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Posts Made By: john raymond

April 24, 2006 02:16 PM Forum: Eyepieces

Paul Rini Ep's, review and photo

Posted By john raymond

Paul Rini Eyepieces

This post is my opinion only, and is of no scientific value or factual content.

Paul Rini is known for making the inexpensive eyepieces that are optically and mechanically competent. They are assembled from surplus lenses.

I don’t know when Paul Rini started making ep's, or what he is doing now. I remember seeing his ads in the magazines in the late 90's. In 2001 I bought 3 ep's from an east coast dealer. From hearsay it’s probable that this dealer bought Paul’s entire inventory. At the 2004 Delmarva star party I saw the "new" Rini ep's, sold by a rep from Ganymede optics. In early 2005 Paul was an Astromart sponsor. He also had a nice website: "proptics" I believe. It was from his Astromart ad that I purchased some more ep's.

The ep’s come in several varieties: old, new, 1.25”, 2”, and reticle. The old style lacks any signs of mass production. There are numbers hand engraved on the barrels. The 100mm bears the inscription “31644”. The barrels are scuffed and scratched. The lenses have dust, metal bits and the rare, tiny, air bubble. Coatings are minimal and reflections bright. The glass imperfections and dirt are unnoticeable in field use. Some components are held together with adhesive. The bottoms of the 2” barrels are Hoya filter rings. The 100mm has this ring: “Hoya 48mm 85B Japan” Ed Ting reviews some of these, see below for website.

The “new” versions are black anodized aluminum(?) with nice lettering stamped on the barrel. They are in two pieces that unscrew easily. Don’t lose the lenses! The newer versions all exhibit some degree of chromatic aberration not seen in mass-produced ep’s.

Old style:
The 100mm MPL (modified Plossl?): fov 28deg*. In a 12.5” f/5 dob the secondary mirror is always seen. I viewed the Beehive and Jupiter in the same field in 2003. The targets must be moved halfway from center to be seen. A 3” extender is required to reach focus. Very light weight. Narrow fov and large exit pupil annoying.

The 75mm: fov 36 deg*. Same performance as the 100mm. There are no advantages to using the 100 or 75mm over the 62mm. These ep’s stay in storage.

The 62mm RKE: fov 44 deg*. This is the gem of the Rini ep’s. Very lightweight, low power viewing on the cheap. Pleasing images. Very useful as a “finding” ep. No extender needed to reach focus. Disadvantages: very long eye relief, easy to “blackout”

The 45mm MPL: fov 52deg*. This is where Rini ep’s make their mark. Low power, 2” glass, and relatively flat field, no major distortions. I keep this lightweight ep in the case with the 80mm refractor as a finder ep. New price in 1998: $40.

New style:
32mm MPL reticle, 2” barrel fov 56deg**, 14mm eye relief. This oversize ep features the newer style optical and mechanical improvements. The glass is free of debris and imperfections. The barrel is anodized black aluminum, smooth and attractive. Machine stamped “Rini 32mm” The removable reticle is crosshair style with some tick marks and “R L” on either side. The reticle can be sharply focused by unscrewing the eyelens assembly. Focus is set with a nylon setscrew. A very nice ep for aligning the finderscope. Much sharper than the 26mm below.

25mm reticle. A nice lightweight 1.25" ep. I use this one for aligning finderscopes. Similar to the 32mm but smaller. This is the only Rini ep stamped with white letters.

26 and 10mm, 2” barrel MPL. These oversize ep's are nicely machined but optically inferior. The 26 have a large 60 deg fov** but exhibits much edge distortion even in the f/15 scope. The 10mm has only a 45 deg fov** and is optically inferior to any generic 10mm Plossl. They DO make great starparty or public ep’s. No pain felt at $20 each. The chromatic aberration makes the 10mm almost unusable for personal observing.

Of these ep’s I use the 25 reticle and 45MPL the most. The 62 RKE and 32 reticle see some use also. The others are kept as curiosities. Why do I even use them when I have Panoptic and Nagler? They're fun!

Ed Ting review

*Old syle specs
Sky and Telescope Magazine, July 1998, page 131. Advertisement by Paul Rini

**New style specs

May 7, 2006 08:00 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

AT 66 f/6 refractor

Posted By john raymond

I recieved mine Thursday and was able to use for public viewing on Astronomy day. Its a very nice optical tube with alum case, fine focus, rotating focuser, and sct-style removable back. Its made in Taiwan and appears to be a clone of William Optics scopes.

Why did I get it? It was shiny! I saw that chrome finish and thought "Thats Me!" The price was right too.

Performance: much better than I expected. Views are crisp and sharp day or night. I used 40mm Kellner, 26mm Plossl, 12 and 7mm Nagler. All reached focus easily.

Targets were Moon, Saturn, and Jupiter. No false color seen on the lunar limb. Much better than my 80mm "semi-apo", which is a very nice scope. Planets seen sharply defined with detail, but very small in size. My max magnification used was only 56x.

The supplied case is attractive and sturdy. There are cut outs for a 1.25" ep, 2" ep, and diagonal.

The only downsides are small aperture and fingerprints easily seen on the chrome finish. I dont consider this a primary planetary or deep sky scope, but an excellent backup for grab and go observing.

5 years ago I would have scoffed at a scope this size, but I know better now. The level of quality is way to high for the price, or is this an indication of things to come ?

JOhn R

July 20, 2006 05:54 PM Forum: Eyepieces

How to remove smoke odor from EP?

Posted By john raymond

How do you remove cigarette smoke odor from a used ep?

I tried alcohol but some residual odor remains.

This is a ep destined for child-friendly, public observing nights, and completes a hard-to-find bino pair.

John cwy

August 3, 2006 10:09 PM Forum: Eyepieces

35 Panoptic -still going strong. A fun post

Posted By john raymond

This post is my opinions, no facts for the experts to correct.

The 35 Panoptic is my first 2" eyepiece. It came my way late 2001 via the local classifieds. A fellow "lost interest" in astronomy, but thats another story. My gain.

35 Panoptic "Rap"

The first time I held it, Big fat grenade/
A work of art, Uncle Al gettin' paid/
Luxury green, violet lens coat /
Televue cap, eyepiece dope/
Sharp green lettering, between the double stripe /
Thick rubber grip, hold on tight/
Behemoth, Honker, Big Mama Jama /
Replace it soon? , I dont wanna! 8)

It was a few days later that I first used it. The intervening nights I would come home, take it out the box, peer thru the giant eyelens, project the image of the ceiling light on my hand, and other juvenile rituals of eyepiece infatuation. I was so young then.

That weekend I put it in the 7" F/15 and pointed at Jupiter. WOW! There it was, floating with 3 moons, stripes and all, in front of stars. A real 3-d effect. Jupiter was in Gemini at the time, so the background full of stars. This ep and scope gives 76x, enough mag to see sharp planetary detail.

When did this ep debut? 1992 I believe. Its been around 14 years, unchanged. No panoptic type 2. No 36 to replace the 35. There's the 41 pan, there's the 31 Nagler, but those are just too darn big.(for me) These latter two, while fine and high quality ep's, are like the the "11" setting from "Spinal Tap"

Let me address the detractors out there. I have read posts where some of you find fault with the 35 Pan. Some say it has pincusion distortion. WELL I happen to enjoy this effect, especially in my 12.5" f/5 dob. Some of you will say there is no advantage to using this ep in a 7" f/15, as less expensive ep's will do the job just as well(in this scope.) Yes you are right, and Im wrong. Now let me continue.

I use this ep in 3 scopes. Its the first ep in. When I replace with higher power, its a great star chart weight. Its got nicks and abrasions and dust. Its been dropped in grass. Its has gouged numerous pits in the earth. The chrome barrel is scored with a ring of overlapping set screw marks. This ep has worked the public at many Sky watch events. Its been eyelashed and fingerprinted. Still works fine after five years.

My best views ever with it: the Veil and North American Nebulae with an OIII filter in the 12.5" dob. No, not in the same field.

If you are not familiar with this ep, or are new and just have the plossl ep that came with you first scope, dont run out and buy a humongous super wide field expensive ep just because I like it. A good set of plossls are perfectly acceptable for a lifetime of observing, and will work well in any scope if they are decent quality. But if you can afford it, a Panoptic is nice to have. Dont be like me and spend half you bank account on a used 35 Panoptic. (I missed my car payment that month)

Clear Skies,
John R

August 6, 2006 02:25 PM Forum: Eyepieces

A fun post to test the experts (cheer up Floyd!)

Posted By john raymond

Below is a photo of three ep's of focal lengths 6,7,8 mm.

Left to right, which one is which?

Answer posted tomorrow evening.

John R

August 19, 2006 12:02 PM Forum: After Dark

New website for astronomers under 40

Posted By john raymond

Dont know exactly where to post this, I hope its not too off-topic

Gen X Astronomy

This is the website for astronomers of Generation X. We dont sell anything, and its not much of a site, its just a forum right now. Its a place for people my age and interests to speak up, express opinions, and be counted. I concieved Gen-X astronomy last year, and got fellow Gen-Xer Jim to bring the website to life. I invite you to join Gen-X astronomy, drop in occasionally and voice your opinion among your peers.

You are Gen X-if you

Were young when you saw Star Wars for the first time
Feel a little out of place among the old heads in your astronomy club
Are currently a fan of the new Battlestar Galactica, but remember the original with nostalgic fondness

Im Gen-X. Im 35, amateur astronomer, science fiction fan. I know there are many others like me.
I remember the 80's very well. My growing up years. These were the best years before the breakup of Journey, the Police, and Van Halen. In 1997 I played 'Licensed to Ill' until the cassette wore out. Television was only 4 channels, with shows like "A-Team" "Knight Rider" "Buck Rogers" "Battlestar Galactica" "Airwolf"

Three themes of Gen X Astronomy
1. Astronomy
2. The 80's
3. Science Fiction

What Gen X Astronomy discussions are not about:

1. Grandchildren
2. Little blue or green pills
3. Retirement planning

Get the picture?

Clear skies,

October 31, 2006 07:01 PM Forum: Refractors

Antares long refractors??? f=1500mm

Posted By john raymond

Any firsthand info on these long scopes?
The 105mm aperture, fl 1000/ 1300/ 1500mm?
Optics quality? mechanical quality? Mounting?

I have never seen one at a star party.

See page 125 of the December 2006 Sky and Telescope


January 17, 2007 10:47 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Intes MN 65 Mak-Newt (long post)

Posted By john raymond

[COLOR="Red"]Correction: this scope is the MN 65 [/COLOR]

I have spent years looking at the ITE website with its exotic Russian
Mak-Cass and Mak-Newt scopes.

I have never seen one in person and dont know anyone who owns one. I
decided to try it. The MN65 is a Maksutov-Newtonian, basically a
Newtonian with a corrector plate that holds the secondary.

I ordered a the MN65 on a Monday and it arrived on a Wed. (!!!)
The scope comes with a nice black nylon padded carry case with some
room for accessories. Grade: A

Everything on the scope is metal, even the focuser plug. There are two
finder brackets on either side of the focuser. A small camera mount
fits into either finder base. The rear of the scope has a removable
plate to allow air circulation. The primary mirror is center marked.
The scope rings/cradle is thin and flat, with felt inside. One large
center knob tightens the rings. Inside tube is well baffled. Grade: A

The Crayford focuser has an inside diameter of 2-3/16 inches or 55mm.
Inside this is a removeable 2" drawtube that holds a 1.25" drawtube.
The focuser barrel never intrudes on the light path. The two drawtubes
are clumsy and aggravating to extend to the proper length, especially
when non-parfocal oculars are used. On the plus side all the adapters
are compression-ring, not set-screw. The in-out motion is smooth. This
is the least user-friendly focuser I've ever seen. (Im used to the JMI DX crayford). Grade: D minus

The finder scope contains the only plastic parts, the eyepiece cap and
the tips of the holding screws.(A nice touch) Its a 50mm straight-thru
finder with etched crosshairs. Optically its very sharp, but the
crosshairs are invisible at night. The body is thick metal, also the
objective cap. The eyepiece rotates to focus. The entire thing is heavy
like a 4-D cell Maglite. Mechanically and optically sound but poor
functionality. Grade: C

Field test. Wed night was the first good clear night in two weeks. Very
cold and dry. Transparent but turbulent skies. The Zodiacal light was
brighter than the Milky Way and extended almost to the meridian. I
allowed the scope to cool for 30 minutes before using. Eyepieces: TV Plossls and various orthoscopics.

Optically the views are stunning. STUNNING! With a 32mm plossl ep the
entire Orions's sword was visible. With a 20mm plossl 4 trapezium stars
were seen. Detail was visible in the nebulosity, the stars focused to
nice round points against a black background. There is still some coma
or field curvature seen at the very edges for the fov, but you have to
look for it (18mm Ortho). Very minimal, say the outer 3% of the fov.
With a 6mm Orthoscopic, concentric rings were seen inside and outside
of focus. Im no optical expert but the star test looked good. Sirius at
150x was a blur(poor seeing + low altitude), but notably absent were spikes from spider vanes as
seen in a regular Newtonian. No false color noted on any bright stars.
Many faint field stars were seen. Back in Orion, NGC 2024 was spotted
next to Zeta Ori, with that luminary in the field. The last target was
M35. With a 20mm plossl it appeared as a bright sprinkling of stars,
one notably orange. Smaller and fainter NGC 2158 was easily seen and
distinct next to M35. Optical Grade: A++

My observing was very limited due to the cold. I was sweating under my
winter clothes, but my ep's sat in the cold car all day. The moisture from
my breath frose instantly on the eyelens of each ocular. Temperature
was in the low 20's.

Overall Impression: I have very mixed feelings about this scope. Its
wonderfull to look thru, but the focuser is a pain. When moving the
scope the eyepiece always seemed to be at an inconvenient location, due
to the equatorial mounting. This made the finder awkward to use also.
With an equatorially mounted refractor, its simple to rotate the
diagonal for eyepiece adjustment. This scope is optimal for imaging due
to its wide field, large focuser and mirror placement. Im a visual
observer only, these features dont help me much. Im not used to
fumbling with the focuser drawtube when changing ep's. I also dont like the corrector plate so exposed. I find myself almost grabbing the front lip of the scope like my old dob.

I'll give this scope a few more nights before I decide if the optics
outweigh the awkward functionality. You may see this scope in the classifieds soon. Im terribly used to alt-az scopes. This is my first non-refractor on an Eq mount.

Clear Skies,
John R

April 30, 2007 09:54 PM Forum: Eyepieces

Televue eyepieces at NEAF

Posted By john raymond

Im a first timer at NEAF so some of this is old news to the NEAF veterans.

I met with some setbacks on the way to NEAF and arrived later than planned. Walk in and there are about 50 people in the Televue line. My plan was to get in early and get the good stuff.

There were lots of eyepieces for sale. Every Plossl except the 15 and 11 which I wanted. The 35 Panoptic sold out while I was waiting. Naglers and bandmate filters sold at clearance prices. Luckily for me the 3x barlow was still available. I also got a 7.4 plossl, the only one for sale at NEAF. No "blems" visible on either except the little dot punched on the barrel.

On the floor behind the counter were boxes and boxes of eyepieces. That got me wondering.

Why are there so many NEAF eyepieces? IS the QC that strict or is there a factory problem?

Why are there gobs of certain ep's and none of others? Did the 11 and 15 plossls sell out before I arrived?

What Astromarter got a good deal on a filter and Powermate for his 15" dob?

Will some NEAF ep's appear in other classified/auction sites for sale at normal prices?

Will different size Ethos ep's appear and slowly replace the Naglers? What ep's is it parfocal with?

I didnt even look at the new ep and didnt care. The 17 Nagler only came out once this year to look at NGC 4244 and 4236 and then it was back in the box.

Clear skies,
"the fossil with the plossl"

August 6, 2007 03:44 PM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

Obs of PNG 064.7+05.0 and M 1-92

Posted By john raymond

Observation of PN G064.7+05.0 from a suburban yard.

Jupiter was the primary target for tonight's session but the seeing was very poor. The quadruple Nu Sco was dissapointing and Antares B was not seen at all. All of these are over my neighbor's house with roof radiating heat at night.

Much higher in the sky Zeta Boo was split with 616x (13mm + 3x barlow) but seen as a double only 20% of the time (2 of 10 seconds)

Cygnus was near the zenith and I consider it shameful to have a scope set up and not view Albireo. Its lovely in any scope.

North of Albireo are 9 and Phi Cyg, celestial landmarks to PN G064.7+05.0, aka Campbell's Hydrogen Star. Magnitude: 9.60, Size: 7.5"
Sky-charting software is reccomended for finding this one due to its stellar appearance at low power. Its just over one degree due N of 9 Cyg, the southernmost of 3 10th-mag stars in a bent row.
Its easily visible as a star at 83x and 127x, but 205x was needed to see that this is "not a star" At this power it appeared as a tiny grey ball that did not resolve into a pinpoint star at moments of good seeing. The 10 mag star 3' to the NE provides a good comparison. From reading various sources this object is classified as a PN but emits mostly red hydrogen-beta light instead of green oxygen-3 light.

Minkowski's Footprint Nebula, M 1-92
Located halfway between 9 Cyg and 7th mag HD 185332, about 20' east of 9.
Easily seen as stellar at 83x. Higher powers show as elongated nebula. Surprisingly easy to see. In fov are a N-S pair of 10 mag stars, 2' apart. The nebula is just east of the southern star, the neb is fainter. This is also a strange nebula thats not exactly a PN.

Further north in Cygnus is the carbon star TT Cygni. It lies 2.5 degrees north of Phi. Very nice at 83x.


Using the Pickering scale from
Id rate the seeing as 1-2 at Jupiter's altitude and 3-4 at Zeta Boo's. At the zenith it was 5-6. The night was hot and humid with the occasional breeze.
Transparency was poor also with 4th mag stars seen near the zenith with averted vision only.
Scope Dia 178mm, f=2670mm. Eyepieces: Plossls 32mm (83x) 21mm (127x) 13mm (205x). August 3, 2007 2200- 2400 EDT