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Longtime Customer article: Raymond Maher

As part of Orion's 40th Anniversary celebration, we reached out to some of our most loyal and long-term customers to help us look back and share some of the experiences they've had with Orion Telescopes & Binoculars over the years. Since 1975, the Orion team has been proud to offer superb customer service and support to our valued customers. Let's hear what longtime customer Raymond Maher has to say.

Longtime Orion customer Raymond M.
Longtime Orion customer Raymond Maher alongside his trusty Apex 102mm Mak-Cass telescope outfitted for nighttime use and attached to the Orion AstroView EQ Mount.

Do you remember how or when you first heard about Orion Telescopes & Binoculars?
I first heard of Orion Telescopes & Binoculars in 1986 from reading Sky & Telescope magazine. Observing Halley's Comet in 1986 got me started in astronomy.

Please share one of your most interesting or memorable stargazing experiences.
My most memorable stargazing experience would have to be observing comet Hale-Bopp in 1997. (Actually 1995, 1996, & 1997!) Three years observing one comet, is hard to beat. I could see it with the naked eye in rural southern New Jersey from the summer of 1996 till May 1997. Comets are one of my favorite objects. I have observed 110 comets since 1986.

What is your favorite type of celestial object to view?
Generally like the planets the most. The planets and Orion's Belt. Orion's telescopes, too. They all look great.

Raymond M. Comet Hale-Bopp
Comet Hale-Bopp April 4, 1997 Belleplain State Forest, New Jersey taken while observing with my good friend Sky & Telescope associate Editor Fred Schaaf.

What advice would you give to beginners who are interested in the hobby of amateur astronomy?
Learn the stars! GOTO telescopes are great but learn the constellations. Keep a journal to record any new &/or memorable observations. Get a good pair or two of binoculars. A low power pair, like 8x40's & a higher power large aperture. 15x70's are fine. An 8" Dobsonian telescope will give you a wide enough field to see all the best deep sky objects plus works great on the planets.

Which Orion product do you most often recommend to fellow amateur astronomers?
My favorite Orion product is the Full-Aperture Glass Telescope Solar Filter. David Lerner & I took photos of the Transit of Venus on June 5, 2012. Our photo was featured in an exhibit at Wildflower Vegan Fare Restaurant in the Millville, New Jersey Arts District. The natural yellow -orange color made this photo a crowd favorite.

David Lerner & Raymond M. Transit of Venus
Photo of the Transit of Venus that David Lerner & Ray Maher took using David's 8" SCT & Orion solar filter, & Ray's Canon T3i camera. Ray says "The natural color made the photo so much better".
David Lerner & Raymond M. Transit of Venus at Sunrise
Here's a photo Ray captured with his Orion ShortTube 80mm refractor of the Transit of Venus at sunrise from Avalon, New Jersey on the morning of June 8, 2004. This photo was featured in the October 2004 issue of Sky & Telescope magazine!".

Do you have any memorable experiences with Orion Customer Service you would like to share?
One of my most memorable experience with Orion may have been my first. I purchased several eyepieces for my first telescope in 1986. I did not know that my telescope used .965 inch eyepieces.

I ordered several 1.25" eyepieces. The 25mm Kellner eyepiece worked great once I built my own hybrid 1.25" to .965" diagonal. Orion gladly let me return the one that would not work with my scope. I ordered a 40mm Orion .956" eyepiece that let me see the entire Pleiades in one field! The 25mm eyepiece also provided a wide field with my homemade hybrid diagonal!

Today, everyone at Orion is proud to continue our tradition of providing customers with the best service and support under the stars. We couldn't have reached our 40th Anniversary without help from customers like Raymond Maher, and you too! Thanks for joining us, here's to 40 more years of affordable stargazing the Orion way!