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The worst part of casual astronomy, besides the bitter cold and vampiric schedule, is all the stooping and craning and bending and squinting, which most often results in shaky, blurry images and a pressing need for a good massage.
To solve this, use fiber optic cabling to guide light from the eyepiece
of the telescope to a lightweight handheld eyepiece. This eyepiece could have an adjustable frame which rests against the user's face, resulting in a perfectly-focused image every time they peek, or it could even be worn like a pair of goggles, blocking surrounding light from the wearer's eyes.
I'm not exactly a lens expert, so I can't say exactly what % of light will be lost to this apparatus, but with expensive enough components I'm sure it wouldn't be an issue.
Looks like the idea's been baked even though the product doesn't exist. [Condiment, Jan 10 2008]
||Feasible, but I think it would not be
ideal. For one thing, having your eye to
the eyepiece excludes any peripheral
light, making it easier to see faint
objects. Also, I suspect you'd lose a lot
of light (and, probably, spread it out
over a larger area), compounding the
||It's probably cheaper and better to have
a camera hooked up to a simple
display, which is the more usual setup
and needn't be costly.
||You'd need 1 fiber per pixel, so wit reasonable resolution, the cable would be both expensive and cumbersome. To repeat the resolution of a good camera (8 megapixels) , the cable would be more like a pipe.
||My grandfather designed optical Instruments for Leitz, and he once envisioned something like that for the gunner in a tank (before, they had their eyes on an eyepiece directly connected to the telescope, which was only possible without risk of injury if the tank stood still) - The design worked in principle, but the cord was about 5cm thick and the users did not like it.