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Monolith man

Meade 16" Starfinder Equatorial

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Greetings, I've been involved in amateur astronomy for many years, and recently had the opportunity to purchase this starfinder scope from a gentleman who purchased it New in 1997. The scope has been unused for a ling time and was showing signs of neglect. He lost interest and just wanted to get rid of this and a meade 10" scope.so I picked them up for a pretty reasonable deal. The scope also came with the Meade magellan  ll system, which had never been installed. One of the encoder gears had been broken. I have since installed the system, cleaned up the mirrors, repainted the tube inside and out, beefed up the mirror mount, and the spider and replaced the bolt that holds the secondary with a larger one, and put larger secondary adjustment screws. I also added a cooling fan to the mirror mount. The mount is solid on this beast, and has no problem carrying the weight of the optical tube. This was about the first part of july. Since then ive not been able to take it out for a try due to the monsoons here in Az. Its rained nearly every day, so needless to say i really cant wait to see what this scope can do. I named it the Monolith. I believe the name fits. Any of you buffs out there have one of these scopes? If so I'd like to hear from you.20170722_114212.thumb.jpg.8064d2412c8a3663125f2875c7d15a1c.jpg

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Hi and welcome to the forum !

Those are really massive scopes. In fact any 16" newotonian on an EQ mount is a massive scope !

I've seen one of the 16" Starfinders, many year ago, in an astro dealer in the UK. Very impressive but really needs a permanent mounting in an observatory I'd have thought. I had the 8" F/6 optical tube (unmounted) which had a Sonotube (a sort of wrapped painted cardboard) tube. Does the 16" use that material ?. Optically my 8" was quite good but the cooldown time was very long for it's aperture because Meade put a great lump of metal beneath the primary mirror as a counterbalance. Lots of folks remove this I believe to speed up the cooling of their scopes.

One of our members had the 12.5" dobsonian mounted version of the Starfinder a while ago I believe.

The views of deep sky objects should be very impressive when the Arizona skies clear :icon_biggrin:

Edit: It may have only been the dobsonian mounted versions of the scope that used the metal weight behind the primary mirror, to achiieve balance.

Edited by John

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You're right John it was me!...great mirror in it too.The sonotube seems to keep dew at bay also

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Thanks for your interest and your posts.  There is no weight on the rear of the eq version. I can understand why they put it on the dobs though. The tube is sonotube, the wall is probably close to 1/2" thick. With the mirrors in it it's close to 100lbs.  I agree it really should be housed in an observatory, but for now it's portable. 

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I've read that the tube can be difficult for cooldown because it traps warm air very effectively. Although very few people actually do this, a Sky and Telescope article years ago strongly advocated blowing ambient air across the mirror by means of entry and exit fans on opposite sides of the tube. Just a thought.

It looks like a very tempting scope!


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Nice mirrors in the Starfinder - looks great on the EQ but it's begging for a truss dob rebuild, that's what I'd do lol. :)

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The next job I'd do, would be to make up some tube rings. So I could turn the tube easier to allow for better eyepiece access.

Fighting with a 10" on an EQ was bad enough without them, but that beast :eek: 


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The fan idea sounds like it would reduce cool down time considerably.i might have to try that. Converting it to a dob would probably reduce the weight by a lot. It weighs 247lbs as is. But I've always liked eq mounts. I'm anxious to see how the magellan 2 works. It's kind of like a go to, but you move it manually and it zeros you in on a target with the handbox by telling you how many degrees to move it. You do a 2 star alignment so It knows where it's at. It also has 4 slewing speeds. It has a slip ring on the ra axis so you can move it around and it will continue to track. That's the main drawback to a dob.you have to keep adjusting it to keep an object centered. I figure I'll just use a small ladder to get to the eyepiece. Building rotating rings would be quite a project. I'm not sure I'd even know how to go about it.

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15 hours ago, Monolith man said:

Building rotating rings would be quite a project. I'm not sure I'd even know how to go about it.

I was thinking more like a set of these  to help. You could use this system instead of regular jubilee clips as this will go to a metre diameter :thumbright:

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