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About capncurt86

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    Skiing, motorcycles, running, travel, aerospace engineering, and...now this
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  1. So I have some money burning a hole in my pocket for my first upgraded EPs. I have done tons of searching and settled on trying the Celestron Xcel Lxs and a Celestron zoom. My intention was to have an OK zoom for friends/outreach and quick viewing and to eventually get the set of Xcels from 5mm to 25mm for planetary and DSO use. And I intend to use them in my 8" Dob and 5" SCT. BUT I keep reading threads about people with the Baader Zoom. It seems that the Baader zoom is as good of viewing quality than some Non-zoom EPs. I could either get the Baader for about $290 or get a Celestron zoom, Xcel 9mm, 12mm, 18mm, and 25mm for $330. Is the Baader zoom as good/better than the Xcels (or other similar EPs, paradigms, Meade 5000, etc.) making it more cost efficient to get the Baader zoom over those 5 EPs? Thanks! Curtis
  2. I successfully cleaned my mirror tonight. Woot! All these posts about leaving it alone scared me, but it took less than 30 min and went flawlessly. I also found out that the previous owner didn't tighter the mirror to the mirror holder enough to where it was sliding around. I decided to go the water and a little soap route. I first rinsed the mirror under running tap water. Then I put it in a large plastic dish with a tiny bit of dish soap and enough water to just cover it. I bought Kimwipes and dipped these in the soapy water and drug them over the mirror without any pressure at all. Then I picked the mirror up and swished the water over it and repeated with the Kimwipes and swish about 10-15 times. Then I rinsed under the running water again. Finally I filled the dish with distilled water and did a few final rinses. Then I used canned air to get most of the water drops off. In the end, it was definitely worth it! That mirror was 5+ years old with so much crud on it, I'm surprised it worked. Now I just need the moon to go away so I can test it on some DSOs. Thanks all for the help!
  3. Welcome! I lived in Daytona Beach area for about 5 years. There are some great beaches down the coast with little light pollution and unobstructed sky all the way to 0 degrees. I miss those views. Good luck getting into the new hobby!
  4. Thanks all! It seems that y'all are converging on an answer. I really had no intention of buying a 40mm 1.25" EP, I just could not understand why they are made. I was thinking that it was a scam to get newbies like me to buy a 40mm because it is cheaper than a 40mm 2" or because someone's scope doesn't accept 2" EPs. But it seems to have its place when exit pupil is the name of the game. I'm glad I understand now if I decide that I need a better view of a DSO the big thing is exit pupil which I can get with long focal length EPs with smaller FOVs.
  5. Thanks gents. For anyone's future reference, I have since contacted Orion to see if Methyl Alcohol will damage the mirror's coatings. Their answer was "maybe". They did however, recommend isopropyl alcohol. So I will be buying some 99.9% isopropyl alcohol and Kimwipes. Thanks again.
  6. Thanks. That's seems to align with other cleaning how to's. I just don't like the idea of using tap water with all those impurities. I guess I could heat up some distilled water.
  7. I have had my used 8" Dob for several months and had a hard time seeing DSOs. I have attributed it to light pollution and my lack of experience. A few weeks ago I bought a used, but newer Nexstar 5se. I have been finding out that the 5" SCT performs much better than the 8" with the same eyepieces on the same night with planets. The 5" SCT is a 1250mm FL, F/10 and the 8" dob is a 1200mm F/6, so both in the medium speed range. Last night I finally found the Hercules Cluster which was awesome! But it was only fractionally better in the 8" than the 5". The 8" should gather 250% more light than the 5" plus it has a smaller obstruction so it may be better than that. The view of M13 and M5 last night WERE better in the 8" but not 2.5 times betters, maybe 10-20% better. That led me to ponder the reason. Both scope are well collimated, at least as best I can get without a laser collimator. The only difference is the 8" has a dirty primary mirror. Everywhere I have read here and other forums and sites say not to clean it, BUT it looks bad. The previous owners had the telescope for 5+ years and I don't think they kept it in a clean place with the cover on. I also noticed that the primary mirror had been turned slightly and the place where the clamps were is much cleaner than the rest of the mirror. (Kind of where you move a sofa and the carpet under the feet is new compared to the rest around it.) I also had a XT6 that was new that I just sold to compare it to. The XT6's mirror was flawless when a flashlight was shined on it compared to my 8". So this evidence is leading me to believe that the dirt/"stuff" on the primary is obstructing my view. Now to my question. I work in a lab where we have high quality 12" parabolic mirrors used for schlerin imaging. These are $10k mirrors that we cover when not used. We try to clean them rarely because it could damage them if we are not careful. Our cleaning process is to first use canned air to get the dust off. Then spray 99% methyl alcohol on them followed by dragging (not wiping) a Kimwipe through the methyl alcohol. This does a decent job and does not harm the mirrors. Can I use the same method on my Dob mirror? Are there any special coatings that may be removed if I used methyl alcohol? Has anyone done this before? Thanks! Curtis
  8. Haha. Guess so. Thanks! Your reply makes sense.
  9. Thanks for affirming what I was thinking. So I guess the next question is why do they make it? I can start to answer this from looking at other threads. I believe that a 40mm IS useful IF it is a 2" and NOT a 1.25" like I was asking. The field stop is much bigger in the 2". I have an 8" Dob as well with a 10mm and 25mm plossl. I've been looking for a 2" 32mm to get a wide field view, but that's just me. Honestly to decide what the best EP will be best for what you want to look at, use the Sky Safari Pro app. It allows you to put in the true FOV (http://www.chuckhawks.com/telescope_formulas.htm) and it will make circles to show the size of what you would see through the EP. Then you can slew around the sky with the app to see what fits in the circles and Boom, you know what focal length you need.
  10. So I was looking at some X-Cel Lx eyepieces on Amazon and one of the "suggested" items at the bottom was a 1.25" 40mm plossl made by Gosky. From my understanding, the max field stop for a 1.25" is about 27mm. To me this means and EP with a focal length above that is pointless. So is this just a gimmick to get you to buy a 40mm? What would it look like through the EP, would you see the side walls of the EP? Thanks, Curtis
  11. So I have been noticing that Jupiter is washed out in my 8" Dob when looking through the EP. I thought it was just me being picky and I would have to get over it. Well I just recently got two more scopes, Nexstar 4se and 5se. So I observed Jupiter with both of them and Jupiter looked amazingly crisp and had more contrast. I used all 3 at the same time for a fair comparison. I thought maybe my 8" Dob was out of collimation but it seems fairly well collimated. I also tried switching around the EPs and it had no effect. So my question is: what would cause the 8" Dob to have less contrast on Jupiter than a 4" Mak and a 5" sct? Is it letting in too much light? Thanks, Curtis
  12. They both have the built in wedge. Exact same wedge/arm/tripod. The obvious difference is that the 4 is a Mak and the 5 is an sct. I didn't seem to need anti vibration pads. The feet of the tripods are thick rub that do the trick. Maybe if I was taking pictures pads would be helpful.
  13. So I finally have my answer! I ended up buying both the Nexstar 5se and 4se used. I planned to sell the one that I like the least. I love both scopes. They use the exact same tripod and arm. The OTAs are similar in length. The 5se may weigh a little more but on the arm, they almost are the same form factor. They have the same computer database. The biggest difference is that the 4se has the star diagonal built into the OTA and the 5se is separate. I visually compared the two at the same time with the same EP in the same viewing conditions on Mars, Jupiter, and the moon. The better scope is... ...Neither. Visually they are exactly the same on solar system targets. As far as DSOs I'm not sure yet because it is so light polluted where I'm using them currently. So my personal recommendation between the 4se and 5se if you only plan to look at plants and the moon is the cheaper scope, which is usually the 4se.
  14. Thanks Ian. That makes sense. I did find a website that confirms what you said about mirrorless cameras having deeper T-rings. The same website does however sells a T2 T-ring and a narrow T-ring for mirrorless cameras. Woot! The only thing I'm worried about is like Ian said, placing the sensor closer to the Barlow may not resolve my issue. But it's worth a shot. Also, I've figured out that the Sony Alpha-5000 is just a new version of the Sony NEX. So the two are interchangeable as far as lenses and T-rings. Here's the site I found with help in the FAQ: http://www.telescopeadapters.com/ Thanks again, Curtis
  15. I do wish someone had my camera here, but after searching, there isn't a single post about a Sony Alpha-5000 mirrorless camera. Which is most likely why it's difficult to find adapters. So for anyone's future reference. There is a difference between a T ring and a T ring T2. The T2 apparently means it's extra deep (for some other purpose?) and makes its difficult to focus with a Barlow. The T adapter (not T2) is a thin disc that will allow for a longer Barlow. They are however more difficult to find for my camera at a low price compared to the T2 T-ring.
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