Lumicon, a company known for decades for its speciality accessories for observers and astrophotographers, announced last September that it was closing its doors. The reasons it gave included worsening economic conditions in the wake of the September 11th terror attacks.
With almost no warning amateur astronomy had lost one of its most important sources of nebula filters, off-axis guiders, reticle eyepieces, and kits for gas-hypersensitizing film. Perhaps most important, Lumicon was one of the few sources of commercially hypered film.
But now it's back. In December 2002 Parks Optical, Inc., acquired Lumicon and moved its operations to Simi Valley, California. "When Lumicon collapsed, it sent shockwaves throughout the industry," says Maurice Sweiss, president of Parks Optical. Retailers were flooded with requests for any Lumicon items still in stock. "Parks heard the cries of the astronomical community."
According to Sweiss, Lumicon will now be known as Lumicon International and will be a division of Parks Optical. Current plans call for the continued manufacture of items unique to Lumicon, including the much-sought-after hypered film and nebula filters. The company will no longer carry telescopes or binoculars. Moreover, Lumicon plans to release a new line of filters, including items specifically designed for astro imagers working with CCD cameras.
"We have been building Lumicon from the ground up since December," says Sweiss.
The company plans to reopen its doors sometime in late April. Products will be sold directly to customers and will be available to a select group of astronomy dealers.