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Topics - exvermabo

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I have a budget of around $7000-8000.

I was leaning towards a 14" EdgeHD on a CGEM DX mount since a new one can be had for $6000 and offers mostly what I'm looking for: one-man setup, tracking, aperture, and good optics.

However, I used to own a 16" dob and would love to stay at or above that size if it's at all possible. What I don't want to sacrifice though, is tracking capabilities. I don't need goto, just the ability for the scope to roughly follow an object at high power so I can get some decent observing in without constantly repositioning the scope (something I hated doing on my old 16" dob).

Willing to stretch my budget above the $6000 14" EdgeED to get one. Looked at Obession, Webster, Starmaster, and Teeter - all have *scopes* in my budget, but none with tracking. Tracking kits add another $2000.

Any suggestions?

ATM, Optics and DIY Forum / Cutting Fiberglass Tubes ?
« on: January 03, 2018, 08:23:42 PM »

Yesterday at an astro Shop & Swap I fell heir to a used fibreglass tube, 12" in diameter. The
price was right (FREE! ) because apparently the owner didn't wanna haul it back home

Having been a long time amateur radio nut who has attended MORE than his share of
Hamfests, I know EXACTLY where he's coming from on that score!!!

It was meant for an f/ 6.8 mirror (I suspect that it started life as a Meade Newtonian). I have
a pretty decent f/ 5.0 mirror and an Old School Novak cell here that have been begging for
a new home. It was a deal that I couldn't refuse... even while wrestling this beast into the
back of my little Ford Transit Connect van!

With my shorter focal length mirror, I have more tube than I need here. That allows me to
saw off the errors of past owners... like botched focuser holes and the like.

The problem here... I've never tried to saw fiberglass tubes before, let alone one of this
prodigious diameter.

The trick is to cut it cleanly, and to make the cut square.

What I have available to do the job... a floor mounted bandsaw. THAT should be a help,
I hope...I want to tap experience here. What kind of blade will cut fibreglass cleanly? What kind
of cutting speed should I use?

I already know that I'll need to put together some sort of a cutting jig to handle something
this big, and would appreciate any hints as to what will work with the least hassle.Thanks in advance! 

ATM, Optics and DIY Forum / Polar Alignment Scopes Question
« on: December 31, 2017, 03:45:49 PM »
I asked this question in my recent post ( http://www.cloudynig...-gem-mount-v20/ ) about polar alignment scopes but I'm thinking that post has run out of steam.

Obviously, I cant bore a hole through the polar axis (now I'm starting to sound like I might be learning something after all!). Can these scopes be mounted on the polar tube like a finder scope is mounted on the OTA? I am thinking about imbedding a laser pointer in the end of the polar tube assembly. I have used these as a thickness gauge on my lathe. Would this work for this application? Something like this?
Obviously I would need to incorporate a power source (small battery pack inside the tube?) but that would be fairly simple if it would work….

Thanx in advance for any input...

Beginners Forum / All in the name of love.....:>)
« on: December 29, 2017, 12:03:58 AM »
For the sake of my wife, I live in Alabama 5 months a year. (No condolences please, I love her very much). What is wrong with Alabama? Not going there except to say that here in HSV (not LA), there is light pollution.

I have a returning interest based on a camping trip where I ended up at the dark sky site at Cosmic Campground (Alma, NM). I live in NM for 7 months a year. Mostly low light pollution. Several dark sky sites near my home in Ruidoso.

I am returning to astronomy as a hobby from my earlier soiree into my ute. I was in the 7th grade when I bought a copy of HA Rey, The Stars (which I have held onto for all this time.) Being a westerner, an explorer, a hiker, and camper for all these years, I have neglected astronomy. At 80 my other faculties have diminished. But not my eyesight, nor my interest in astronomy.

When in the 7th grade, I saved my paper route $$ and bought a 100X refractor telescope. Wooden legs, mount was wood with holes in it....have no frame of reference about how good the lenses were......but I had enthusiam and patience. Managed over the next couple of years (living in Corpus Christi), to see Mars, Jupiter, the Moon, the Nebula in Orion's sword, and I still recall with enthusiam my first sighting of the rings of Saturn. WOW!

So here am at 80....enthusiastic to get back into amateur astronomy (I can still walk but hiking? not so much). So from this conundrum I need some advice.

I have bought several books on amateur astronomy and they all say don't rush into a telescope. So I have initially dug out my edition of The Stars, and used my eyes and rediscovered a lot of what I knew of the constellations, major stars, the planets and the Orion's Nebula (with binoculars).

I already had some binoculars as for years I have been a birder (kind of an amateur naturalist) acquired during my life of 40 years in NM and camping mainly in NM, CO, AZ and UT. But I have also purchased a set of Celestron 15 x 70 Skymaster binos.

So what am I on here to ask advice about? Several things:

1) What telescope might be useful in both the light pollution of HSV (AL) and the rather low light pollution of the area in which I live in NM?
2) I am inclined toward (initially) a refractor (maybe I am nervous about the collimation involved in a Dobson reflector)
 So a) which refractor would be best for my situation? (understand that I am not initially feverish to get the biggest one, just the one that I can carry, load into my Suburu Outback SUV, set up and learn more about the sky and telescopes from)
 b) Is there a tripod that would work with my Skymaster binos and later with a not huge refractor telescope?

PS probably (or maybe) I will buy a dobsonian Newton of some kind....but that is a later situation.
PPS Cost of above suggested eqpt is not my #1 problem. I am not inclined to rush out and buy a $3k telescope until I have used and gotten used to whichever suggested eqpt above I decide on.
PPPS Is StarWare in print anymore. I saw a lot of interesting information in a used StarWare (P Harrington) book. But I am sure the 1998 copyright would of course be waaaay out of date, both in the advance of telescope technology and in the prices of each telescope.

Any help will be appreciated (This is not necessarily a Christmas gift to myself so speed of response is not the main thing I would like to receive.)

Merry Christmas

Eyepieces Questions & Recommendations / Which EPs to take on Vacation
« on: December 28, 2017, 03:38:04 AM »
I'm about to head out for Christmas & New Years and am taking my scope with me. My family resides in a Red/Grey zone, so I'm limited to brighter objects. For my ST80, I'm thinking my ES68 24, ES82 11, and maybe one of my higher power EPs (ES82 6.7 or 4.7). Thoughts?

Beginners Forum / Tips for finding viewing locations?
« on: December 24, 2017, 03:38:01 AM »

I was hoping I was going to be able to tuck in the darkest corner of my backyard and also count the rings of Saturn from my lawn chair and a hot cup of "whatever you drink" but sadly I think I have too much light pollution.  I was wondering if anyone has some tips for finding or scouting out new seeing places.  I'm looking for some guidance, even if it's clear for you, it might not be to me.

By way of instance, I went out during the afternoon to attempt to scout a location.  From my house the easiest means to escape from the lights is to go into the hills and attempt to get behind a little mountain.  The issue is that it is a very tight and twisting road, with no cell service and that I couldn't find a location where I could turn out and playground.  While I know the purpose of going out there's to escape from civilization, I'm going to be honest, it is a bit scary out there....  I'm a 6'2" 220 lb man but... and feel free to call me a wimp.

Anyhow, do you have any tips or stories that you could talk about?  Do you park on the side of streets without worry?  Do you ever look at going armed?  Maybe you have tried to speak to property owners to find out whether they'd let you park on their property?  What items do you believe are necessary if going out?  I'll take any guidance or concerns you might have.  Thank you!

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