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About Alan64

  • Rank
    Sub Dwarf

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  • Interests
    ...astronomy, naturally.
  • Location
    Mid-South, U.S.
  1. Yes, I've seen that older Meade before. It was only after I had gotten my Meade that I discovered that it's identical to the Celestron, save for the silk-screening. The current Meade does have a better focal-length scale.
  2. Alan64

    Wooden Tripod Legs

    Later on today I will lightly buff the parts out with #0000 steel-wool and lemon-oil.
  3. Yes, a zoom-ocular is versatile, and serves as a teaching tool in helping to decide upon a set of dedicated eyepieces in future... https://www.365astronomy.com/8-24MM-Synta-Zoom-Eyepiece.html Next up in price, the Meade... https://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/meade-series-4000-8-24mm-zoom-eyepiece-125.html I have that one, and chose it over the ubiquitous Celestron after careful research... I haven't used it much, but it does perform quite well, for a zoom.
  4. Your telescope has a focal-length of 1500mm. That length will play quite well with the 4mm-to-40mm eyepiece range. If you're only able to get one ocular, you'll need to compromise, say 100x... 1500mm ÷ 100x = a 15mm eyepiece... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/bst-starguider-eyepieces/bst-starguider-60-15mm-ed-eyepiece.html
  5. Alan64

    Wooden Tripod Legs

    The components were removed from their hangers, lightly-sanded with 220-grit paper, reattached to the hangers, and then the second and final coat applied... 35° F(1.7° C) outside it is, so back into the bog they went.
  6. Barring an older, long-focus refractor... https://www.cloudynights.com/uploads/monthly_06_2014/post-203511-14074310658996.jpg ...the next best thing would be a 127mm Maksutov-Cassegrain. Maksutovs have been described as being "refractor like", in contrast and sharpness, which is ideal for viewing the Moon, the planets, the double-stars(the splittings of same), and at the higher powers. That long-focus refractor is then reduced down to a short, compact tube... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/maksutov.html Besides the kits listed therein, I would choose this OTA... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/maksutov/skywatcher-skymax-127-ota.html ...and then to mount upon this... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-mounts/skywatcher-eq5-deluxe.html You don't really need go-to to find the Moon and the brighter planets, and you can motorise the mount to automatically track, hands-free; just the RA-axis... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/sky-watcher-mount-accessories/single-axis-dc-motor-drive-for-eq5.html There is also a go-to kit for that mount, and as a future consideration. If you'd prefer a lighter mount, and with go-to... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/all-mounts-motors/sky-watcher-star-discovery-wifi-az-goto-mount-tripod.html Either of those combinations would make for a first-rate kit.
  7. Alan64

    Wooden Tripod Legs

    The first coat of urethane has been applied...
  8. I use barlows with my 150mm f/5... Those two Antares, a 2x and 3x, have blown me away... https://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/antares-x2-achromat-fmc-barlow-lens-125.html https://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/antares-x3-achromat-fmc-barlow-lens-125.html If you had seen what I had seen through my own, you would already have them. I have the Vixen NPL 30mm, and as recommended to me by our Mr. Huntley... I'm not one much for low-power observations, but otherwise it's quite the looker.
  9. Alan64

    Wooden Tripod Legs

    Getting ready to apply the first coat of urethane. I can't do it outside, as it's much too cold... When I did the legs, I had a few relatively warm days then.
  10. Given the focal-ratio, f/7.5, you could make good use of a star-prism diagonal... https://www.altairastro.com/Altair-2inch-Positive-Lock-90-Degree-Prism-Diagonal.html That one should be the same as this one... https://www.apm-telescopes.de/en/optical-accessories/stardiagonal-mirror--prism/apm-2-inch-diagonalprism-fast-lock-ultra-broadband-coating.html I don't know how well it would play, however, with 2" oculars of the longest focal-lengths, 32mm and longer.
  11. You had asked the same within a PM. I've replied to you there.
  12. Agena Astro, in California, offers a collimation-cap, and with every item they sell with free shipping... https://agenaastro.com/rigel-systems-aline-telescope-alignment-eyepiece.html The collapsible's tube would need to be sealed, with a shroud I imagine, then a white cloth or other over the opening at the front. Then, a lamp in front of that to illuminate the telescope's interior... It is then that the entire optical system can be seen, although I use a small camera to zoom in and snap a shot. It's all there within this image, and with the collimation thrown out slightly to illustrate and describe... 1. The hole in the center of the cap, and through which the image was taken with a camera 2. The center-spot of the primary-mirror 3. The reflective underside of the cap 4. The silhouette, or shadow, of the secondary-mirror 5. The secondary-assembly's spider-vanes; nasty things those are. 6. The reflective surface of the primary-mirror; all of the white area in fact 7. The primary-mirror's clips; all three, or however many, should be visible, and evenly. 8. The interior of the drawtube
  13. There's nothing like receiving a package from the UK, like that time I had sent a sample of questionable tea to Twinings, its having been packed here in the States, whereupon they discovered that it had indeed been adulterated. They then, much to my surprise, sent me a box of several different flavoured teas of theirs that were absolutely wonderful, whilst they lasted. I don't think I'll ever receive anything that nice again... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/other-collimation-tools/premium-cheshire-collimating-eyepiece.html That's the best Cheshire in the world, at present, although not due to its anodised colour; but that does make it a bit special nonetheless. You won't misplace it. If you want to give another one of these a try, there's something you should know about them... They're improved now, and with a triplet-lens, for a tighter dot... https://www.ebay.com/itm/1-25-SVBONY-7-Bright-Level-Next-Generation-Laser-Collimator-for-Astro-Telescope/263812604382?hash=item3d6c74e1de:g:zHsAAOSw3vFbWh6T:rk:2:pf:0 But, as with all entry-level laser-collimators, it will most likely require collimation, and before it's used to collimate the telescope... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZsgNlgIrqQ When you have trouble with slop, with a telescope's visual-back, you shim it. For example, I have this focusser, but it's not a 1.25", a 1.26" instead... That's a shim of .005"-thick PVC... https://www.ebay.com/itm/Midwest-Products-70406-Blue-PVC-Sheets-005-x-7-6-x-11-4-sheets-/183636053625?_trksid=p2385738.m4383.l4275.c10#shpCntId#shId https://www.hobbylobby.com/Crafts-Hobbies/Hobbies-Collecting/Tools-Blades/Brass-Sheet---0.005"/p/21620 You get the idea. If in a pinch, a layer or two of clear packing tape will serve. However, you may need a shim that's thicker, I do not know. In that event, and if you don't have one already, get one of these calipers. I have one myself, and I wouldn't be without it when working with my telescopes... https://www.harborfreight.com/6-in-digital-caliper-61585.html That would enable you to determine the exact deviation from the norm, then to shim accordingly.
  14. Alan64

    Wooden Tripod Legs

    The components have now been stained, although not yet sealed... I can't wait to see them after they're urethaned.
  15. The hunting of comets requires a wide field-of-view, the widest possible, and at the lower if not the lowest of powers. An f/5 refractor is ideal for that very thing. Somewhat recently, I had my 80mm f/6 out observing Comet Wirtenan... Over the course of time, fifteen to thirty minutes, I was able to notice the comet's movement in relation to other objects nearby, and quite close to the comet those were, thereby making the detection that much easier. All in all, not a bad show, not at all. A 200mm f/2.4 achromat would've been far better, of course, if such were possible; ever hopeful I am in that fantasy. The f/5 achromat in question, an "ST80" I believe, comes with a 1.25" focusser. A 32mm Plossl would provide the lowest power(12.5x) and the widest view practical. 80mm f/5 achromats are routinely re-fitted by amateurs with 2" focussers, for this purpose and that. This one from China appears to be viable, and with a 78mm threaded interface; naturally, a bit of DIY work is to be expected in its integration... https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-2-Manual-Gear-Focusing-Focuser-for-Refraction-Astronomy-Telescope/323419115167?hash=item4b4d480e9f:g:PwsAAMXQDK1RtT2P:rk:27:pf:0&shqty=1#shId I changed the country to "United Kingdom", then selected "Get Rates": £54, and with free shipping. However, it would be for the user to decide if the effort would be worth the while. To wit, a view of the Moon with an 80mm f/5 achromat, a 1.25" 32mm 52° Plossl, and a 2" 32mm 70­° wide-angle ocular... https://goo.gl/fCQkdG Then, if the views through the achromat have been beyond satisfactory, that is, if the achromatic doublet is of an above-average figurement and polish, then it would most certainly be worth the while to upgrade it. If the level of quality of the doublet is presently unknown, get the power up to 150x or greater, aim it at the Trapezium within Orion, for one, and note the thinness of the first-diffraction rings of the brightest stars. You want them as razor-sharp as possible, and the atmospheric seeing is to be at least good, or better. If said upgrade is not possible or practical, a 32mm Plossl does, after all, offer a reasonably wide field-of-view. Although, I would not suggest spending a lot on a 1.25" mirrored star-diagonal, if you're going to stick with the 1.25" focusser. You may, however, want better, a dielectric, and for the specialised purpose at hand.

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