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Posts Made By: Fred Lusk

May 10, 2014 02:55 PM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

New to astronomy

Posted By Fred Lusk


I have two main telescopes: a Celeston CPC-800 and a Celestron C5+. I don't do a lot of astrophotography, and what I do is pretty simple. I mostly do star trails and wide-field piggyback imaging with two 35-mm cameras (lenses ranging from fish-eye to 135 mm) and prime focus images of the Sun and Moon with the 35-mm cameras or a DSLR.

Last year I bought an $800 Celestron Advanced VX mount to replace an Orion SkyView Pro that I used with the 5" SCT. The Orion is a nice, sturdy, non-computerized GEM, but the gears are not up to prime focus astrophotography and a non-computerized mount is a pain for public star parties. The Orion was fine for wide-field piggy-back work up to at least a 135-mm lens, but even at 790 mm (5" SCT + 0.63x focal reducer), all my stars looked like little footballs.

My initial trials of the Advanced VX have been very encouraging with respect to prime focus astrophotography. The 5" SCT + focal reducer + Olympus E-5 DSLR (4:3) format produces an angle of view equivalent to 1580 mm with a 35-mm camera. All exposures so far have produced round stars.

The Advanced VX is rated for 30 lbs, but for astrophotography you should derate it some (maybe by 1/3?). In any event, it may be the best GEM in its price range. One really neat feature is its polar alignment routine, which is so much more accurate than a polar axis scope. If you decide to get the Advanced VX, I have one suggestion for you: for critical polar alignments, go through the routine twice. I generally find a small residual polar alignment error after the first run-through.


July 12, 2014 08:54 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Deep Sky

Wide field image of several nebula in Cygnus

Posted By Fred Lusk


Your image is awesome and has incredible detail.


July 12, 2014 08:55 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

Saturn July 3, 2014

Posted By Fred Lusk

Excellent! Thanks for sharing.

July 12, 2014 09:03 PM Forum: Off Topic Discussions

SR 71 Blackbird Air Park/Davies Air Park

Posted By Fred Lusk

There is also an SR-71 and a bunch of other classic planes at the Castle Air Museum in Atwater, CA:

in the late 1990s, I did the civil engineering for the federal prison on the back part of the old Castle AFB and visited the museum several times after doing site visits.

July 16, 2014 05:58 PM Forum: Politics

Comprehensive Reform

Posted By Fred Lusk

Politicians of all stripes should be permanently banned--under penalty of death--from using the phrase "comprehensive reform" and especially from attaching it to legislation as a title. In all cases, each word in the phrase is, by itself, a lie and thus the subsequent phrase is a compound lie.

Also, Harry Reid is wrong about virtually everything (deliberately so, IMHO), and our southern border being "secure" is yet more proof that he is the worst of the worst. In the world of politics, that is quite an accomplishment.

July 28, 2014 10:35 PM Forum: Antique/Classic/Vintage Optical Instruments

what a FIND!

Posted By Fred Lusk

Outstanding find. smile

I have a 1999 vintage white tube C5+. It's an excellent scope and constantly amazes other club members with larger scopes. Besides the excellent optics, two things I appreciate are ZERO image shift while focusing and collimation that stays put year after year. The C5+ was my only scope until I bought a CPC-800 in 2007. The C5+ is now on a Celestron Advanced VX mount, which is also a great mount.

July 28, 2014 10:43 PM Forum: Politics

Worst Sec of State Ever?

Posted By Fred Lusk

Kerry has long practice being wrong in words and deeds, so this doesn't surprise me in the least.

September 15, 2014 07:43 PM Forum: Politics

Hillary Clinton, World-Champion Pretend Griller

Posted By Fred Lusk

Hill and Bill are just scooping up more bull.

October 23, 2014 07:48 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Deep Sky

Comet Jacques C2014 E2and IC 1805 Heart Nebula

Posted By Fred Lusk

That is very beautiful. Even though it isn't very bright, Jacques has been quite nice to look at these past few months.

October 23, 2014 08:04 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

October 23 Partial Eclipse

Posted By Fred Lusk

That is outstanding. We had some thin clouds in Fresno, so getting proper focus on the big sunspot was tricky at times.

Our club--Central Valley Astronomers--had four telescopes set up outside the Downing Planetarium at Fresno State and our astronomy professor and two of his students had three more (Calcium K, Hydrogen Alpha, and white light). I used my 5" SCT to capture images every 12 seconds for a time lapse video and used my 8" SCT for public viewing. We also had a couple scopes at a local shopping center, a couple more at the local junior college, and several others at local high schools where club members teach.

At least 400 people come by our site at Fresno State, including college students, professors, and several elementary school classes (the planetarium did several shows today). My oldest daughter and my three grandkids came by (the youngest is only one, so he didn't get much out of the experience) as well as a friend's daughter and her two kids. I also have a 9-foot-long pinhole projector that I used to entertain young and old alike.

The only uninformed question I got today was from the campus "Social Media Director." She dropped by to get stills and video for the Fresno State website. She asked me if it was the Moon's shadow that was covering the Sun. I told her that the Moon's shadow had fallen on Earth and what we were seeing was a silhouette of the Moon. Even the cameraman from one of the local TV stations knew the right answer. However, she was drop-dead gorgeous…and blonde…and that's probably why she is the Social Media Director and not an astronomy professor. smile

I just home from dinner, so I haven't even looked at my images yet.