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Greetings All!

Very Short Explanation: I'm disabled (43) and desperately trying to find ways to still bond/spend time with my youngest son (13).

 

My son expressed an interest, about two months ago, in Astronomy after watching a few YouTube videos on the subject (specifically, the moon and our neighboring planets). He asked if one day we could get a telescope. I was somewhat surprised when, over the course of the following days/weeks, he didn't forget about his request or shift his attention to other, "more 13 year old pressing matters." In fact, he became increasingly MORE excited, despite our lack of progress on the subject (except for many hours of questions and research regarding all things space).

So, I decided that somehow, someway, I would discover the means in which to make this dream of his a reality.  However, due to our financial situation, I wasn't sure it would ever happen. Well, lo and behold, I stumbled across a Vivitar 76700 Reflecting Telescope, while killing time before a drs appt, at the local Goodwill, for only $14.99. I immediately withdrew my "Emergency $20" from my wallet, and I purchased it! 

When I finally arrived home, I began the process of putting it together. Unfortunately, I soon discovered that it lacked everything which is placed in the "lens hole/slot" on the top, back of the telescope (just a hole, no lens, barrel, or anything originally included to fill said hole.

!!!EDIT/CORRECTION!!!: It DOES have the piece which screws onto the side of the telescope that has "adjustor knobs" below it for, I'm assuming, extending/retracting the lens(?). There is just nothing INSIDE this piece except a hole/space. Sorry! 

This is our youngest son (13), who is a "loner." He is very quiet/shy/lacks self-confidence, and suffers from mental/learning disabilities, but truly is "sharp as a tack" in many, many ways. So, when we discover something, anything, educationally speaking, that peaks his interest, we try our hardest to encourage him! 

Now, I don't really have any/much money to spend on getting this telescope in complete working order (I am NOT asking or soliciting for ANYTHING!!) , but I refuse to pass up this chance to bond with him, encourage this budding passion for Astronomy, and help get him OFF that blasted PlayBoxCube more frequently, and into something more beneficial for his young, developing mind!

Now to my question(s)...

What further (inexpensive) equipment would suffice in completing his new-to-us telescope, and increase his allure to the wonders awaiting his discovery in the heavens above? Quality vs Price? Trade-offs? On-topic/slightly off-specific-topic advice?

Links, articles, groups, periodicals, videos...ANY suggestions gratefully welcomed!

Thank you, in advance, for indulging my attempted-to-be-brief background/relevant personal info, and for taking the time to help this guy be a (better) dad again. I feel blessed to have found this particular site/group.

Live Long & Prosper,

-Larry 

 

 

Edited by thepainpastor
Incorrect/Misstated Info
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Are you able to take some photos of the telescope and post them here so that we can see what you have? If the telescope has been disassembled it would be best if we could see what you have in case there is any more amiss than the focuser being disconnected. 

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I looked up the telescope online and found the instruction manual.  (just search on the telescope name). As Ricochet says, it would be a great help if you could post photographs. 

Assuming you have the focuser, you will need to refit it.  From your post it appears that you do not have any eyepieces.  It is not clear what the diameter of the eyepiece is (most modern telscopes take 1.25" or 2" diameter eyepices, but older or budget types could take 0.965"). 

I doubt that you will be able to find specific spare parts for this scope, but a cheap generic 1.25" diameter 25mm focal length Plossl eyepiece should cost  from $10 or so (and a good quality eyepiece could be $50 or more - astronomy is not a cheap hobby).

Do you have the mount that should come with it? If not, you will have to acquire or make one.

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manual here https://static.bhphotovideo.com/lit_files/90271.pdf

If you have  the tripod, the tube, the mirror at the bottom of the tube (aka the primary mirror) , a much smaller angled mirror near the top (open) end of the tube , and the eyepiece tube (tthat's the one with the adjusting knobs, the inner part should move in & out as you turn them)  you have the most important bits, with a little luck it shouldn't be too difficult or expensive to fix the rest.

A photo of the set up would help us help you !

Heather

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A word of caution: in the manual linked to above, it mentions a "sun filter" that screws into the eyepiece. If you find you have that part, throw it away and do NOT use it. It is not safe to use an eyepiece filter for observing the sun. You should never point a telescope at the sun unless you know exactly what you are doing and have taken the right precautions.

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My father was disabled, but we bonded just fine in Iowa over the years gardening on our acreage, tending to our orchard, maintaining power equipment, and attending county and state fairs, antique tractor shows, etc.  Just include your son in all of your interests.  As he matures, treat him as your partner in maintaining your home.  I did a lot of the heavy lifting for my dad as I matured.

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Thank you ALL!

Here are a few pics of the telescope. I suppose I should have thought about including photos in my initial post! It's like, "Mr. Mechanic, I know we are on the phone, but my car, don't know the make or model, is making a weird noise! What's wrong with it??" 

I briefly skimmed the newer comments posted, but I am going to go back and give them the attention they deserve right now. Again, I truly appreciate each of you taking the time to help/encourage me!

-Larry

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In the last photo, you've only removed the inner part of the front cap, the whole thing has to come off when you use it (the outer part should just pull off). Do you have any eyepieces for it? They fit in the hole in the second-last photo and if they're missing you'll need to know that hole's diameter before you can get replacements. It's hard to judge from the shot but they'll be either 0.965" or 1.25", the latter being a common size and the former sometimes found on older scopes (and not so easy to get decent ones).

Once we know what's there, we can give you more advice on checking it over and advising what else you might need.

Edited by wulfrun
added info
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Looks good so far ... the last photo, where you can see the secondary mirror and the 3 vanes of the 'spider' that holds it ... I suspect that the cover you took off was just part of the 'scopes cap .. try hooking a finger around the edge of the hole and pulling gently ... I think the bigger cap will come off as it should.

The 'little cap within a bigger cap' design is a way to cheaply cut down light when looking at a bright thing like the Moon . Usually you take the whole cap off.

Heather

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1 minute ago, wulfrun said:

In the last photo, you've only removed the inner part of the front cap, the whole thing has to come off when you use it (the outer part should just pull off). Do you have any eyepieces for it? The fit in the hole in the second-last photo and if they're missing you'll need to know that hole's diameter before you can get replacements. It's hard to judge from the shot but they'll be either 0.965" or 1.25", the latter being a common size and the former sometimes found on older scopes (and not so easy to get decent ones).

Once we know what's there, we can give you more advice on checking it over and advising what else you might need.

Snap ! 🙂

I just want to know if the primary is OK next  ...

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Looks like you have everything except the eyepieces from your pics. You need to measure the inner bore of the focuser to determine what the correct diameter is, quite possible it will have had 0.965-inch ones but fingers crossed it's 1.25-inch. The 1.25's are easier to find and a couple of plossls (25/20mm and 12/10mm) would get you started. If they turn out to be the smaller bore then finding good ones is harder but you may get lucky on ebay or elsewhere on the web.

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33 minutes ago, DaveL59 said:

Looks like you have everything except the eyepieces from your pics. You need to measure the inner bore of the focuser to determine what the correct diameter is, quite possible it will have had 0.965-inch ones but fingers crossed it's 1.25-inch. The 1.25's are easier to find and a couple of plossls (25/20mm and 12/10mm) would get you started. If they turn out to be the smaller bore then finding good ones is harder but you may get lucky on ebay or elsewhere on the web.

According to B&H website, the diameter is 1.25. 

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1 hour ago, thepainpastor said:

What's pictured is all I have. No lenses (eye pieces?) came with. 

Yep, eyepieces are the small lenses which go in that tube that sticks out of the side of the top of the tube at the (now) open end, the one with the knobs which should shift a tube in and out . As Dave said, you need to know the diameter, I bet it is 1.25" , which would be good as it will mean an eyepiece or two should be easy and cheap to get hold of 🙂

Just for illustrative purposes (I'm not specifically recommending any of them !) here's a page of cheap ebay eyepieces to give you an idea of what they look  like

https://www.ebay.com/b/Unbranded-Fully-Multicoated-Telescope-Eyepieces-Lenses/29954/bn_2454541?rt=nc&_sop=15

as you can see, the listings give a size in inches, you want a size to match your eyepiece tube. Ignore the barlows for the moment, nice to have, but an optional extra..

The eyepieces also have a size in mm, which is to do with their power . The 'scope box says it came with 4 and 8mm eyepieces of a kind which are pretty poor, so you're not missing much by not having them 🙂  I'd suggest you have a look on ebay etc (and maybe go back to the shop the 'scope came from now you know what the eyepieces look like, you might be lucky again !) and see what you can get (in the right size diameter) at 10mm or a higher number, anything up to 32mm  . If you can get two eyepieces , one around 12mm, the other around 25, that would be great. A slightly better type of eyepiece is plossl (not a trade name , but a type) so if you can get plossls rather than one labelled MA or H that would be ideal. 

The higher the mm number here, the lower the magnification. At higher magnification the 'scope has to work harder, so best not push your bargain too far, it and the mount it is on have limitations which will show up at higher magnification. Which is why I say 10mm or higher number .

Is your head spinning yet ? 🙂

Heather

 

1 hour ago, thepainpastor said:

Thanks! I had no idea the whole thing came off! 😂

 

Phew !

In normal use, open the whole thing up, you won't often want just the small cap off apart from maybe for a dazzling full moon !

Can you see the mirror which should fill the bottom (far end from the opening with the spider) of the tube ? It will probably be a bit dusty, but that's OK, as long as there are no cracks, gouges or major lumps out of it all should be well .

Edited by Tiny Clanger
Making it a bit clearer(I hope)
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11 minutes ago, thepainpastor said:

According to B&H website, the diameter is 1.25. 

That'd make life a lot easier but do double check before you buy anything. While you can get an adaptor to use 1.25's on a 0.965 scope the mirror would need shifting to reach focus, not ideal.

If it really is 1.25-inch then as a simple single eyepiece solution if you can find a zoom in the 7-21mm or 8-24mm range you'd save messing about as you can just zoom in/out as you need when viewing. The svbony ones are pretty good for low $ but then you may need to wait for them to ship in from China and its New Years there at the moment which could add delay unless you're lucky to fond one in stock locally.

Edited by DaveL59
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45 minutes ago, thepainpastor said:

According to B&H website, the diameter is 1.25. 

Looking again at the photo you posted, it looks as if there is a plastic piece just inside the focusser that reduces its size. Check if it comes out (don't force anything). It might be a reducing piece to take 0.965" eyepieces and if it comes out you're better off with 1.25". Either way around, check what you have before buying anything - and check the state of the mirrors too. I second DaveL59's suggestion above, on a tight budget the SVbony 7-21mm would be ideal as a do-all eyepiece purchase. It would give you magnifications of 33x to 100x, which should be ok with that scope.

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15 hours ago, wulfrun said:

Looking again at the photo you posted, it looks as if there is a plastic piece just inside the focusser that reduces its size. Check if it comes out (don't force anything). It might be a reducing piece to take 0.965" eyepieces and if it comes out you're better off with 1.25".

Yep: image.png.17616b08c0656478bac385ca24e63222.png

Loosen the screw (blue) then see if the (red) part in the drawtube comes out.

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6 hours ago, Pixies said:

Yep: image.png.17616b08c0656478bac385ca24e63222.png

Loosen the screw (blue) then see if the (red) part in the drawtube comes out.

While looking at it yesterday, I was experimenting with what can come off. The red-lined part you referenced does indeed pop right out. It's sorta like a little cap, almost. I wouldn't have considered it an adapter, but, in hindsight, that makes perfect sense.

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12 minutes ago, thepainpastor said:

While looking at it yesterday, I was experimenting with what can come off. The red-lined part you referenced does indeed pop right out. It's sorta like a little cap, almost. I wouldn't have considered it an adapter, but, in hindsight, that makes perfect sense.

In that case, measure the hole without it in place. It's likely to be 1.25" and that'll make life easier when it comes to replacement eyepieces.

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