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Topics - Zachary Patterson

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Hi I have an obsession 12.5 which I love. Retirement is beckoning and I am thinking of upscaling to a 16 inch new moon telescopw. Would the financial outlay be worth the gain in aperture? If I went ahead, the 12.5 would be my travel scope. I would want the 16 inch to be sited at home in Dunedin (NZ). Any opinions would bw welcome. Regards Larry.

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Just like the topic says. I am not sure how these work. And because I am not sure how these work, I don't know if it is possible to get a universal focal reducer for a telescope with a 2" focusser. Can someone help?

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Reflectors Telescopes Forum / Tree Dodging Telescope
« on: December 30, 2017, 02:56:18 AM »
Picked up this 6" f8 Dob on Craig's List a few months ago for $150 to use for tree dodging. It's just large enough to give good views of all the major classes of celestial objects from my green zone observing site, but it's portable enough for serious tree dodging.

Weighing less than 35 pounds including the mount, finder, and eyepiece, it's easily carried into the yard through a 32" door as one unit, and it's easily moved around the yard as one unit. The two large aluminum handles were added to the base to make it easier to carry than the stock scope.

I have a larger scope that gives better views and a smaller scope that is more portable, but so far this one seems to offer the best tradeoff that I have tried for my use on this site. The stock focuser is the weak link. After cleaning and adjustment to eliminate focus shift, it's stiff, but serviceable. I haven't decided whether to live with the focuser or replace it with something better.Attached Thumbnails

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Beginners Forum / Benefits of an Equatorial Mount for visual observing
« on: December 29, 2017, 02:14:40 AM »
People often talk about the need for an equatorial mount in the context of astrophotography. For visual observing, are there many benefits of moving away from my goto alt-az mount to a goto equatorial mount?  Thanks for your assistance.

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General Astronomy & Observing / Not a rant, more a plea...
« on: December 28, 2017, 08:56:37 PM »
Again the other night had two young adults here that had never looked through a telescope, they can't say that any more! Our moon, M13, and Jupiter where observed at various magnifications. Most fun (for me at least) was starting M13 in the XX14g at lowest power (N31T5) and slowly going up (or down?) using the Morpheus 4.5 and Pentax 3.5. this done about 2 miles as crow flies from our downtown, sure LP-O-plenty. I am happy to say they were successfully 'damaged', a termI use in a humorous sense.

It was interesting talking about how they live by their little smart phones and all that comes to them through these little devices.

I would like every experienced poster to please pay special attention to what I am going to say next as I absolutely do not want to start anything controversial but I can absolutely see that it might happen.

In conversation and absolutely not remotely the first time it has come up in this showing young adults the sky.

"I read you can't do this from a light polluted city, you need to get out of the city to a dark site."

"Obviously that is not the case" my always reply. But how do they know this if the often repeated maxim that the best thing you can have for observing is a car and a tank of gas and time? When I was a teen, especially before i was 18, this was IMPOSSIBLE ! How can we wonder why there is little interest in the 'younger crowd' when they are being told that best observing is done from the dark sites. I am absolutely not taking exception to the validity of that statement for some objects.

This young generation obsessed with their information conduits and their search engines, tap... tap... I read somewhere a tag for this generation that is being coerced to get everything from their smart phone or whatever "the glow generation", after the screen glow.

My plea is that if we want to get young people into the hobby, and they not unlike any of us when we were under 18, do not have open access to vehicles, insurance, gas, time, etc. to get to a dark site. They have their back yard, just as I did. And lucky if they have a telescope of any kind.

Fortunately nobody told me way back then that I couldn't enjoy the hobby until I had a car, drivers license and knowledge of where the dark skies were relatively local to me. Get my parents to take me? Not going to happen. So I learned to enjoy the hobby from my back yard in suburban west Seattle (Arbor Heights) it was called back then.

Please don't think this is taking issue with any poster here, and again I am NOT disputing the validity of the 'gasoline filter' statement. I am thinking about younger people that may be on the cusp of interest in our hobby being put off by it. It does not take much to dissuade someone from starting, and saying what cannot be done is usually a good way. How about emphasize what can be done?

I outreach all I can to younger folks, children of friends, whoever will or can take the time to come over on a clear night. A huge percentage of these young people and even many adults have said, wow, I read you need to be someplace dark to do this. Where did they read it? Wellll, ummm, a brief use of the Goog or the Bing - CN almost always features prominently in top ten results...

Please think about this? The younger generations (than me) are bombarded by information from the web as indexed and sorted and tagged by the web search engines and no telling what they will encounter.

I am extremely serious about cultivating and encouraging the youngest generation into the hobby. My tiny outreach I've actually given away 3 telescopes and about to hand down my FS128 as soon as I get another... soI have both time and money invested in it. This isn't club style with a bunch of people and scopes, it's me and whatever I have set up and a very small captive audience.

There are other web wisdom things related to the hobby that are also off putting but this 'dark sky' thing is nearly always the chief obstacle or 'googpinion' I hear parroted as fact as it is coming from us.

I'd like to end my plea with a little humor. I remember the first time I had a telescope and a car and gas and time and inclination. This was after six years active duty in the back when... no longer a teen but young adult. Setting up my scope after driving for a while and seeing the milky way clearly... I was very hard put to use the bright stars that penetrate the city canopy! Hilarious and thankfully had an atlas or two with me to help... smart phones and laptops were quite new and not in my economic range.

Please, my intention not to offend anyone, and my sincere apology if any of this does that even remotely.

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ATM, Optics and DIY Forum / Howie Glatter alternative
« on: December 28, 2017, 10:08:45 AM »
I like a laser collimator on my Newton, but found it always a bit difficult to use with a Barlow. The Barlow really brings back the shadow of your main mirror center mark, making collimation a simple thing to do, but also induces some outlining problems, clearly noticeable when the focuser was turned inwards or outwards. I already own a better quality Baader Steeltrack focusser and wasn’t keen on buying a better quality Barlow, as I normally don’t use it. Visual I mostly use a coma corrector and a nice close range of Hyperions (3.5 - 5 - 8 - 13 - 17 and 24 mm) and a Maxvision eyepiece for longer focal distances.
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The coma corrector will provide a shadow of the main mirror too, but I was charmed by the way Howy Glatter diverges and even interferences the laser beam to make concentric rings to improve collimation. But I started thinking of another approach and would like to make a laser collimator with the same quality. I own a small Lathe to make it, but of course also have a Cheshire collimator to test it.
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Robert.

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Maybe their time has passed ( much like a sextant or a slide rule) but they are timeless and many still want to look at them and possibly even utilize them.  In case you've got a bracket with old design mechanical (analog?)  Setting cirlces, place a picture and let us know if you use them.

Pictured are just two Unitron mounts, the #128 using all the black RA circle and the #142 using all the silver circles.  (Nickel plated brass).  I used the setting circles seldom, not really needed for the Moon and planets.

Barry Simon

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