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Walking on the Moon

Tal 1 (110mm reflector) report

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Last week I drove round to Damiens to pick up a Tal 1 he was giving away. I expected a rather battered OTA with a cracked mirror and bent tube but no, the scope is pristine apart from lacking counterweights which are buried somewhere in the bowels of Damien's loft..

I got a cheshire EP and had a play with collimation. At first I found it a bit confusing and thought I must be missing something because apart from a small adjustment to the secondary everything lined up perfectly. I had to take it out of collimation to confirm that the primary had been lined up perfectly!

The scope had its 1st outing on Saturday. What a step up from the Lidl 70mm! The first obvious thing is the mount and pedestal. The whole thing is rock solid. It just doesn't vibrate. whenever I stubbed my toe on it the image would stay dead central. A neighbour came round to have a look and had to hold onto the scope to steady herself whilst viewing Saturn under high power. No problem.

Without the counter weights the scope has to be slewed with care but once in position the slow mo controls are very smooth. Focussing is easy and I now understand what is meant by objects snapping into focus. Stars are pin point and it is as if the optics are invisible. M42 revealed details in the mistiness I haven't had any inkling of before. Onto Saturn and the Cassini division was well defined along with some vague details on the disc.

Using a web cam is so much easier than with the lidl because the scope is so steady. chaning from EP to cam doesn't change the view.

I moved onto targets for the evening and was a lot less successful. couldn't find M81/82 in ursa major or the Leo triplet. I haven't sussed out navigating my way around using fields of view and star hopping and found the guide scope pretty inadequate. The slow motion controls don't have much travel which means that I have to unlock the RA and dec to make adjustments which is trickier without the weight. I think a Telrad will help. The setting circles appear to be good but I need to have a long session practicing with these.

This is a great 1st scope. Everyone says how important aperture is and obviously that's right but the thing that I really like about this scope is the mount which makes is very user friendly especially for a clumsy novice. Damien is a superstar for giving this away. Once I have moved on I will make sure it goes to a very good home although right now IT'S MINE!! :lol:


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