Phone: (256) 723-8381

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the advantages of fused quartz optics?

Fused quartz is an amorphous, high-purity, non-crystalline material made by fusing natural quartz at a very high temperature.  Often used in research grade telescopes, fused quartz is an outstanding mirror substrate material offering extreme thermal stability. 

Fused quartz has only 1/6th the thermal expansion of Pyrex and borosilicate glass.  This means that a fused quartz mirror will hold its figure better as temperatures change over the course of an evening.  This stability translates into sharper images and a more stable focus for fused quartz optics AG Optical Systems telescopes.

What is the difference between Fused Quartz and Fused Silica?

Well annealed, quality fused quartz and fused silica are extremely similar, high purity materials with virtually identical mechanical properties  (extremely low thermal expansion and excellent stiffness, two of the main mechanical properties of permium, thermally stable optical substrate materials). Both are an excellent, premium level material for telescope mirrors.  Fused silica is more transparent making it better suited for use in optical windows or optics where UV transmission is important. 

AG Optical Systems' optics supplier (Ostahowski Optics Inc.) carefully checks the anneal of every fused quartz mirror blank to ensure no internal stress is present. 

How do you test the optics in my telescope?

AG Optical Systems has a multi-step testing process to ensure that the optics you receive will perform to a high standard.  Our first step is to source our optics only from well-established, professional optical suppliers who have shown that they can deliver consistently a high-quality optics.  Interferometric testing is used on each and every AG Optical telescope providing a rigorous test of the optical system.  Each AG Optical system is provided with test results showing the Strehl ratio and RMS wavefront error of system.   Very few telescope manufacturers offer interferometry test results with their telescope systems as it is expensive and time consuming to perform.  AG Optical Systems understands that purchasing an AG Optical Systems telescope is a significant investment.  We believe you show KNOW the quality of the optics in your scope is good rather than just hope it is.   Interferometry is used extensively in the defense, aerospace, scientific, and commerical industries to test the performance of optical systems.

Why is the CCD field not symmetrically illuminated?

AG Optical Systems carefully centers the secondary mirror on the optical axis of the telescope system on our bench.  We use a high quality laser collimation tool as well as measuring tools to center the secondary.  However, the adapters, collimation tools, and imaging train used by a customer may have a slight amount of tilt (it takes very little over the long distance from the focal plane to the secondary) that cause the secondary to be slightly decentered relative to the optical axis of the imaging train.  This is completely beyond AG Optical Systems' ability to control as we do no make the adapters, collimation tools, or imaging equipment used by our customers.  When this happens, field illumination may be slightly unbalanced towards one side of the chip.  Fortunately, the same effect is present for field flats so there is no overall impact on the final processed image.

How long will it take to get my scope?

The typical delivery time for an AG Optical Systems telescope ranges from 3 to 10 months depending on the type of astrograph you order. While AG Optical Systems attempts to deliver each telescope as soon as possible, we are dependent upon suppliers who have production schedules over which AG Optical Systems has no control.  One thing of which you can be sure is that AG Optical Systems is constantly striving to reduce delivery times and will keep you well-informed should any delays occur.

How do I place an order?

AG  Optical Systems requires a 50% deposit of the total value of the product you order.  Once we receive this deposit we will begin the process of building your scope.  When the telescope is completed and ready to ship, AG Optical Systems will contact you with the balance due on the telescope.  The telescope will be shipped when AG Optical Systems receives the balance due on the order.  Do not assume you have placed an order until you explicitly  request the item and have received an invoice from AG Optical Systems that lists the item.

Can an iDK telescope be used visually?

Yes.  Any iDK telescope can be used for visual observation using common eyepieces and eyepiece adapters.

What is the AG Optical Systems Thermal Control System?

The AG Optical Systems Thermal Control System consists of a PC application, primary mirror cooling fans, primary mirror heater, secondary mirror heater, and three temperature sensors.  Based on user defined settings, the system will automatically trigger cooling fans and/or heaters to speed the cooling of the primary mirror while preventing the formation of dew on the primary mirror and secondary mirror. 

Who makes your optics?

We use US manufacturers for our corrector elements to ensure consistent and reliable quality for these critical components.  Our mirrors are manufactured by Ostahowski Optics.  Ostahowski Optics has decades of optical manufacturing experience and is well-known for producing high quality optics for public and private sector markets.

How will my telescope be shipped?

AG Optical Telescopes are shipped in an extremely study, wooden crate built specifically for each telescope type.  Each crate is foam-lined while the telescope itself is securely wrapped with several layers of bubble wrap.  AG Optical Systems uses well-established freight shipping companies to securely transport your telescope to whatever destination is required.

Does AG Optical Systems sell telescopes overseas?

Yes.  Please contact AG Optical Systems to learn more.

What is included with my AG Optical Systems telescope?

Each AG Optical Systems telescope ships with the optical tube assembly and a power cable for the primary mirror cooling fans.

If you order a Thermal Control System (TCS) you will receive additional power cables for the TCS, a 3' USB cable, and three sensor/fan/heater color-coded cables.

Please visit our support page to read the telescope and Thermal Control System manuals.







AG Optical Systems LLC will periodically update this page as we receive more questions from customers.