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About astronomer2002

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  1. I have an AP 27TVPH which I use with my RCX 14 and it works really well visually and reduces the scope to F6. The AP reducers seem to be recommended for use with these scopes - does anyone use either the 0.75 or 0.67 with their ACF 14 or 16? A 16 inch SCT at F6 with the 2.7 inch AP reducer sounds like a perfect visual setup. Ian B
  2. Thanks for all the replies - I can see there are at least 3 16 inch Meades out there, perhaps even being used. I guess my point is that with the owners gathering years I would have thought that at least first generation of Meade 16 SCTs would be on the market regularly. As you can see from my equipment list I do keep my scopes, and all the big ones are permanently mounted in domes. However, I am finding the open tubes of the RCX (yes, the tubes are effectively open) and GSO RC are making the mirrors deteriorate. I like the combination of F8 RCX (F6 with AP photo-visual reducer) for general viewing and some photography plus F11 C14 for planetary imaging as it covers most bases. I kept the F10 ACF as I am uncertain as to the longevity of the RCX. Now having 3 14 inch telescopes is a bit greedy and I miss the extra light gathering of my old 16 inch classical cass. The GSO 12 inch RC knocks the spots off all the other scopes in terms of star size, however, it isn't a visual instrument that can be used on planets and the central obstruction casts a large shadow that is hard to flatfield out. I bought it new and soon found out it was a mistake to think of it as a replacement for the RCX. I have always balked at the Meade 16 new price and was warned off of the one that came up for sale about 10-15 years ago after which I went the 14 RCX route as a stop-gap. RCX's are great but the electronics fail with time, the mirrors are open to the elements and have a metalic undercoat making re-aluminising impossible (in this country at least). I like my big Newtonian, but it isn't convenient to use plus the mount isn't up to imaging with modern ccd's. At 3cwt the tube assembly needs a mount that costs as much as a house to make the most of it. I can see TS have the 16 F8 at about £8,450 which if I was entirely convinced the Meade was going to be optically perfect I might go for, after selling a couple of other OTA's and pawning the wife's jewelry (she never wears it so I might get away with it). However, I prefer to buy SH where I can as there is usually the chance to look through what you are purchasing as well as forking out less money. By the 2/3 rule for s/h scopes I was hoping to get an OTA for under £6k, however 2 years of looking has turned up nothing. During the same period quite a few have disposed of scopes they can no longer use due to advancing years - but none of these have been 14-16 SCT's or 16 RC's. I recognise the clock is ticking for me too. Ian B
  3. As I contemplate yet another "final" telescope purchase I have been surprised that so few bigger SCT's seem to be on the s/h market. A few years ago you would see a few Meade 16 inch ones around and a plethora of 14 inch ones. Given that the majority of the high cost equipment is sold to those whose mortgages and children have loosened their constraint on leisure spending I thought the supply would be getting greater as the owners inevitably age faster that their scopes. I wonder how many Meade 16 inch SCT's are languishing unused in sheds or observatories? I haven't seen any examples for years now and this is/was supposed to be Meade's flagship product. Even older 16's seem be as rare as hens teeth and there don't appear to ever have been any 14 or 16 F8 ACF's for sale s/h anywhere in Europe. New prices for Meade F8's are just so high and a GSO RC 16 might be tempting but despite the tiny stars it isn't really a general purpose telescope and I have never seen any images taken through one in the UK or even seen a report about using one visually. In the same vein I have not heard any reports of UK based amateurs actually owning/using recent Meade 16 inch SCT's. I am certainly not anti-Celestron but haven't seen any C14's for a while either and have never seen a C14 Edge for sale. At F11 it isn't what I am looking for. From talking to dealers and scouring astro sites for years it seems that new sales of large amateur scopes have all but dried up and older ones have just disappeared. There appears to be very little current usage of all the big SCT's that have been sold in the UK for nearly 30 years. Has anyone here got an insight into where all these scopes have gone? Ian B
  4. Peter,

    Did you ever sort out the issue with your 16 inch Meade F8 ACF?  I am struggling to replace a RCX 14 which, being effectively open tubed, has a degraded main mirror which has defied successful re-coating. Whilst I prefer the optics in the RCX to the Meade 14 ACF F10, that I also have, the mirrors in the ACF have not deteriorated, are not much younger than the  ACF and live in the same dome as the RCX. I conclude the closed tube may be better for keeping the (un-recoatable) optics in good shape and so am looking at the 16 inch ACF F8 as a replacement for both.

    I originally intended to replace the RCX with the F10 ACF but the star images are smaller in the RCX and the field of view flatter. I have kept the ACF just in case the RCX totally dies.



    Ian B

  5. astronomer2002

    Astrofest 2019

    I've been every year bar the last two. The numbers of Exhibitors and kit for sale has decreased considerably over time along with the discounts. It's one of the rare chances to see multiple suppliers but this has decreased and so the chance to compare is more limited than it once was. Suppliers with small items, such as CCD cameras, don't have too much heavy transporting to do so they remain but some of the scope suppliers have been absent for a while. It's become basically a rather expensive social event, unless you live in London. I found the IAS exhibition a much better venue for looking at equipment, much more space and more suppliers, and the talks were better too. Ian B
  6. astronomer2002

    StarlightXpress Frame Store

    It's gone to a new home........
  7. astronomer2002

    StarlightXpress Frame Store

    The desiccant can be re-used after a few mins in a microwave so I never found that a big issue. I used to keep extra bags of desicant in a sealed box in the house so I could change it any time. As there were often long gaps between observing nights this seemed a prudent step. The cooling is essentially set to maximum. In practice this isn't an issue unless you are using the setup for very specific comparison use. None of the amateur camera's, then or now, achieve more than 40 degrees below ambient and usually it's a lot less. The Sony CCD used, even back then, was pretty low noise, so I never found the cooling to be an issue. Still hoping someone will want to try this. When used for public viewing it feels more 'live' than images taken with a PC. Perhaps the lack of a PC in the chain proves to people they are really seeing the object 'live' and not from a website on the Internet via a nefarious connection. I still have the software, but testing it will be problematic as I don't have an old desktop PC. Ian B
  8. astronomer2002

    Equipment hardly used

    I'm afraid mounts are usually the Achilles heel of any telescope. I had a C9.25 for a couple of years and found it was only really stable enough on a Losmandy G11. That combination worked well, far better that the SW HEQ5 I first tried it out on. However that setup isn't easily portable for one person. If I had one now I would look at an Ioptron eq45 mount. They are pretty easy to set up and stable. However they are weighty and cost nearly twice as much as the skywatcher offerings. In my opinion they are better built than SW, quieter and easier to use. If you need to buy on price the the SW EQ6 is your best bet for weight carrying, but I always found ease-of-use determines whether you use a scope or not. A second hand Losmandy G11 or Ioptron EQ45 will hold it's purchase price pretty well though like cars there is a big hit for the original purchaser. If you don't use the equipment you have then it is the wrong setup for you. I would start by trying to find a mount you are happy with. This can be very expensive and time consuming as I have found out, so best to try and find someone local to you who already has the mount you would like to try. I recently lent someone who had previously owned SW mounts my Ioptron EQ30 for several weeks and it persuaded him to buy his own. He said it was so easy to use and quiet compared to the SW ones.. Ian B
  9. astronomer2002

    Help with initial observatory considerations

    I have built quite a few observatories but never been lucky enough to have a large choice of where to put them. The best place for an observatory is where it will cost you less grief from the family or intruders. Observatories that are a long trek from your house will get less use than those you can get to easily. Power is pretty much essential to run equipment and heaters to keep the observatory dry and unfrozen in winter. I have lost many a clear night when the domes have been frozen up. Having heating over winter also means your eyepieces won't mist up when you touch them. Of course, heating is intended to be on when you are not using the observatory! I have built both run-off sheds and domes and it is my opinion domes offer the best protection for observing in this country. They shield the telescope and user from both wind and external lights which plague most of us in suburbia. As mentioned here - size matters! Build the biggest you can as equipment grows in size at an alarming rate. I once built a tiny flip-top shed (4.5ft square) to cover what I intended to use as a remotely controlled telescope. The trouble was that to try and check alignment of the optical train and to sort out why the goto wasn't going to required uncomfortable contortions and often working from outside the structure. The result was I rarely used it and eventually replaced it with a small 2.2m dome. If there is any light pollution in your area it is better to make sure your observatory has good access to the darkest part of the sky. Clear southern sky is the best option, of course, but access to the darkest part of the sky if that is in the east or west will mean you can get the most out of your scopes even if you have to wait for objects to rotate into that part of the sky. Also bear in mind any trees that are not under your control. Trees have a habit of growing very, very large! I have multiple observatories to try and get round obstacles I cannot remove (that's my excuse anyway). Ian B
  10. astronomer2002

    Anodising Is Addictive!

    I've been planning to try this for ages so your post is a good prod! How long did it take to anodise the piece in your image and how did you seal it? I was going to try using black ink for the dye and boiling water to seal. Ian B
  11. astronomer2002

    StarlightXpress Frame Store

    I have an old StarlightXpress Frame store that hasn't been used for years. After the order from "on-high" to de-clutter I was going to take it to the skip along with other old astro stuff, but thought I'd just check to see if it was working. It appears to work fine so if any use can be found for it I would rather donate it to someone than take it to the skip. For those not familiar with the SX original Framestore it is self contained and only needed a PC to save images. To do that there was rudimentary software and a card to insert into the PC. Of course, being the late 1990's it was designed for use with Windows 98. To save images would require an old desktop with Windowa 98 or maybe Windows 2000 on it. However, for taking short or long exposure images and displaying them on a screen no PC is needed. I did use it at a star party to do just that. Showing a group of people objects they couldn't see well, if at all, through the scope directly collected quite a crowd. In the spirit of reducing landfill, if it can be of any use to anyone who is prepared to collect it from Maidenhead I will happily give it away. I attach images of the setup taken last week. Ian B
  12. astronomer2002

    WANTED 26mm Nagler

    Over 120 views and still no replies. Maybe someone viewing knows someone who knows someone who might have stopped using their 26mm Nagler. That is more or less how I came to buy my 31mm. I've been looking for a year now and had I known they were rarer than the 31's I would have snapped up the one on offer earlier this year. Hindsight is a frustrating thing.
  13. astronomer2002

    WANTED 26mm Nagler

    Just seen Telescope House has a sale on ES 24mm 82 degree eyepiece at £198! This eyepiece is rated as good as the Nagler by many on this site so anyone with an old 26mm Nagler could buy a brand new one from them, sell their Nagler to me and pocket over £100
  14. astronomer2002

    WANTED 26mm Nagler

    Lots of views, but no offers as yet - and I thought it was just the weather that was frustrating I am beginning to realise that the 26mm Nagler is even rarer than the 31mm. Strange that Televue have discontinued it, and the 20mm T5 Nagler, as both appear to be the best available eyepieces of those focal lengths in the 82 degree range. I know I am going to have to pay over £300 to get a 26mm. I thought about going for a ES 82 24mm as they get good press on here, but that 1% better performance, and the slightly longer focal length, I will hang out for a Nagler a while longer.
  15. astronomer2002

    Eye Pieces you would like to try out

    Damn - this thread has given me another dose of the "mustavs" ! I now need to get my hands on one of these, though I expect it will generate some grief from the budget overseer Must be a few out there that are not getting used, but rarer than hens teeth in the s/h market I have tried ES 100 degree eyepieces but didn't get on with them, and similarly found the Ethos was awkward to use for me, so went down the TV Nagler route. Ian B

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