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LeeB

Back to the basics

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I was searching the internet yesterday and spotted a site dedicated to the humble Tasco 60mm refractor. I rememberered that lost in the attic somewhere was the scope in question, how i got it is lost to time. I went hunting and found it, coverered in dust with the caps missing on its wobbly mount.

To cut a long story short a full strip, including splitting the air spaced doublet then fitting nylon bushes to the mount. And it looked good.

With the wind blowing hard last night the use of a 10" newt was out of the question, but a 60mm refractor???.

Anyway out i went at 2am first the moon using the diag. that came with the scope (it allows 1.25inch eyepieces) and meade 4000 15 and 32 mm I was set. The image was good at f11.8 false colour was ok and buy using an orange filter the contrast popped out. I was frankly amazed that such a lowly scope with the addition of half decent eyepieces was performing well.

I then went to jupiter and wow (15mm and barlow giving around 93x) was lovely showing good banding and the larger moons showing discs just.

As a conclusion don't dismiss these tiny cheap refractors they are only let down by poor eyepieces and for the £10 or so they go for on ebay are worth a punt. Its light and when i only have minutes to observe it will be used again.

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As an additional point having stripped the focuser, and replacing the felt pad and using good lithium grease it also is transformed.

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Well, you might be enjoying that Tasco 60mm refractor, but I would say that your experience is a rare exception.

First of all, you say your scope takes a 1.25" eyepiece. Most of the 60mm refractors I have ever seen have .965" eyepeices, and furthemore, the objective, and eyepeices are stopped down quite a bit so that they are not worthy to be called a 60-70mm scope. I have even seen these scopes with PLASTIC lenses, which is really getting down into the bottom of the barrel !

Yes, the tripods are incredibly shaky, and the slightest breeze will cause the barrel to vibrate almost uncontrollably.

Your 15 and 32mm eyepieces are unusual for that type of scope, too, in my experience. Most of those scopes are sold based on the magnification they can provide, and because of that, an eyepiece around 10mm will often be the widest "low power" view, and an eyepiece of around 6mm will give almost useless views.

Again, that may not be the case with your scope, but I will say that one of the biggest mistakes that many neophyte astronomers make is going out and purchasing a 60mm refractor from a "dime-store". The money is so much better spent on a good pair of binoculars, or perhaps a used scope from some member of a local astro club who is trading up and wants to thin out his collection !

I'm glad you enjoyed your scope, but hopefully your fond memories will not lead others into thinking that the inexpensive refractor is the way to go for a first scope. I have seen far too many people get discouraged, and have put their scopes into a closet and taken up some other hobby, simply because they just didn't see what they THOUGHT they should be able to see through it!

Jim S

Edited by JimStan

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I have an older (1960's) Tasco 60mm refractor and, despite it's limited aperture, wobbly mount, and poor supplied eyepieces, it's optically very good. They were made in Japan back then.

I would not recommend one for newcomers to the hobby today though as there are many much better choices available. Thirty five years ago though, when I bought mine, there was very little choice available unless you could afford hundreds of £'s, which I certainly could not on my paper round money !.

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The 9TE was my first scope, many moons ago!

Recently dug it out and need to clean it up a bit, it's been stored for way too long. The tripod is definitely a challenge!

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My first scope was a 60mm Tasco refractor. As John says, I wouldn't recommend it to anybody starting now, it had fairly naff .965" eyepieces and the mount was dire, so that positioning was a pain and the slightest breath of wind made viewing impossible.

Still, for its size and cost it was (optically) a decent little planetary and lunar scope once you got used to its quirks, and it was enough to get me hooked at an early age. You could make out the Cassini division at its widest, and Jupiter displayed both equatorial belts and reddish patches at the poles. Chromatic aberration was an issue though.

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I bet these scopes are a lot better than the one Galileo cobbled together!!

Edited by inspectapart

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I did'nt recommend the scope, I was commenting that the basic objective lens was ok and that fun can be had without great expence. The post highlights that i used meade eyepieces not the **** plastic ones ones supplied. The lens on this tasco is not stopped down and the diagonal allowed 1.25 eyepieces, the main focuser is only .925 but when i started astronomy that was all the amateur could afford.

I would agree with all the comments and not recommend the scope but if like me, you as an existing astronomer have one lying about don't get all "hubble" and try a get a sense of the flawed equipment the pioneers used. Making a poor telescope perform beyond its design is fun for heavens sake.

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Yep, I bought a pair of Ensign 8x30 binoculars for £5 in our local charity shop . They are the old heavy duty model ; made in Japan.

I've the fun factor , as they're always handy. I was lucky enough to be on a dark beach and saw all the nebulae in and around Cygnus.

As a lad everything "foreign" was made in Japan and probably better for it!

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This is what I like to hear, sometimes cheap stuff can be good.

I think Ill be looking for an upgrade to my Bresser Bino's soon.

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My first scope was a Tasco 60mm 9FE which my parents bought me for my 18th birthday! Mount was shaky, eyepieces were shocking but that little scope did me well for more than 10 years until I could afford my current scope. I added some Orion Explorer eyepieces and a barlow and had my first views of many objects such as Jupiter and Saturn through it.

I would not recommend it now as there are better ways to spend your money but options seemed limited back then.

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"Don't get all 'Hubble'"

I like that phrase, he he!

I got the meaning of your post LeeB and I bet it was fun getting it to perform so well!

Thanks for telling us about it!

Doc

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I have still got one of these 60mm (an Xmas present in the early 1980's) came with an EQ1 type mount. I agree it's not a top instrument by modern standards but as a youngster it gave me a lot of pleasure looking at saturn and the brighter star clusters. Come to think of it- I really saw quite a lot stuff with that small scope. Happy memories- coincidentally I cleaned the objective lenses of it today, looks like the AR coatings have seen better days. But I will try it out again one day.

Me and my Tasco 60mm (some years ago.....)

TELESCOPE_004.jpg

TELESCOPE_002.jpg

Curiously the tripod and mount's use out lasted the telescope itself by many years as this was the basis of my home cooked, twin camera EQ tracking mount which still sees ocasional use to this day.

Img_4128.jpg

Img_4344.jpg

Edited by laser_jock99

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good to hear that there is an alternative to the £100s I am potentially looking to spend (and due to the weather - may not use v often!)

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