lens cell and tail piece were machined from aluminum castings and the internal baffles are assembled together with threaded rod and secured to the tailpiece.

The 45 degree erecting prism assembly was an off-the-shelf accessory from a common retailer, and the generous diopter adjustment of the eyepiece serves as focuser.

The peep sight was inspired by the similar item available for Edmund's AstroScan richest-field telescope. I designed it such that the peep hole is large enough for an observer's dark-adapted pupil, and the target ring describes the same field of view seen through the telescope. Black paint on the target ring ensures a good silhouette against the night sky (the original white paint wasn't satisfactory).

By loosening a thumbscrew on the protective dustcap at the front of the scope, a safe and handy solar filter is exposed. This filter is made from the Baader film which rose to such popularity upon it's introduction several years ago. The dustcap with its solar filter slides smoothly off of the end of the telescope for terrestrial or night time astronomical use.

The black nylon strap shown near the end of the telescope is used for holding a small chemical handwarmer against the tube to keep the lens clear on dewy nights.

The peepsight makes a dandy finder for pointing the telescope at the sun; simply align the small spot of sunlight coming through the peep hole with the sight's shadow and the solar image will be centered in the eyepiece.

The photo of the solar disk below was taken through this telescope by holding a digital camera up to the eyepiece. Simple!

I intend to provide another eyepiece in the range of 50x to the kit.

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