Sky & Telescope stated the near the top of the
checklist of criteria that potentially makes a new product
'hot' is that the product "solves an old problem
in a new way."
No better example of that exists among this year's
picks than the ARE-125 Articulated Relay Eyepiece
from DFM Engineering.
The device was born out of a desire to let people with
limited mobility explore the heavens through the eyepiece
of DFM fork-mounted Cassegrain telescopes.
But you don't have to have a DFM telescope to enjoy
the benefits of the ARE-125, since it is designed
to work with any f/8 or slower telescope fitted with
a standard 2-inch focuser.
Using a series of mirrors and relay lenses
mounted within an arm that pivots in three axes, the
ARE-125 "repositions"the focal plane
from the back of the telescope to an eyepiece mounted
at the end of the arm, where it is easily viewed by
a seated individual.
According to DFM's founder and president, Dr. Frank
Melsheimer, in addition to helping public observatories
meet the Americans with Disabilities Act, the ARE-125
has proven convenient in group sessions where seated
observers simply pass the eyepiece around and share
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requires
access to public facilities for the handicapped. Up
to now, getting a wheelchair bound person to the eyepiece
of a telescope was very difficult and expensive.