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Everything posted by Alan64

  1. It's not likely you'd get the older version from the major vendors; only in little-known, secret corners of the internet. In any event, there wouldn't be many to go around at that. The current one is what it is, and most likely the one you'd get.
  2. Hi Andy, This book is oft suggested for those wanting to delve into astrophotography... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/books/making-every-photon-count-steve-richards.html If you're keenly interested in taking pictures with a telescope, that book is an ideal primer. For prime-focus imaging with your cameras, you might need a mount like this, and at a minimum... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-mounts/skywatcher-eq5-pro-synscan-goto.html ...and a telescope like this... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-explorer-130p-ds-ota.html There's a rather long-running thread about using that very telescope for imaging... https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/210593-imaging-with-the-130pds/ A camera's sensor will not tolerate any instability from the mount; not like the eyes will, and do. The telescope and the camera must be held rigidly, lest the images become blurred. For the time being, you could go ahead and get that telescope, and place it on this for visual use with eyepieces... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-mounts/skywatcher-eq5-deluxe.html In future, you can add either a dual-motor drive system to the mount, or a go-to kit... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/sky-watcher-mount-accessories/dual-axis-dc-motor-drive-for-eq5.html https://www.firstlightoptics.com/sky-watcher-mount-accessories/enhanced-dual-axis-dc-motor-drives-for-eq-5.html https://www.firstlightoptics.com/sky-watcher-mount-accessories/synscan-pro-goto-version-3-upgrade-kit-for-eq5.html
  3. I have a current version of that kit, and a Meade... It's a 114mm f/8 Newtonian, too. I've only observed with it once, and I was quite pleased with its performance. I will be using it in future, on occasion. It simulates the performance of a 102mm f/8 apochromatic refractor... ...but at roughly 1/40th of the cost. You will want to check its collimation once you get it, and for best image quality.
  4. The arms are now permanently attached to the hub... The lock-nuts allow for just the right amount of tension, and to prevent side-to-side slop when the arms are moved. The yokes being of wood helps in that, too. The motion of the arms is smooth and fluid, and with no binding whatsoever. Stainless-steel, brass, and nylon washers were also installed...
  5. First, I installed a threaded-insert into the hub... I found this locally, at a brick-and-mortar location... https://www.target.com/p/10-5-plastic-dinner-plate-black-room-essentials-153/-/A-53135497 I had gotten two of them, and in the event that I might make a mistake. I did indeed ruin the first one, but not the spare... The knob is from a spare EQ-2 mount-head, from a recent Meade warranty claim, and of stainless-steel. I needed only the DEC shaft and its threaded substrate from the claim, so I have quite a few extra parts. The stainless-steel fender-washer was epoxied to the plate, the mating surfaces scored beforehand... The plate, now an eyepiece-and-accessory tray, 27cm in diameter and 4.8mm in thickness, is quite rigid, even with the holes cut out. It's not soft or pliable at all, yet not as rigid as melamine, and therefore not likely to crack; perfect. I left one side of the plate solid for other astronomical bits and bobs. In future, I may get a larger, serving-type tray, but no more than 36cm in diameter. The plate compared to the tray from the Meade EQ-2...
  6. These, the very last of the parts required to complete the tripod... That's 15 #6 nylon washers, 15 #10 nylon washers, 12 #6 SS washers, 12 #10 SS washers; and yes, you guessed right, a 1-foot long, 3/4" diameter, black-nylon rod. For whatever might be that rod? That's something special that came from Florida, and off of eBay. Now, I am tossing an idea around in my head, and for a possible, removable accessory-tray, made from a round, shallow baking pan or other. I'll have to think on that further.
  7. One of the great, fun things about telescopes, and over binoculars, is that you can change the magnification. I'd give it up if all I could have is a pair of binoculars. Instead, I would just walk outside, look up at the sky and muse, "Oh, how pretty", then go back indoors. It has been said that there is no one telescope that can do it all, in regards to low-power and high-power observing, but I beg to differ. To observe the sky at a binocular-like 20x, then in the next moment 150x or 200x, and everything in between, is desirable, possible, and with one telescope. That would cover all bases: the galaxy in Andromeda and the Pleiades; other yet smaller galaxies, globular-clusters and nebulae; then high-powered views of the Moon, the planets and the double-stars. The brighter and brightest objects in the night sky, the Moon and the planets, are far fewer than the vast multitude of the dim and dimmer deep-sky objects. We know that the Moon and the planets are relatively close to Earth, and here within our solar system. But everything else lies outside our home, and at distances to boggle the mind. The farther out that they are, the farther back in time one sees. When you look at this globular-cluster through an eyepiece... ...you're seeing it not as it appears at that moment, but rather as it appeared over 20,000 years ago; most ancient. The light that it sent out, that it may send still into space, took that long to reach us, and at the speed of light. It is, therefore, over 20,000 light-years distant. When its light first left that cluster, and headed towards Earth, someone made this out of ivory in what is now France... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_of_Brassempouy#/media/File:Venus_de_Brassempouy.jpg The refractor and the Newtonian are the oldest yet most effective designs, and from the early-to-latter 1600s. That's all man had to play with, until much later. In the 1940s, the Schmidt- and Maksutov-Cassegrains came into being, and that's it, too. In developing telescopes, the endeavour has proved almost as difficult as making a human eye from scratch. Collectively, they're the only instruments with which to observe the heavens, and to this day. It's not a lot from which to choose. The primary function of a telescope is ever so simple: to observe faraway objects up close. Back in the golden, olden days, low-power views were handled by the naked eyes, and effectively, as there wasn't nearly the level of artificial light pollution that plagues us today. Oh, I suppose if all I had was a pair of binoculars, I'd make merry use of it... ...but only if telescopes were non-existent. But simply knowing that telescopes do indeed exist, then what are we waiting for?
  8. The 8mm and 12mm of said brand are said to be the best; or, the most popular at least. As you go up in power, the telescope has to work harder. If the primary-mirror is well-figured, and the entire optical system is well-collimated, you can, in theory, reach 400x on nights of better-than-average seeing conditions, especially on the Moon. Most nights, however, 200x is going to be about the practical limit. But there will be those special nights now and again.
  9. You can compare a Schmidt only to a Newtonian, never a refractor. A Maksutov is the only reflective design that has been described as "refractor like". The only short 100mm-ish refractor that would possess the apochromaticism of a reflector would be an f/6 triplet-apochromat; for example... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/esprit-professional-refractors/skywatcher-esprit-ed-100-pro-triplet.html
  10. There is the option of a 127mm Maksutov. It would have quite a long focal-length, generally the longest of all other designs per millimeter of aperture, therefore go-to is almost essential for ease in aiming it. Otherwise, upon a manual mount, you could add a 8x50 or 9x50 finderscope as a "seeing-eye dog" for it... Go-to... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/maksutov/sky-watcher-skymax-127-az-gti.html Manual... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/maksutov/sky-watcher-skymax-127-az5-deluxe.html The Maksutov-Cassegrain has been described as "refractor like", in image sharpness and contrast, and the only one among all the types of reflector telescopes so compared.
  11. When you receive the zoom, eventually you may hear it rattle a little. This is normal, for current zoom-oculars at least. The Celestron is priced a bit higher there in the UK, but both are the same, and down to their capsule-like cases... Here in the U.S., both are priced equally, and with the Celestron on sale at present for less; no rhyme nor reason. You did quite well, especially in avoiding a no-name 7-21mm version. Those aren't quite as good, reportedly.
  12. In my experience, only discounts of 15% and greater are worthwhile, and that's not going to happen with any astronomical-equipment vendor on the planet. But no matter; no, not at all, as we are presently enjoying the lowest prices in this, the short history of commercial astronomy, and thanks to China. I got this factory 2nd recently: a 90mm f/10 achromat... ...and for only £50. True, it had a sheared-off thumbscrew for the finder's bracket upon its arrival... But that was the only real issue, and the seller sent a replacement after I had sent them that image. Afterwards, I blackened and flocked it throughout, and replaced the doublet's spacers even... 90mm of unobstructed aperture is a wonder-glass under darker skies. My experience goes to show that, beyond discounts, there are great bargains to be had; if you know where to look.
  13. Synta(Sky-Watcher, Celestron, Orion of California, Saxon) does make a 1.25" star-prism, the Celestron #94115-A, and that's about as good as they can do. Mirrors are much easier for Synta to produce, especially in the 2" format, and are therefore more profitable.
  14. You can't beat a fine refractor, and for the sharpest and most contrasty images.... https://www.altairastro.com/Starwave-102ED-FPL53-Refractor.html That one comes with a no-nonsense, tried-and-true rack-and-pinion focusser. It is also an FPL-53 doublet, which would acclimate to the outdoor conditions almost immediately, and ready to ramp up the power. A Maksutov takes about an hour. Maksutovs have been described as "refractor like" in the quality of the images, and the only reflective design so described. In any event, a Maksutov is almost there in that regard, quite close at times, but not quite to the same level in the end. This one is of a practically identical configuration, but with an FPL-51 doublet instead... https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p4964_TS-Optics-ED-102mm-f-7-Refractor-Telescope-with-2-5--R-P-focuser.html Then there is this 110mm f/7, with a 10mm increase in aperture... https://www.altairastro.com/Starwave-110ED-Refractor-Telescope-RP-Geared-Focuser.html In "refractorland", every single, extra millimeter counts. As for a mount, you could go with a manual alt-azimuth for visual... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/alt-azimuth.html Or, you could get this equatorial now with a single-motor drive for the RA-axis, for automatic tracking, and for visual, but also perhaps for a bit of dabbling with a camera... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-mounts/skywatcher-eq5-deluxe.html https://www.firstlightoptics.com/sky-watcher-mount-accessories/single-axis-dc-motor-drive-for-eq5.html ...and upgrade the mount with a go-to kit in future, when you're ready. I have a 102mm f/8 fluorite doublet... ...and I like to observe the Moon, too...
  15. This is a rather versatile go-to mount, and can be used in manual mode as well in the event of battery/motor/computer failures; perish the thought... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/alt-azimuth/sky-watcher-star-discovery-wifi-az-goto-mount-tripod.html Every house begins with a foundation, as does a customised telescope kit, and tailored to the user. The next step: what sort of glass shall I place upon it? This ready-made kit includes that go-to mount, and a 150mm f/5 Newtonian... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/sky-watcher-star-discovery-150i.html Newtonians require the most work in keeping their optical-systems aligned, collimated; and for sharp, pleasing images throughout the range of magnifications. In return, however, you get the most aperture for the least amount of expenditure. A 150mm f/5 Newtonian is most versatile, in observing the gamut, most everything in the sky, from a low 23x, to 200x and beyond with the aid of 2x and 3x barlows. It's the closest one may come to an all-rounder; a "jack of all trades". I know, as I have one myself; many of us do... The Newtonian of that kit however, to save weight and in being less of a burden upon the mount, is of mostly plastic, yet still quite capable. Another telescope, at or near the stated budget, that might be placed upon the mount is a Maksutov-Cassegrain... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/maksutov/skywatcher-skymax-127-ota.html That one would require less work to maintain, and is designed for the upper range of magnifications; medium-to-high powers. Inexpensive eyepieces, including the wide-angled, would play very well with that design of telescope. Low-power, wide-field views would not be possible with that one however. Although, in future, if such is desired, a short refractor can take care of that aspect of observing... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/startravel/skywatcher-startravel-102t-ota.html That one, however, would not be suitable for viewing brighter objects, only the dim and dimmer of sprites, deep-sky objects and vistas; and due to chromatic-aberration, or false-colour. Refractors require virtually no maintenance at all. They are the least work-intensive of the designs of telescopes -- although I prefer to take them apart, blackening and flocking them throughout, and for improved contrast. This customised kit would require virtually no maintenance, no batteries; just you, the kit, and the sky above... The foundation... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/alt-azimuth/skywatcher-az4-alt-az-mount.html The glass... https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p2684_Skywatcher-Evostar-102---102-1000mm-Refracor---optical-Tube.html I would've listed a UK vendor for that one, but for some curious reason or other, no one offers it as an OTA. The three daughters(U.S., Canada, and Australia) can get the same OTA, made by Synta... ...but the mother cannot.
  16. 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.
  17. Later on today I will lightly buff the parts out with #0000 steel-wool and lemon-oil.
  18. 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.
  19. 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
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. The first coat of urethane has been applied...
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
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