I spent several years convinced I would never buy a telescope for Central New York (CNY) observing. Having resigned myself to a pair of 25×100’s and the Syracuse Astronomical Society telescope (and whatever optics people happened to bring with them), I was present for the arrival of one of Ryan’s first scopes, where I discovered that (a) he had a great eye for woodwork and (b) some commodity parts and a bit of quality construction could produce a scope out-of-the-car and observing in only a few minutes. Two additional scopes later, each more refined than the next, I decided to take the plunge and have Ryan build me the scope that would make me want to make the most of CNY skies.
I am pleased to report that I own NMT #1, affectionately named “Ruby” for the red MoonLite focuser. As a first production scope, Ruby is part standard design and part prototype, featuring some of the best of Ryan’s ideas for Dobsonians.
Ruby features a 12.5” f/4.87 Lightholder mirror, Antares Optics 2” 1/20 wave Secondary, MoonLite focuser, Telrad, two independent fans with switches and potentiostat, mounts for additional finder scopes (including a green laser pointer mount ideally suited to identifying the locations of dim objects during Public Viewing sessions), secondary dew heater, and several other design tweaks. After more than a year with Ruby through my own observing sessions, one NEAF visit, one Cherry Springs session, well over a dozen group viewing sessions featuring lots of optics, and several additional sessions at the mercy of “other people’s scopes,” I can honestly say I prefer observing through Ruby over anything else I’ve used. Ruby has spoiled me for any other scope!
-Damian G. Alllis, Ph.D.