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Posts Made By: john raymond

June 28, 2013 03:58 PM Forum: Astro-Physics

Starfire 178 and 152 f/9 at Neaf

Posted By john raymond

Look in August 2013 Sky and Tel, page 64, bottom center photo.

You'd think these two scopes together at the same place and time, set up for outreach, would be newsworthy. At least they're photogenic.

Attached is a pic of the 152 f/9 taken last week at the Science Museum of Virginia. Behind to the right is a TEC 140. Sometimes we have friendly shootouts between the two.


December 31, 2013 09:20 AM Forum: ASTRONOMY

Happy New Year everyone!

Posted By john raymond

2013 was both good and bad for astronomy.
Good - great weather and good times with friends at star parties, Neaf,
and in the driveway. Following Nova Delphinus.
Comet Lovejoy in a 25". Binocular observing so good I'm ready to ditch telescopes.

Bad - The weather all year. The economy. The loss of civility in Internet forums and in public.

Looking forward to 2014 and completing more observing programs.

January 14, 2014 02:20 PM Forum: Astro Binoculars

Solar observing with binoculars

Posted By john raymond


First, please use extreme caution when observing the sun!

I was finally able to complete two solar filters for my binos using Baader solar film. Back on November 3rd I was able to monoview the solar eclipse using a filter from my old telescope. Two eyes are better than one, so I knew I had to make filters for both objectives.

I started with the round paper boxes found in craft stores. They served well in the past. I found ones that fit over the objective, but didn't fit the tube. Lets start again.

The bino objective covers screw on with 95mm threads same as camera filters. Why not use this feature to my advantage? I tried 95mm filter rings, but they didn't grip the thin film. I ended up adding 95-105mm step up rings and used 105mm filter rings to hold the film, sandwiched between two washers made of cardstock.

Cutting a clean circle into the paper was tricky. I wanted to use the full 82mm of aperture, but make the washers wide enough to hold the film securely. The central aperture of the paper is a little eccentric, but still allows full aperture.

The final assembly is secure and compact. Wind and curious hands wont pull the filters off.

I tested them yesterday. The big active region with giant sunspot was visible on the western limb. There were about a dozen other spots of various sizes. The detail was amazing. Penumbra detail , faculae along the limb, and granulation all over the surface. Not bad for a small aperture.

I'm tempted to give up my telescopes and just use the binos.


June 14, 2014 09:11 AM Forum: Star Parties

East Coast Star Party

Posted By john raymond

I had a good time at the East Coast Star Party May 31st. Nice folks, good food, and great observing. The evening was clear until 11pm. Clouds arrived allowing sucker-hole viewing for a couple of hours. After 1AM the skies cleared again with excellent transparency. No dew, few mosquitoes. I stayed up to 4AM.

Observed: Mars, Saturn, Gamma Leonis, 70 Oph, Porrima, M17, M16, M11, Campbell's Hydrogen Star, Minkowski's Footprint, M71, Theta Sge and lots of other summer showpieces. Lots of visitors and neophyte astronomers, and local college physics students.

Big scopes: 25", 20" x2, 18" x2, 14" dobs, Tak Mewlon 300, Tak FS152, 12.5" f/6 binoviewer ready dob.

I'll miss the fall ECSP as it's the same week as Staunton River.

July 1, 2014 06:59 AM Forum: Solar System Observing

Sun w/ old Daystar filter, 1920's Mogey refractor

Posted By john raymond

This iPhone pic lost a lot of fine detail, but it's all I got.
Observing the sun on June 22 at Ragland Observatory, Richmond VA.
7" f/15 Mogey refractor, 20+ year old Daystar filter, 40mm eyepie with 2x barlow.
The sun was alive with unbelievable surface and prominence detail. Even the relatively inactive areas were worthy of attention.
Not my setup, I just happened to be there.

July 10, 2014 06:20 AM Forum: Solar System Observing

Moon and Mars, July 5th

Posted By john raymond

iPhone, afocal , 32x 82 binocular

Saturday evening was the conjunction of the moon and Mars. This photo was taken around 10 pm. By 11:30, the moon had clearly moved to the lower left of Mars.

September 9, 2014 06:47 AM Forum: Star Parties

Imaging Workshop in Virginia

Posted By john raymond

Imaging Workshop at Staunton River Star Party:

January 25, 2015 11:35 AM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

Colors in M42/ 18" dob

Posted By john raymond

I took some time to observe M42 last night with my Teeter 18" f/3.5 dob, using 90x. The transparency was excellent between 8-9 pm, the seeing was horrible. Nothing unusual this time of year.

Trapezium "E" star : definite orange color.
Trapezium "B" compared to the other bright three, appears a brownish "Apple juice" color. I don't know if this is entirely contrast effect with the other stars or the greenish nebula. This is the faintest of the ABCD Trap stars, so the apparent color may be related to the magnitude. I see this color every time I view M42 with larger apertures. Smaller scopes show all the stars as white.
The nebula shows a variety of gray, green, pink, and red. The colors aren't obvious at first. The nebula immediately north of Theta-2 was distinctly reddish

April 13, 2015 07:10 AM Forum: Astro-Physics

5" f/12 and Traveller meet at outreach event

Posted By john raymond

Saturday evening at Great Meadow Park in Faquier County, Virginia. I had my 5" f/12 set up, the guy next to me had a black Traveler. (Just above the yellow case)

The Traveller gave up nothing to the larger scope on Jupiter; both scope had been sitting in hot cars, each had a two hour ride. The temps dropped quickly from 70's to 40's after sunset. The rapid cooling of the 4" was evident. Jupiter showed way more detail than I expected from a 4" scope.

I did a comparison of low power eyepices in the 5". A Takahashi 50mm LE (50* AFOV) vs a Celestron 34mm Axiom (70* AFOV). The true field was almost identical. The larger exit pupil of the 50 showed my eye's astigmatism, but not objectionable. The 34 had some slight edge aberration. So it was a tie. Orion's sword fit comfortably in the FOV.

The owner of the Traveller lent me an original Televue 55mm Plossl, which performed just as well, to further complicate things.

We were both pleased to show lots Jupiter, M42, and several other things to the public. It was a good turnout.

Later I got serious and used the 21 Ethos. This eyepice seems perfectly suited to the 5". Everything is crisp and sharp and jumps out at the viewer. I showed people NGC 2264, the Chrstmas Tree cluster, NGC 2261 Hind's Variable Nebula, the Tau Canis Cluster, M44, M35, NGC 2392, then back to Jupiter for the shadow transit.
In all it was an enjoyable night, and a pleasure to meet a fellow AP owner.

May 10, 2015 12:37 PM Forum: Telescope Making

Where can I get an OTA for 9" lens???

Posted By john raymond

I'm interested in a large, short refractor like the IStar 9" f/7.7
They only offer lens, not the complete telescope. Any ideas on where to get a tube made?
I've already had one refusal from a machinist who is VERY qualified to make it. Didn't even get to talk price. I don't have a shop, tools, or skills to make anything. I just want a large refractor that's easy to mount, for low power observing, and under $5500.