Congratulations to Donna T. of New Jersey, winner of the Oberwerk BT-100-45 Giveaway Contest! Donna’s name was randomly drawn by our advertising agency from a list of contest entries collected from early December through Jan. 31st. Donna won a one-of-a-kind prototype “Big Eyes” Gray BT-100-45 binocular telescope and fork mount, as well as a one-of-a-kind Slate Gray Maple TR3 hardwood tripod. The production “Big Eyes” Gray is a shade lighter than the prototype, while Slate Gray finish is only available on the poplar tripod (not maple). We wish Donna and her husband Steve many enjoyable nights of stargazing with their great new astro-gear!
The Miami Valley Astronomical Society, Oberwerk, and Warped Wing Brewery collaborated and held a “Warped Astronomy” night on 9/28/2017, which combined two of our favorite things- astronomy and beer! Well over 100 people showed up, and were treated to views of the sun using a solar filter-equipped BT-100-45, followed by fabulous views of the moon (BT-70-45 at 32x), and everybody’s favorite- Saturn (BT-100-45 at 75x)! Inside the brewery, roaming MVAS members did “table talks” on various astronomy topics, while attendees sampled Warped Wing’s brews. A great time was had by all, pretty sure we’ll do this again!
Prototype high-gloss white BT-100-45 on TR3 walnut tripod
Trying to grab a photo off the hydrogen-alpha scope
Wowed by the iPad view
Totality in Russellville, KY
iPhone captures images from the BT-100-45
A bigger bite...
The sun returns...
Approaching 4th contact
While Dayton, Ohio would see 89% coverage of the sun during the Great American Eclipse, the crew from Oberwerk headed south in order to experience totality. Linda and Rick were near Gatlinburg, TN, while Kevin and Jane headed for western Kentucky. Hopkinsville, KY was declared the best place in the Midwest to observe the eclipse, but we elected to avoid the crowds and chose Russellville- about 30 miles to the east, and also on the center line (2 minutes 29 seconds of totality). In order to avoid crazy-high hotel rates, we stayed in Louisville, KY on Sunday- which was far enough from the band of totality to still have normal-price rooms available (not to mention downtown Louisville’s 4th Street Live is always a great time).
Our plan was to arrive in Russellville early Monday morning and then scope out the town for the best place to observe. But first we had to stop at the Russellville Walmart Supercenter to purchase chairs, since we had forgotten to load them in Dayton. Upon exiting the Walmart (8am), we noticed that the perimeter of the huge parking lot was lined with cars, and some people were setting up telescopes in the lawn area surrounding the parking lot. We immediately realized that we had found our spot- so we grabbed one of the last available perimeter parking spots and set up.
We brought an Oberwerk BT-100-45 for visual observation (prototype high-gloss white with Oberwerk-USA TR3 walnut tripod), and an Oberwerk 20-60×82 Sport ED Spotting Scope with Novagrade Tablet Adapter, to capture images and video on an iPad Pro. Both were equipped with Thousand Oaks solar filters. We also brought our Coronado PST, with Denkmeier 60mm upgrade, for hydrogen-alpha views of the sun while waiting for the eclipse to begin. It was a hot day, but the skies couldn’t have been more perfect. While waiting, we had dozens of people stop by checking out our gear, and it was great fun watching people gasp when they saw the BT-100-45’s incredible view of the eclipsing sun! The iPad, Novagrade-mounted to the Sport ED spotting scope, was also very popular, as groups of people could all see the view from the 10″ screen. We estimate there were between 200 and 300 people hanging out at the Walmart parking lot, everyone we met was very friendly and excited to be there.
When totality arrived, the crowd cheered- and it was truly awesome! We were concerned that the Walmart floodlights would turn on, but they remained off, even though most streetlights off in the distance were on (Thanks Walmart management!). When the eclipse ended, we packed up and headed for home- us, and millions of others. Needless to say, the return trip was miserably-slow (we arrived at 12:30am). But we all agree- it was certainly worth it!
The Great American Eclipse, the first total eclipse in the USA in 100 years, occurs Aug. 21st. Hopefully you already have solar filters for your binocular and/or telescope, as we (and most other astronomy vendors) sold out some time ago. If you are using one of our Novagrade smartphone or tablet adapters to photograph or video this event, here’s a tip that will improve the quality of what you capture. When using a solar filter, the image of the sun is relatively-dark compared to the ambient light around the adapter. The camera will adjust exposure based on the filtered sun, but this will make reflections from ambient light very apparent. The solution is to seal off the gap between the phone or tablet and the adapter. Just two strips of electrical tape is all that is needed (see picture above of the Novagrade tablet adapter mounted on the Oberwerk 20-60×82 Sport ED Spotting Scope with Thousand Oaks S-4000 solar filter).
The 47th Annual Apollo Rendezvous is one of the noted annual gatherings of amateur astronomers in the Midwest. Each year, amateur astronomers join with friends and colleagues from around the world at the birthplace of aviation, Dayton, Ohio.
Saturday kicks off at 9:00 AM, at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, with presentations scheduled throughout the day, including- “Robots in Space – The Exploration of Our Solar System” and “Recent Adventures with Hubble Space Telescope” -G. Fritz Benedict, Senior Research Scientist with McDonald Observatory. “23 Years of Amateur Astronomy” -Charlie Warren, managing editor of Amateur Astronomy Magazine. “Clear Skies – Forecasting the Final Frontier” -Tara Hastings, Meteorologist with WDTN Channel 2 News.
The day continues with vendors, planetarium shows, door prizes and raffles. Weather permitting, the evening will wind down with a BBQ and star-gazing at John Bryan State Park Observatory.
Our Deluxe Series and Ultra Series binoculars (except for the 10×50 Ultra) now come with the new Oberwerk Heavy-Duty Aluminum-Frame Case. On first glance, these new cases look similar to last year’s cases, but they are substantially stronger and simply much better quality. The only downside is they are almost twice as heavy as the old cases- but we’re sure you’ll agree it’s worth the extra weight to have a much better case protecting your binocular investment.
Oberwerk will be exhibiting at the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) in Suffern, NY on Apr. 8 & 9, 2017. NEAF is the largest astronomy convention in the world. We’ll have all Oberwerk products on display, as well as our new line of Oberwerk-USA wood tripods. Our new tripods are made in Dayton, OH and are crafted from beautiful American hardwoods (poplar, maple, and walnut).
Every year about this time, we’re asked what we’re doing for Black Friday/Cyber Monday. For 17 years, the answer is always the same- our products never go “on sale”, with the exception of discontinued items. Whenever you’re ready to order, any time of year, you’ll get our best price. We’re pretty-well stocked on most of our products, and we do have two more incoming shipments in the next 3 weeks- but we will run out of some items before Christmas. We therefore recommend that you order sooner rather than later. We just received a shipment containing our popular 25/40×100 “Contemporary” Long-Range Observation binoculars, but all were pre-sold to waiting customers- so they are still “out-of-stock”. Another shipment containing those arrives in mid-December, in time for Christmas delivery to the contiguous USA. The 25/40×100 “Classic” version is in stock. So order early and often!