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Eyepiece Holder For Pier or Tripod

    Before I built my permanent pier and observatory, I found the lack of a convenient place to put eyepieces a real disadvantage with the tripod I was using. I came up with a eyepiece holder design that works quite well and is a real standout at star parties—it glows in the dark! It works best with tripod-mounted fork SCTs, but can also be used with GEMs on piers.

  White object is a box to hold it level for  the picture.   Mounted on the Meade tripod at night, with lamps on (reddish glow); wedge on top.

      The holder is cut from a piece of 3/8 inch acrylic (Plexiglas). I had the supplier (a local plastic retailer) cut the outer and inner circles. The inner cutout is large enough to fit loosely over the tripod top so the holder is supported by the tops of the legs of the tripod. There is enough space so that the 3/8-thick holder just fits between the tops of the legs and the bottom of the scope or wedge. I then cut the notch in the inner circle to accommodate the wedge azimuth adjuster, and the eyepiece holes. The yellow rim around the front is a piece of 5/8 x 1/8 aluminum with yellow shrink-wrap electrical tubing shrunk tightly onto it. It is held on to the plastic with 4 radially oriented brackets drilled and tapped so that the rim is held about 1/4 inch from the edge of the plastic. The rim is used for hanging the hand control of the scope (you can see the top of the control in the right picture hanging down in front). Two small bulbs (RadioShack) are mounted in the plastic and powered from the 12 volt battery that I also use for powering the scope and dew zappers. These bulbs are located under the black spots (tape) visible in the red spots (also tape) in the left picture. The wires from the bulbs go to a small potentiometer (silver-colored knob at the right side of the holder in the left picture). The pot permits one to adjust the brightness to just enough to make the edges of the eyepiece holes glow in the dark.

             

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