Optics link Astronomy link Electronics link Computer Items link Audio/Video Items link Cables & Connectors link Tools link Hardware Items link Books link Educational Items link MISC Items link VSI Home Page Red Eye the Rat Policies
The ASTRO link supports any item that is related to astronomy or telescopes, etc. If any of the items listed here relate to another AREA, you might find the same item listed twice. Examples would be an audio/video cable listed at the A/V and CABLES links, or a book listed at the BOOKS and EDUCATE links. Newest item listings (largest item numbers) are at the TOP of each AREA MENU page.

Item 242: Very Rare GIANT 4" Diameter Knobs with Spinners. I bought a bunch of these because they have 1/4" diameter holes with set screws. Perfect for 1/4" shafts on focusers. The only problem is that you should probably install them on a really big focuser. Although they would work, and look really cool, on a 2" focuser. They are molded from some kind of phenolic or resin material. They are not plastic because I whacked one [really hard] with a large hammer and it didn't shatter. Did I say, "Very Rare?" Try and find a knob like this anywhere. I dare yah! As I said, I have a quantity, but it is limited. When they are gone, they are gone forever, so don't procrastinate too long on this one. I'll consider less for more? Sold in pairs only. Two for $35

Item 207: Receives split-second "atomic" time and weather voice reports over-the-air waves. Built in speaker. Has switches on the bottom for different frequency selections. Large gold dial in the center selects different time zones, etc. Telescoping antenna. Uses 9v battery (not included). Price: $15

Item 206: SOLD A nice nautical ships clock in solid copper with brass accents. Quartz movment uses one C-cell battery (not included). This was on the wall at Black Forest Observatory for many years. Approx. 8" in diameter. Price: $50

Item 205: SOLD OUT  I have two camera tripods I no longer need. One is a standard length and one is a shorty, as pictured. Both are in New to excellent condition and have extendable legs. Price: $15 each

Item 204: SOLD OUT Military OD signaling flashlights. Full size. Uses two D-cells (not included). On-off switch and momentary push-button for Morse code signaling, etc. Base unscrews for storage of different lens filters (red, white, diffuse, etc.). Vest clip on rear and fold-in hanging ring on bottom. Water proof construction. I have three of these flashlights from Black Forest Observatory. Excellent condition. Price: $10 each

Item 203: SOLD An inexpensive Orion 42mm Kellner, 3-element 2" format eyepiece (#8941). Multi-coated optics, excellent 20mm eye relief and 52 degree apparent field of view. Rubber fold-down light shield (removable). 2" barrel is threaded for 2" format filter cells. This eyepiece cost $80, not including shipping, from Orion. This one was purchased not long ago for a new VSI product development experiment, that was cancelled. New in the Box. Never seen first-light. Why buy it from Orion when you can save $20? Price: $60

Item 202: A wood [other] instrument box converted and fitted to hold whatever - a couple of 2" format eyepieces, a handful of 1.25" eyepieces, etc. Black leather and red velvet lined. Metal hinges and latches. Mitered corners. About 10" long by 6" wide by 5" high. Original hardware. Metal instrument name plate from Bostrom Manufacturing. Price: $10

Item 201: A wood [other] instrument box converted and fitted to hold two 2" format eyepieces and accessories, etc. Corrugated rubber and black leather lined. Metal hinges and latch. Mitered corners. About 6" cubed. Price: $10

Item 200: SOLD A custom built, hand-crafted, fancy eyepiece case. Solid kiln-dried, seasoned oak construction (slightly distressed from use, not abuse) with brass hardware and [very ancient] cast iron side handles. Chain links balance and hold the lid open (see center picture above, right side of case). Red velvet lined with brass ornate tacks. Has fitted round holes that hold six 1.25" eyepieces and one 2" eyepiece. Also has four various sized rectangular compartments as shown above center. Built by Paul Boone Van Slyke dated 1984 (see inset stamped lettering above right picture). Over 25 years old makes it an antique, doesn't it? If the following information adds any value to the case, or not, I was named after my great, great, great.......... grandfather - Daniel Boone. That's right, I am a direct descendant of the famous man himself. The same one that settled the western frontier a long time ago. And, since the Boone and Lincoln families intermarried back then, I am also related [by marriage] to Abraham Lincoln. Arguably, the greatest President of these United States of America. The aforementioned info may be meaningless regarding the value of this case, but the following isn't. Back to the "case" at hand. I was a furniture builder in a previous business venture (not a cabinet maker), so this case [also] has the same build-quality as my current metal products from VSI, to last forever. To further illustrate my woodworking prowess, I have included some pictures of a few [of many] custom furniture creations below. Approximate eyepiece case dimensions: 12"wide by 10" deep by 5" high. What's the build-quality and personal history worth to you? Price: $250

Item 199: SOLD Own a "rock" from outer space. A chunk of metal from another planet, asteroid, moon, or comet. Who knows where it came from, except that it came from the sky. Formed many billions of years ago when our solar system was beginning to form from the accretion disk of our own newborn sun, Sol. It might even be from another star system altogether? This is the "famous" Aspen Tree Meteorite acquired during the days of Black Forest Observatory. As the inscription says, A Rare Metallic "IRON-NICKEL" Composition, found September 1985 lodged in an aspen tree west of LeVeta, Colorado. This is half of the original meteorite. The other half resides with the person who actually [told the story of how he] found it, and brought the whole meteorite to me. We decided to cut it in half and polish the cut face at my machine shop. The two halves were then mounted as shown above left. One half went to me for my efforts, and one half to the finder. He said that he would never part with his half because he actually found it, but I didn't find the meteorite, so I am not so sentimental. The above right picture is a close-up of the [top] rough surface and [front] smooth face of the meteorite. Display mounted on a solid oak [angled] base with a brass plaque. Approximate width is 6.5 inches. Worth much more than I am asking. Weight is about 5 lbs. Price: $1000 firm

Item 198: SOLD The following (italic) is an original promo about this Globe.


For sky observers, this elegant 5" Starball is the perfect learning tool for helping identify stars and constellations. It also makes a very handsome desk ornament. This translucent sphere presents all 88 constellations of the heavens. Constellation names and patterns are highlighted in gold, while stars are identified in white

SB-5SB, Blue Color 5" with Sculptured Base: $45.00

My "Starball" was [also] acquired during the days of Black Forest Observatory. Lots of history. This 5" globe includes the table-top stand shown in the picture. Excellent condition. No scratches. Great display for your observatory, etc. I have two of these 5" Starball globes. Price: $25

Item 197: SOLD The pictures and following (italic) are excerpts from a promo about the Globe.

Starship Earth II will help you explore the universe that surrounds us - from the many constellations in our heavens, to the movements of the Earth, Sun, and stars, the secrets of navigation, and much more. A beautiful work of art, as well as a superb learning/teaching tool, the Starship Earth II is a three-dimensional star atlas for the unaided eye. It is a perfect companion to increase your enjoyment of star gazing with your binoculars or telescope as well.

The impressive transparent sixteen-inch diameter outer sphere of the Starship Earth II displays updated and improved data from Sky Catalogue 2000.0, all eighty-eight constellations and more than 1,100 naked-eye stars, plus many prominent deep-sky objects against a precision grid of Right Ascension and Declination lines. The Milky Way and Magellanic Clouds are shown in a wispy translucent blue, and deep sky objects are keyed to type. They're all accurately hand silk-screened on the sphere's interior surface for long lasting protection. Stars are identified by name, Greek letter designations, brightness, from first to fifth magnitude, and distance from the earth in light years. The outer sphere also highlights astral equivalents used to locate stars. An easy three-step setting allows you to reproduce the Earth, Sun, and star movements for any time, date, and location in the world.

Understand more about how the Sun rises and sets, and how the seasons change; surrounding the five-inch diameter inner Earthsphere is a fully adjustable horizon ring to help you visualize the horizon for any location on the planet. Hand crafted of museum-quality acrylic, this sixteen-inch sphere rests on a sculptured acrylic desktop stand or an acrylic tripod floor stand. Starship Earth II includes this acrylic tripod floorstand with an overall height of thirty-eight inches.

SE-16FS, 16" Diameter with Floor Stand, $575.00

My "Starship Earth II" was acquired during the days of Black Forest Observatory. Lots of history. This 16" globe includes the table-top stand (pictured top) and floor stand (smaller picture below). Excellent condition. No scratches. Shipping will cost you a little extra because it's big. Great display for your observatory, etc. Reminiscent of Forbidden Planet. Great movie! Price: $275 firm

Item 142: SOLD This is a 120vac reversible gear reduced motor. I think it is a 1/4 or 1/2 HP and the built-in gear reduction is about 15 or 20rpm at the [removable] drive sprocket. Horsepower doesn't matter because the gear reduction gives it enough torque to rip your roof off if you don't hit the stop button. I came close one time when my microswitch failed to shut it off. I would suggest microswitch stops at each end, but not really necessary. I'll include the contactor relay control box (long gray box below the motor) and the 1/4" steel plate roller bracket mechanism, shown at the top of the picture, which has a 1" diameter solid steel shaft and roller bearings at both ends of the shaft. I always overbuilt things, even back then. Includes the sprocket and chain. Basically, you get everything that is in the picture, except the observatory. All you have to come up with is a steel cable, one pully and a couple of push buttons. Or you can dump the control relay box and simply use a single throw-double pole switch with a center off position to reverse the motor. Or you could use two switches, without the center off, one to reverse the motor and one to activate it. This was my original motorized roll-off roof observatory dating all the way back to 1986. You can see more about my observatory in two ways. 1) You can go to my VSI web site by clicking on home above, which will take you to Paul's List home page, click on the same home button again to take you to VSI's home page, then click on the USER INSTALLATIONS link and scroll to the bottom of the page to the article "Four-Speed 17.5-inch Newtonian." 2) You can find an old issue of Sky & Telescope Magazine from February 1986. Probably easier to go to the link? The price is right, even though it will cost you extra for shipping because this stuff is heavy duty. Price: $75

Item 135: SOLD-OUT Bodine reversible gear motor. New in the box. I have three of these motors. If you know anything about motors, then you know that Bodine makes the best motors, period! This is a 115vac, single phase, 2 amp, 50/60 Hz motor. It has a 50 to 1 gear reduction ratio and runs at 17rpm (50 Hz) and 20rpm (60 Hz). Thermal overload protected. The motor is about 10 inches long including the gear head, and about 4 inches in diameter. It has a standard mounting plate on the bottom of the motor housing and the drive shaft is at a 90 degree angle to the motor. The shaft diameter is 1/2 inch. Horsepower is blank on the motor plate, but who cares. With a 50-1 gear reduction, you could tow a tank with one of these guys. It uses an included 25 mfd capacitor (shown) to start the motor. Full instructions and documentation included. I used two of these to remote open the shutters on my 18-foot dome. You could easily drive a smaller dome's rotation, up to about 12 feet in diameter. Or a roll-off roof, etc. These were spares. What was I thinking, not. They're Bodine! These motors are not light, so shipping will cost you extra, but the price is right. Price: $50 each. Two for $75. All three for $100

NEW Item 125: This pinion and knob set is of the highest quality. The knobs are 2" in diameter and they are removable via the three screws shown in the picture. If you have a bent or broken pinion shaft, or not, this is the perfect upgrade replacement. The inside separation between the knobs is 3.5" (4.65" overall from outside knob to outside knob). Great upgrade for any rack & pinion focuser. $25

Item 88: This is a modified PulseGuide from Rigel Systems. The regular one has a small coin battery inside, but I got tired of replacing the battery all the time so I converted it to a wall-wart power supply because I did not need portability. Just plug it into a 120vac wall outlet. The wall-wart is a selectable DC voltage output so you could us it for any DC voltage from 1.5vdc to 12vdc or in between. The pulse doesn't work but the LED's variable illumination is controlled from the knob on the back of the black PulseGuide cylinder. Price: $15

Item 81:  I have a large quantity of these 12vdc car adapters. They all have a standard male power plug that is compatable with almost everything in the world. They can power your scope, CCD camera, focuser, etc. from your car's cigarette lighter socket. Two for $4 What a Deal!

Item 80: I have a large quantity of these 14vdc, 380ma wall-wart power supplies. They all have a standard male power plugs that are compatable with almost everything in the world. They can power your scope, CCD camera, focuser, etc. , etc., etc. Orion sells these power supplies for $30 each. Two for $6 What a Deal! No, that's not $3 each.

Item 78: Black Forest Observatory T-Shirts! I found a box of these quality Fruit-of-the-Loom promotion T-shirts. This old picture of me, wearing a BFO T-shirt, and John Dobson at a star party, is the only picture I had of the T-shirt on a real person. The [poster] picture on the right is similar to what is imprinted on the T-shirt, but a little different design on the lettering. And they are luminous and glow in the dark! The T-shirt color is dark navy blue. I sold them at BFO many year ago for $15 each. In the beginning of this offering, I had 9 X-Large, 11 Large, 5 Medium and 1 Small. When they are gone, they are gone forever. Maybe they are worth more, because BFO doesn't exist anymore? Wear a piece of history to your next star party. Price: $8 each

Item 74: SOLD A pair of Meade fork arms for [I think?] a 12" SCT. They have rotating, curved radius rings to mount flush to a tube assembly and DEC setting circles on both forks with locks. With a quick WD-40 cleaning, they will look like new. No estimated cost because I don't think you can buy these separately. You have to cannibalize a scope to get them. Price:$30 for the pair

Item 73: SOLD These two Micronta 24-hour LED clocks were used at Black Forest Observatory. The large LED numbers are 1.8" high. They both have 9v battery back-up capability. The larger one on the left can stand on its own, or be wall mounted. The other one has an alarm and a dimmer switch. It's hard to find LED clocks nowadays. Everything seems to be LCD, which is very difficult to see in the dark. Price: $25 each, or both for $40

Item 72: SOLD I have two of these 24-hour Seth Thomas Quartz clocks that I used in my observatory. They are 12" in diameter and look very cool in an observatory environment. You can set them to universal, sidereal, zulu, GMT, etc. They use one AA battery that lasts for about a year, and are very accurate. They cost me about$50 a long time ago. Price: $25 each

Item 71: SOLD This lighted EXIT sign was above the door at Black Forest Observatory. With low wattage bulbs the green letters are very dim. The bottom of the box also has a window that could be covered with red acetate to dimly illuminate when exiting your observatory. It is metal construction and the exit panel is raised on springs to easily replace the bulbs. Commercial grade. These are not a cheap sign. Price: $20

Item 60: I really have a bunch of these NEW (not take-outs) gear reduced DC servo motors. Made in the USA. They are 24vdc, and with that voltage input will run at 330rpm. At less voltage, they will operate much slower. Good for a variable telescope drive or a focus motor. These guys cost $25 to $30 in the surplus catalogs. Price: $10 each or 10 for $50

Item 58: SOLD-OUT I have a bunch of gear reduced synchronous motors. Most of them are made by Hurst. They range from 1/2rph to about 6rpm. Most are reversible and some even have magnetic latch shaft disengage mechanisms built-in. Price: $10 each

Item 50: SOLD Meade RA and Dec stepper motors for one of their telescopes. Don't know which one. Plug in a 12vdc power supply/wall-wart (not included) into the left box and an AutoStar hand paddle (not included) into the other and you're up and running. Includes aluminum shaft couplers. Price: $20

Item 49: SOLD Meade variable speed focus motor controller package. This unit was mounted on one of my focusers. It includes the mounting bracket and a very massive bronze spur gear that will fit on any 1/4" diameter focuser shaft. Some ATM modifications may be necessary to adapt it to your focuser. Uses a 9vdc battery (not included) inside the controller. Price: $25

Item 48: SOLD A Meade StarFinder hand paddle. It is NEW. It was an extra that was never in service. It's been in storage for a few years, so it may need a little dusting. I guess it is the lesser model from the one shown above - no number pad, etc. You probably know more about what these devices are selling for than I do. My price is a guess. Price: $25

Item 47: SOLD A Meade ETX AutoStar hand paddle. It is NEW. It was a back-up that never saw service. It's been sitting around for a few years, so it may need a little dusting. I think these guys cost around $150, because they are the "heart" of the Meade GO-TO system. They have an RJ jack on the bottom to interface them to your notebook computer using various software, like The SKY, etc. You may know more about what these devices are going for than I do. My price is a guess. Price: $50

Item 46: SOLD This is a Meade AutoStar control system. It includes the hand paddle, control box and two gear reduced stepper motors. The gray aluminum mechanisms on the end of the two black boxes were my attempt to convert them to drive a German equatorial mount that they were not originally designed to drive. This is an ATM project for the person who wants to build it himself, without too much effort. You can probably get the manual online from Meade. You get the Meade AutoStar hand paddle, the control box (which has illuminated reticle control and other stuff built in), both RA and Dec stepper motors with custom shaft converters, and all the associated cabling. I think the Meade AutoStar hand paddle itself cost around $150 from Meade. Price: $60

Item 45: SOLD These are nFOCUS DC motor speed controllers from Rigel Systems. Pulse width modulation. They both have AA batteries in them and they work. I think Leon still sells them new for $40 each. You can have both of them for cheap. Price: $20 for both

Item 44: SOLD Criterion Model E-6 Variable Frequency Generator for synchronous motor speed control. It changes the line frequency (120vac, 60Hz) from about 40Hz to 80Hz. This changes the speed of any 120vac synchronous motor. It uses standard 120vac and has all the cables (5) that came with the unit originally. The cables plug into the back of the larger box, You can also run the unit from either 120vac or 12vdc. If you've got a mount that still uses a synchronous motor for tracking, then this unit will provide you with a variable tracking rate. They don't make them anymore because synchronous tracking motors are kind of obsolete for telescope control. This VFG cost over $200 at one time. Price: $50

Item 35: (DESTROYED IN FIRE) I have a bunch of these large shielded radial ball bearings. They are marked GMN 2608 GERMANY. The ID is 40mm (1.575") and the OD is 80mm (3.15"). The race thickness is 18mm (0.71"). They are NEW but they have been sitting around on the shelf for many years so they may have minor surface contamination, but nothing that would stop them from functioning like new. Sold only in sets of 4. Obviously for a two axis telescope mount. You won't find these [NEW, but old stock] high precision, German-made bearings for $5 each anywhere else. Not sold individually. Price: $20 set of 4

[return to home]

[top of the page]