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Old 03-09-2005, 20:19   #1
scowan007
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Any amateur astronomers here?

What's yer gear?

I have an "old school" Meade 8" LX200 -f/10
5 or 6 eyepieces, mostly plossls, a meade 8.8mm UWA (AWESOME), f/6.3 reducer, telrad finder (like an EOtech for a telescope), and just got a T adapter and variable projection adapter for my SLR (Canon Rebel 10s and Canon 20D). No wedge yet, debating on whether I need to spend the big $$$ for a superwedge or or if the standard will do.

Running Starry Night Pro on the mac laptop.

Been out of the hobby for awhile, forgot most everything I knew.:( Was hoping there were some GTers who shared this interest.
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Old 03-09-2005, 22:37   #2
GotGlock1917
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Yer not "old school";f

I use a Meade LX6 10" f/6.3 SCT with CAT computer and DRS.
Still running fine after 13 years.
I also have an old ETX-90 (pre AutoStar) and a new ETX-125 AT.
Bunches of EPs, filters and other goodies.
Use a permanent steel pier with a Meade standard wedge bolted to my patio. Been watching the sky for about 30 years. The truth is out there.

Cheers;Y

John
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Old 03-09-2005, 23:07   #3
scowan007
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Quote:
Originally posted by GotGlock1917
Yer not "old school";f

I use a Meade LX6 10" f/6.3 SCT with CAT computer and DRS.
Still running fine after 13 years.
I also have an old ETX-90 (pre AutoStar) and a new ETX-125 AT.
Bunches of EPs, filters and other goodies.
Use a permanent steel pier with a Meade standard wedge bolted to my patio. Been watching the sky for about 30 years. The truth is out there.

Cheers;Y

John
Nice toys, sir!

What I meant by an "old school" LX200 was that it is the older, non-GPS model. I had an LX5 that I sold to get the LX200 used. I was only out of pocket $250. It was a sweet deal!!

How often do you have to collimate yours? I need to do it, but never have and am a bit scared.

Do you thing the 8" with telrad, dew heaters, finder scope and SLR would be ok with the standard wedge for astrophotography (i Have counterweights) or would you (I hope not!) recommend the superwedge..

You ever check out MAPUG.com (meade advanced products users group)? Great site and mail list!!!

I just picked up my first S&T in a long time and saw that Meade is putting out Ritchey-Chretiens now. They look sooooooo cool!!!
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Old 03-09-2005, 23:48   #4
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That is a sweet deal on the LX200. I'd sort of like to have one but I think things are getting too complicated. I'm sure Meades new R/C scope is quite nice but for what? About $5000?
I would have to have an observatory to leave my equipment permanently set up to have gear like that. It is hard enough to carry my 10" out and set it up and it is considerably lighter that an LX200 (as you know). I installed the Meade CAT and Meade DRS well after I got the scope. I like being able to open the clamps and push to point at what ever I want. People are having way too much trouble with these GOTO scopes.

As far as the astrophotography goes, I can't help much. I have only limited experience, primarily with short exposure Lunar and planetary shots. I do believe it is worth trying on the standard wedge. LX200 forks are much sturdier than the old LX3,5,6 forks. Most of my trouble comes from fork flexure, not the wedge. Also, keep in mind that there are better wedges than the Meade Super Wedge. Like the Milburn. They are pricier though.

MAPUG is great!! ^c

My collimation has held well. I have only tweeked it a couple or three times in all these years. It is kind of scarey. I always make it worse before better.

John
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Old 03-11-2005, 06:06   #5
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Here's another one. Heavy on the word AMATEUR.

I have owned many cheaper telescopes in the past but in the last year purchased a used (about 20 years old) 8 inch Celestron SCT and a pair of 25X100 binoculars.

And ......

last Tuesday I just purchased a 16 inch Meade Starfinder on an equatorial mount. It was 5 years old, but seems to be in excellent shape. Now I just gotta learn how to use the thing! It has always intrigued me that the more I learn, the more I find that I don't know.

The really unfortunate result is that it has put a crimp in my Glock collecting.

Tim
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Old 03-11-2005, 16:16   #6
scowan007
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Quote:
Originally posted by Timotheous46
Here's another one. Heavy on the word AMATEUR.

I have owned many cheaper telescopes in the past but in the last year purchased a used (about 20 years old) 8 inch Celestron SCT and a pair of 25X100 binoculars.


... It has always intrigued me that the more I learn, the more I find that I don't know....



Tim
1-Nice toys
2-Ain't that the truth!!
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Old 06-10-2005, 05:57   #7
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How about a Meade LX-3 for old school?

I added DSCs but haven't had much luck with them; still prefer the old fashioned way.
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Old 06-29-2005, 05:06   #8
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OK. Here's my situation: I have a 6 year old grandson and would like to share a bit of the moon and stuff with him, but no way am I going to spend thousands of dollars on a telescope.

I have some good binoculars that zoom up to 30x and would like to get a better view---but it gets expensive.

QUESTION: Would I be totally wasting my money to buy one of those Meade Telestar 60AZ-A scopes at Walmart that sells for around $50?

Meade Scope

If so, what about their Bushnell Voyager 100 x 4.5 Reflector Telescope for $115?

Bushnell Scope

That's about my max investment.

Thanks for your input/comments.
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Old 06-29-2005, 15:51   #9
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NRA Guy

I would recommend that you get a good tripod for your binoculars. This will do two things, steady your view so you can get a GOOD look at the sky, and when you do get a spectacular view, you can leave it pointing at the view and let your grandson see what you saw rather that saying ďitís about there somewhereĒ.

The problem with many discount store telescopes is the tripod they come with. Any wind or vibration gets the view bouncing around and ruins an otherwise fantastic view. Of course the old saying is true that you get what you pay for. That said, a scope from Wally world might be just the start of a fascinating hobby for you and your grandson.

Many experts (Iím not one, but have listened to some) suggest a good pair of binoculars to begin with (and a good tripod) or a good spotting scope. High power is not the main concern here but the ability to gather light. A star that is 20 gazillion miles away will still look 1 gazillion miles away at 20 power, or only one half gazillion miles away at 40 power. Itís still going to look Far Far away. I spotted my first nebula with a pair of 25x100 binoculars on a tripod. I still use them when I just want to go out for a quick look in the evening and donít want to set up any more complicated equipment.

Also you may want to invest in a star map of some sort. Or download one from the internet. If you like I can send you a site that has a planisphere that you can print out to find the constellations.

Tim
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Old 06-29-2005, 16:46   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Timotheous46
NRA Guy

I would recommend that you get a good tripod for your binoculars. This will do two things, steady your view so you can get a GOOD look at the sky, and when you do get a spectacular view, you can leave it pointing at the view and let your grandson see what you saw rather that saying ďitís about there somewhereĒ.

The problem with many discount store telescopes is the tripod they come with. Any wind or vibration gets the view bouncing around and ruins an otherwise fantastic view. Of course the old saying is true that you get what you pay for. That said, a scope from Wally world might be just the start of a fascinating hobby for you and your grandson.

Many experts (Iím not one, but have listened to some) suggest a good pair of binoculars to begin with (and a good tripod) or a good spotting scope. High power is not the main concern here but the ability to gather light. A star that is 20 gazillion miles away will still look 1 gazillion miles away at 20 power, or only one half gazillion miles away at 40 power. Itís still going to look Far Far away. I spotted my first nebula with a pair of 25x100 binoculars on a tripod. I still use them when I just want to go out for a quick look in the evening and donít want to set up any more complicated equipment.

Also you may want to invest in a star map of some sort. Or download one from the internet. If you like I can send you a site that has a planisphere that you can print out to find the constellations.

Tim
+1

You are not going to get a telescope with good optics or a good mount for the kind of money you are talking about, and certainly not both. Department store scopes may occasionally have ok optics, but they always have feeble mounts.

A rock solid platform can overcome poor optics to some extent (Galileo discovered the moons of Jupiter in a scope that was around 2" and crappy glass), but good optics can't overcome a bad platform.

I agree on binos with a good tripod, but there is another option.

A newtonian reflector on a dobsonian mount, commonly called a "Dob."

Through-the-Lens Club

The one in the picture above is around $200. These are, in my opinion, the best starter scopes after binos.
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Old 06-29-2005, 19:54   #11
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Many thanks guys. Sounds like good advice. I think I will start with the binoculars and might spring for the newtonian reflector on a dobsonian mount.

I had no idea the tripod/mount was that critical.

I suppose a light weight aluminum camera tripod would not be adequate, huh? I have one.

I shot about 30 frames of the recent lunar eclipse with my 3.2 MP Fujifilm digital camera. The results were interesting, but not impressive.

I'm inspired. Heck, I think I will go out right now and take a look . . .

Thanks again.

NRA_guy
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Last edited by NRA_guy; 06-29-2005 at 19:56..
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Old 06-29-2005, 20:32   #12
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NRA guy,
scowan007 gave some excellent advice,

Consider that while a newtonian is by far the best value for the buck for astronomy, it will reverse and turn the image up-side down. This will not matter while looking at the heavens, but can be confusing for a young begginer. Binoculars or a spotting scope can also be used for spotting birds, or bullet holes.

Any tripod is more stable than what the average person is. If you binoculars have the mounting hole in the bottom it will be easy to set up. Some binoculars can be attached to a tripod with an adaptor that fits at the front of the center hinge point. Or ... you can do what I did at first, just bungee cord them to the tripod.

What you and your grandson may really enjoy would be to attend a star party with your local astronomy club. You can probibly find out the information from your local university.
They will be able to show you many options and give advice. They might even be able to find some used equipment for sale.

At my first star party I took my used scope and showed what I felt was a wonderful image. They kind of shuddered and spent the next 45 minutes showing me how to adjust my scope. The image was greatly improved and I made some new friends.

Tim
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Old 06-30-2005, 06:57   #13
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Thanks. Will check on it. Not sure there is a club in my area. Small town in Mississippi. But I am rural enough that I don't get too much night light from town.

My binoculars (Minolta) have the tripod screw hole in the hinge pin as you mentioned and it was 90 degrees out of where it needed to be. Wouldn't work with my tripod. I need an adapter which I recall seeing for sale as an accessory.

Mostly, I discovered that

(1) I do move a lots and need a tripod,

(2) mosquitoes love a stationary guy out at night and

(3) I have a lots to learn. There was a big bright star back to the southwest, but I had no clue about it.

Also, I need lots more magnification.

I can see that the upside down image would create confusion.

PS: Ever seen the sticker that says, "If mirrors reverse left and right, why don't they reverse up and down, too?" I love it.
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