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Bodkin

First light with an old Fullerscopes 8.5 inch

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I managed to get half an hour of observing yesterday evening, just after sunset and just before yet another band of cloud and rain hit mid Wales.  The scope is an early eighties 8.5 inch F7 (ish) newtonian that I purchased last year.  It arrived in a near mint condition mechanically, which soon became understandable. In fairly typical Fullerscopes fashion the telescope had been put together incorrectly and I wasn't able to get anywhere near focussing my eighties vintage eyepieces, or indeed any other eyepiece, even with the longest extensions I could find.  It is sad to think that a succession of owners have probably tried to use this scope and then given up without realising that the fault was fixable; I moved the primary mount as far down the tube as I could, re-drilled the focuser hole a bit further up and installed a focusser with a longer back-focus.  The main mirror was pristine, with no signs of ever being washed or scratched in any way.  However, they both needed re-coating (the secondary was semi-transparent) and I got the whole scope back in order for the new year, appropriately mounted on a Fullerscopes Mark IV and with my late-eighties 26mm Vixen plossl. 

So, only a short period of time for viewing before the clouds, but the skies were good, though not excellent.  I have always liked the simplicity of longer-focus newtonians, with simply collimation, cheaper eyepieces, no coma correctors and edge to edge pinpoint stars.  Having given away my 14 inch and 20 inch dobsonians I am also focussed on smaller scopes and everything they can yield for deep-sky observing.  The initial results were excellent

M33 - easily visible and showed good size and some shape.  A hint of spiral arms possibly.

Mirach's ghost - popped straight out with no difficulty at all.  The tight stars really seemed to help here

NGC891 - I hadn't intended to even attempt to go for this given the sky conditions and it was an addition after seeing how well Mirach's ghost looked.  A relatively easy sight in averted vision, with a distinct needle shape against a pretty rich background of stars, lovely

M37 - a favourite of mine and very well displayed in the eyepiece.  Lovely tight stars right across the (relatively narrow) field of view and the single brighter star (apparently ) in the centre of the cluster shone like a jewel. 

That was all I could manage before the clouds, but I think I have bagged a good un.  Smaller, long-focus newtonians really do have a place in deep-sky observing and while they are difficult to source new, they can still be found for little money on the second-hand market.  I have had the Mark IV mount since the late eighties and while it is fun to have a period scope, I will possibly re-mount the reflector onto a dobsonian at some point, as I did for my 10 inch.

 

Jonathan.

 

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Good report

Have been tempted by some of these but wasnt sure if they were worth the effort

May have a re-think now ;)

Must do a report on the old 125 frac at some point

Edited by Frank the Troll
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7 hours ago, Bodkin said:

The scope is an early eighties 8.5 inch F7 (ish) newtonian that I purchased last year.

 

My first telescope, back in the 1980s, maybe around 1983/1984 was a Fullerscopes 8.75 inch 222mm  f/7.25 on a Fullerscopes Mark III mount.

It sound like this may be the same model. Quite an unusual mirror size.

I have fond memories of that scope, superb views of star clusters and double stars.

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18 hours ago, Frank the Troll said:

Good report

Have been tempted by some of these but wasnt sure if they were worth the effort

May have a re-think now ;)

Must do a report on the old 125 frac at some point

The individual parts are often pretty good and the mirrors can be excellent if you get the 'A-class' versions made by David Hinds.  My 10 inch and 8.5 inch are both 'A-class' and I am sure that getting replacement optics at the same quality would be very expensive. 

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13 hours ago, Charles Kirk said:

My first telescope, back in the 1980s, maybe around 1983/1984 was a Fullerscopes 8.75 inch 222mm  f/7.25 on a Fullerscopes Mark III mount.

It sound like this may be the same model. Quite an unusual mirror size.

I have fond memories of that scope, superb views of star clusters and double stars.

My first telescope was the ten inch on a Mark III mount from around the same time.  The mount wasn't really up to the job, but I learned the sky and saw most of what was possible from an urban environment.  Now that I live under dark skies I can really see what those Fullerscopes were capable of delivering.

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1 hour ago, Bodkin said:

The individual parts are often pretty good and the mirrors can be excellent if you get the 'A-class' versions made by David Hinds.  My 10 inch and 8.5 inch are both 'A-class' and I am sure that getting replacement optics at the same quality would be very expensive. 

will look out for an 8.5". changing the focuser would'nt be a problem

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