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New Kaleidoscope


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I already had one kaleidoscope; this 80mm f/6...


I've never wanted to go shorter than f/6 for an achromat.

Out of the blue, I received in the mail a rebate-check, and tea-totally unexpected.  Imagine my surprise.  Combining that with birthday-cash, I had a modest amount with which to indulge myself, although no splashing on entertainment venues and drink with this windfall, no.

Right next door to California is Arizona, and there in Arizona a seller resides, a liquidator of Meade products, returns and what-not from across the country; waste not, want not, as the saying goes.  The seller has a dedicated website, and an eBay store as well.  On eBay, the seller had only one of these kits, for US$125, and described as being in "Good" condition; just the OTA and a red-dot finder, along with a mount and tripod; no eyepieces, barlow or diagonal, nor a "smartphone" adaptor as when sold new within the retail sector.

But then, on the seller's dedicated website, the same kit was offered, multiples, yet those described as being in "Excellent" condition, and for only $25 more...



Drat!  My world-renowned Minolta DiMage F100 is on the fritz again!

Edited by Alan64
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I fixed the camera.  It was a thing or other.  Glamour shots...



The contents are not necessarily original to that box.  The kit was a return, to a Costco, a discount, wholesale warehouse, which requires a membership-fee.  Costco then sent the return to Meade, and then Meade sent it to said seller for liquidation...


...a 102mm acxhromat, at f/6; f/5.9 actually, but I made an exception.  We do what we can these days.

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The un-boxing...


It's so very difficult to source a 102mm f/6 achromat these days; pity, that.  Synta offers one under their "Celestron" marque, the "AstroMaster 102AZ", but with a plastic, wonky, "tongued" focusser, and jepardous for an accurate and precise collimation.  Curiously, however, Synta does not offer one under their "Sky-Watcher" marque; only at f/5 rather, and much too short for the astronomy gods to so bless.

The accoutrements...


...and what was not included within the "Good" kit...


The eyepieces, the barlow and the red-dot finder are like new.  The star-mirror diagonal, however, appears to have been cleaned with a finger and spittle at some point in the past...


That was easy enough to restore, and happily, with no scratches evident...


...but what a cheapie.  Incidentally, I did not pay the extra $25 for those.  I paid it in the hope of hopes that the OTA would be in "excellent" condition, rather.

The "smartphone" adaptor, surprisingly of metal, and with nylon thumb-screws for attachment to an eyepiece...



Perhaps it should've been made of plastic, but not like this Explore Scientific/Bresser adaptor...


In any event, in that I do not own nor use a "smartphone", that'll be about as useful as <insert here> on a boar.

Would that I might alter, modify it, and to work with my point-and-shoots...


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The mount...


The yoke is of metal, and quite rigid.  It's rather reminding of a Tele Vue yoke.  The hub to which the yoke attaches is of metal as well.  But the legs, the spreader, and the tray, simply do not equal that above them.  Then, the legs may be upgraded, to something more substantial, of wood perhaps.  The eyepiece tray...


...and exactly the same as the one that came with my Celestron "PowerSeeker" 127EQ.  Interchangeable, they are.

Note where the telescope attaches...


With this type of mount, at this price-point, it helps to add heavy-duty springs, and washers, to where you might be able to omit the slow-motion rod even...


But only if you intend to keep the OTA on that mount.

Edited by Alan64
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The OTA...


Only a single scratch was discovered...


That came as no surprise whatsoever, as I've bought from this seller before.  I'm just grateful that that was the only one.

The specifications-label; Meade seems to have always had the prettiest ones...



Those of Celestron are downright spartan...


The objective...


Note the deep plum-like colouration of the doublet's coatings.  Then, we have the green...


...four inches of delectable, luscious, unobstructed, refractive goodness.

I knew even before, prior to purchasing, that this achromat came with a 2" all-metal focusser...


...and with a 1.25" adaptor.  That's the draw-tube racked fully outward, and ideally, short.  There should be no stopping-down of the aperture within this telescope as a result.

Edited by Alan64
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The kit seems rather toy-like there, and here...


Unfortunately, the legs should always be extended to get the telescope up to a suitable height...


It's not the worst in stability, but not that far ahead.



This achromat will make for an excellent terrestrial spotter during the day, and perhaps at night as well; for surveillance.

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First light, and with the eyepieces and other that came with the kit; during the day, although there's not much to see: the usual power-transformer in the distance...


...and trees, lots of trees...



Surprisingly, I saw very little false-colour.  Those images were taken with the bundled 26mm MA(modified-achromat) eyepiece(23x).

Then, at night; Jupiter, at 133x(the bundled 9mm MA combined with the 2x-barlow)...


The false-colour is quite apparent there, but then Jupiter is awfully bright.  In addition, the barlow most probably contributed as well. 

I don't know how I did it, with the mount as it is.  Saturn, at 133x...


Miraculous, that shot was, and out of eight attempts.  The view, live, was, as always, considerably sharper. 

The Moon through the 26mm MA (23x)...


I had to set the camera to sub-second exposures, as the light gathered was a bit overwhelming, particularly that from an almost full Moon.  Through the 9mm MA(67x) only...


The view at 133x was not as sharp, not with these kit eyepieces and barlow, but not too bad.  I do have those better to use with the telescope.

This is where I drew back away from the telescope, and took a shot of the Moon's reflected light shining through the eye-lens of the 9mm MA...



That completed the first light for the telescope. 

This doublet is hereby declared to be worthy of a right good blackening, and with new spacers perhaps.  I am in great earnest to do so, along with the blackening and flocking of the tube throughout, down to the last square millimetre.

I may now banish the bundled eyepieces, diagonal and barlow back to their box, and for all time, for I saw some graininess at one point using these items.  They're practically identical to what came with my Meade "Polaris" 114mm f/8 Newtonian and EQ-2 kit...


That barlow introduced considerable false-colour, and to an otherwise 100% apochromatic instrument.  The eyepieces are just as bad, the bottom of the barrel, stuck to it even. 

But that's to be expected.  As with all of these entry-level kits, what we're only and really after is the telescope, in the end.

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I have decided that I will not be wanting to keep this telescope on its yoke-style mount.  I will need to remove these fittings, of metal surprisingly, and fill the holes with set-screws...


Back in June, I had gotten a new old-stock Meade LX70 EQ5-class mount.  It came with this dovetail-bar, and 150mm in length...


That will do quite nicely.  I have also ordered tube-rings, 100mm ID...


Those are scheduled to arrive by this coming Friday.

Incidentally, this OTA is the same as that of the Meade "Infinity" 102mm kit, and with an AZ3-class mount. 

Would that I might've run across just the OTA of that kit.  There would've been less holes to fill, but no matter really.

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It turns out that the tube-rings were shipped via "UPS Surepost" <grumble grumble>, but still on time.  Thankfully, they have "Arrived at Post Office", locally.

I feel a trip to my local hardware at the county-seat coming on, for screws and such to attach the rings to the bar, and for set-screws to fill the six holes in the tube.

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I couldn't stand it any longer, not knowing for certain, so I removed the focusser...


Incidentally, the cover-plate, for securing the pinion-gear against the rack, was not installed evenly.  It didn't take much to correct it, but there was no excuse for that.    

The optical tube has three baffles: 1, 2, 3...


I would like to retain those, but I would have to mark their positions, remove them, then flock them along with the rest of the tube.

The fitting for the attachment of the slow-motion control rod...


Those are machine-screws, therefore the six holes are threaded, and just as I expected.  Set-screws will fill those in nicely.   

I will be making a light-shield for the focusser of this one, and just as I did for the Antares 805...


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