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About Buzzard75

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    New Bern, NC
  1. Red dot finder help

    My RDF stopped working in much the same way and it was only a few months old. Not sure why. I was actually using it on my scope at the time. One minute it was working and the next it wasn't. Just assumed the battery was dead. Replaced the battery and it didn't fix it either. I replaced it with a Telrad and haven't looked back.
  2. SkySafari 5, SkyBT, and GoTo

    Thanks for the info and the video, Singlin. I'm really excited about it and can't wait to try it out Friday night. I'll be using my phone to start, but I might eventually get myself a tablet in the future.
  3. SkySafari 5, SkyBT, and GoTo

    Thanks, Mike. I've read up on how to get it setup in SkySafari in the settings and, based on everything I've read, I don't anticipate any problems. It sounds like as long as I do everything in the correct order (turn on SkyBT, pair it, plug it in to scope, align scope using the hand controller, start SkySafari, make scope settings are correct in app, connect) it SHOULD just work. Supposedly I don't need a male-male serial adapter and SkyBT already has a male fitting on it. And supposedly when inputting the settings correctly in the app, it automatically knows what baud rate to use so I don't need to get a serial-usb adapter to change any settings on the SkyBT controller as some others do with other, cheaper BT controllers. And yes, I have an Android device. Not sure if it's still the case, but my understanding is that iPhone is limited to using wireless and can't use BT controllers like SkyBT. I'd rather use BT anyway so I can maintain my cellular data connection, if I need it.
  4. Just bought a SkyBT to control my 12" GoTo dob using SkySafari 5. I've read some general info about BT controllers and was wondering what others experiences were using this combination. Is there anything I need to be aware of or problems I should anticipate? I may or may not have a chance to setup everything before heading out Friday night, but if not, I don't want to spend precious time troubleshooting something in the field. If it's something that's easily solved like a setting in SkySafari or something like that, fine. If it's something more complicated that's going to take some time, I'll just skip it for the night and work on it later. Thanks in advance!
  5. Unistella evscope

    I'm going to give it a go. I completely agree that if one part fails, the whole thing fails. However, if you build a system yourself when one thing fails, your whole AP/VA system fails until you get it fixed as well. It's not like you can do AP/VA without a camera or a PC. Are the components easily replaceable by the user? Yes, but you still have to have something to replace it with or just be down until you get it fixed. We'll just have to wait and see what the customer support/service is like if something ever happens *knock on wood*. As for the FOV, depends on what you call wide and what sort of magnification setting you're using, since the magnification is variable (50/100/150). I would assume the magnification is digital rather than optical given the construction of the telescope as you can't really change the focal length. You're right, it's not a very large scope. It's a 4.5" primary and a 450mm focal length. It uses a Sony IMX224, 1.2MP sensor and has a micro-OLED display. You wouldn't be able to get the entirety of Andromeda, Orion or even the Rosette nebula, but there are a lot of smaller galaxies and nebulae that will fit extremely well in the eyepiece. Is it hardware future proof? No. I can't imagine you'll be upgrading the sensor or the display. Software wise though, it's all controlled by an app on your phone which should be easy enough to update. I imagine there would be a way to flash the software on the telescope itself as well, if necessary though. They obviously haven't released full details as the entire project is still in development. You can certainly build a similar system, however, I doubt you'd be able to get anything quite as compact as this. And you really need to compare apples to apples when looking at cost. You'd have to get a scope, a tracking EQ or Alt/Az mount with a tripod, a camera, a power supply, a PC, and the software and cables to hook it all up and run it and process the images in real time. And you'll probably also need a guide scope and camera for that as well. You're probably looking at a $1750 (or £1300) at least. And that's just for barebones, no frills, small scope, low end tech specs and it's going to be a lot of stuff to carry around. Yes, Kickstarter's are generally a throw of the dice, but you really need to look at who's involved and how it's being managed and make a sound judgement from that. With SETI throwing their name on it, with all the publicity that it has right now, all the tech demos they're doing, and with the people who are managing it and their credentials on the line, it seems pretty legit.
  6. Unistella evscope

    I've gone in on the Kickstarter. Is it new tech? No. Is it revolutionary? Not really. What it is though, is an interesting concept using existing tech (i.e. telescope, camera, PC, and software) for live viewing of DSO's all repackaged into a single, easy to setup unit with the added twist of augmented reality and connection to a scientific research network. If a 16" dob is the visual observers version of a high end astrophotography/video astronomy setup, this is the desktop dob version. It's all about convenience and ease of setup and some people are willing to pay for that. I'm not willing to pay the $2000+ figure that's being thrown around in some places, but getting in early on a Kickstarter means you pay about half that. That's a bit more reasonable and it helps fund future developments in the tech. Oculus Rift started as a Kickstarter, and look at them now. One of the leading developers in VR technology. For me, the primary purpose of this telescope system will not be personal, however, I'm sure I will enjoy the views. I still love my 12" dob and get way better views that most of the people in my club from the dark site. The primary purpose will be outreach programs and public events with my astronomy club and to engage those people and increase their interest in astronomy and science. We hold events where we typically have anywhere from 50-100 people show up. I get a ton of oohs and ahs when I show them Jupiter or Saturn at 300x, and I get a few wows when looking at M57. But I also get a lot of questions like "what am I supposed to be seeing?" or comments like "I just can't see it" or children (and adults) who are less than impressed with an extremely faint fuzzy splotch of a galaxy or other nebulae. I can see them in my 12" and I'm impressed with what I can see because I know and understand what I'm looking at, but not everyone is. This is the telescope for those people. As our wallets are painfully aware, getting an image from a telescope to a PC screen with a high end AP/AV setup can easily cost way more than $2000 and requires a lot more components and setup. Besides that, I have enough junk to lug around and setup with my dob. If this thing collapses to fit in a backpack to where I can just pull it out, put it on a tripod, turn it on and it just work, all the better. I'm way more likely to use this in conjunction with my dob than I am to setup both my dob and an AP/AV setup for those community events. If it's just me or a club only event, or I plan to be out all night, that's a different story. That's my two cents on this.
  7. Collimation help first attempt

    I just adjusted my collimation yesterday. Highly recommend that guide from Astro Baby. The first time I did it, I couldn't figure out why it looked somewhat eliptical. Low and behold, that guide explained in faster scopes like mine, that's just the way it is. Phew, wipe the sweat off my brow. I personally use a collimation cap to align the secondary to the focuser and then I switch to my laser to align the secondary to the primary and then the primary to the focuser. I also highly recommend doing it the old fashioned way with a collimation cap or a Cheshire just to get a grasp on the concept. Lasers are great tools, but even they can be inaccurate sometimes. I would suggest that even if you use a laser, always recheck it using a collimation cap or a Cheshire. You may find that there's something wrong with your laser and that it actually requires a collimation of its own. In response to bottletopburly, if your laser is making a circle on your primary when you twist it, then the laser needs to be recollimated. The spot shouldn't move.
  8. underwhelming observing

    Cheshire or a collimation cap at a minimum. Lasers are also your friend, but may require collimation themselves.
  9. underwhelming observing

    Lot of good info here. It's not dangerous at all and it's extremely unlikely that you will do anything irreparable. It's just a matter of adjusting a few screws and knobs.
  10. underwhelming observing

    But with less than exceptional seeing conditions, the higher you push the magnification the worse the image will get. There are a lot of other factors potentially at play as well as the others have suggested. A little more information about your setup and location may help shed some light and get you on the right track. Just because it's new doesn't mean it's collimated. It could be put way out of alignment during shipping or just moving it from inside to outside for setup.
  11. underwhelming observing

    I'll let some others weigh in, but it seems to me you're pushing your scope too hard. Theoretical max magnification for you is around 300x. Realistically it's going to be about half that, maybe a little more. You're trying to push it beyond that to so it's not surprising to me that you're not seeing much detail.
  12. Dobsonian Dew Control

    Mine isn't a full truss and has a lower tube similar to that Lightbridge. A camping mat or even a yoga mat actually sounds like a great option. I don't know why I didn't think of that before.
  13. Had my first real run in with dew over the weekend. The weatherman was way off on the temperature predictions and it dropped significantly below the dew point. To make matters worse, we had some fog roll in. So everything got a bit damp, including me. I have a 12" truss type Orion XX12g. I'm looking at some solutions by Kendrick Astro. As far as optics go, I'm mostly concerned about my secondary and my Telrad as they are the most exposed. I've measured my secondary to have a major axis of 105mm and a minor axis of 72mm. The center post measures approximately 30mm x 45mm. They have two solutions for my secondary that I can see. Can anyone else who has this particular telescope or a rebrand of it confirm those dimensions for me? I asked Kendrick and they don't track individual telescope dimensions and Orion hasn't responded. I'll probably go ahead and get a primary heater as well. It's fairly well protected in the bottom of the tube, but as it's a truss type, it's more likely to dew up than a full OTA. The other concern I have is just moisture in general over the whole thing. The light shroud I have was completely soaked and I had to completely wipe down the tube before putting it away and I'm not 100% convinced I did a very good job in the dark. Does anyone have any recommendations for insulating an OTA or a truss type? I don't want to heat the whole thing, just protect it from condensation in general. Thanks in advance!
  14. How do you mount your Telrad?

    I modified the baseplate to fit in my existing dovetail. The doublesided tape on the front of the baseplate rests on the lip of my OTA. It's not pretty, but it's functional.
  15. Observing Chair

    Some of the members of my group have taken to using a ground cover. Some use tarps, but myself and another member use area rugs or carpet remnants. Any ground cover will help keep you from sinking into soft ground, it will also help you find those dust caps you dropped in the dark, and should you happen to fumble an eyepiece, the rug or carpet may just save you from catastrophy whereas a tarp offers no impact cushion at all on a harder surface.