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NGC7000 (the North America Nebula)

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Posts Made By: David Colton

November 1, 2002 12:52 AM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

Inclement Weather

Posted By David Colton

I just had to share my frustration with weather on the east coast. After a severe drought here in Virginia its been great to have some steady rain; we desperately need it. But it would be nice to see some stars. It really gives meaning to the amateur astronomer's saluation "clear skies."

November 5, 2002 01:10 AM Forum: Meade

LX90 Alignment with Autostar

Posted By David Colton

I recently purchased an LX90, but due to bad weather here in the east, I've only had it out three times. Each time I've tried to align it, it doesn't go anywhere near where it should, for example it points west when it should point east.
I think I may have solved the problem this evening. I noticed that the left and right buttons were reversed, so when I went into the menu to change it I came across a menu item called "Telescope Model." Well, sure enough, it was set for an ETX90. When I changed it and tried aligning it again (I was doing this in my garage), it appeared to point in the right direction.
My question is this - when setting the mount up for alignent, the tube must be level and the declination setting circle set at 0 (zero). How about the right ascension setting circle? Other than pointing the tube north, does this need to be set at a particular point?
Also, I'm using a compass to align the scope north. Is this a good thing to do? I understand that there's a difference between geographic north and magnetic north. Which should I use or does it make a difference?

November 16, 2002 03:43 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Vixen alt-az

Posted By David Colton

I recently went to the Vixen site ( and saw where they manufacture four alt-az mounts. Does anyone know a vendor in the U.S. who carries all four models?

November 23, 2002 12:03 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Sol Searcher

Posted By David Colton

Has anyone used Televue's Sol Searcher? If so:
1. What is it made of?
2. Is it durable?
3. How easy is it to align?
4. How easy is it to attach to the telescope?

December 2, 2002 07:39 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Orion Astroview 100mm

Posted By David Colton

I've been toying with the idea of selling my Orion 80mm short-tube and purchasing the Orion Astroview 100mm. I figure a little more aperture and focal length can't hurt. I've been very pleased with the 80mm ST and feel that if the 100mm has the same quality, I won't be disappointed. I'd appreciate any feedback from owners of the 100mm. Thanks.

December 17, 2002 02:26 AM Forum: Meade

Alignment Stars/Objects for Autostar

Posted By David Colton

Because I have a lot of trees in my yard, I can't always use the Easy Alignment or Two Star alignment procedure for my LX90. And the one star alignment method is not very accurate. Assuming that I use the set up procedure of leveling the scope and pointing it North, is there a method for aligning the telescope by selecting stars that are not in the alignment database? In other words, can I just pick a known star or even a planet and "tell" the Autostar what it should be looking at so that it will know its position?

January 10, 2003 12:29 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Financing Astronomy Equipment

Posted By David Colton

Although I recently purchased an LX90 (and I'm very happy with my purchase), I'd still like to have a good 4" APO refractor. The problem is cost as its hard to find one for under $2,000. I wonder if there's anyway the retailers could work out an arrange where it would be possible to obtain 0% financing, in the same manner as the auto manufacturers are now doing. For example, it would be great if a buyer could put down $500 cash and was able to pay the difference over 24 months without having to pay interest (which varies from 8% to 16% on most credit cards).

I'm just putting this out there in hopes that some dealer can see the potential, as I'm sure there are many people who would purchase higher priced equipment (such as CCD's, Corando solar scopes and filters, APO's etc.) if they could pay over time with no or minimal interest. Just a thought/wish.

January 25, 2003 05:17 PM Forum: TeleVue

Gibraltor mount with DSC

Posted By David Colton

I'm thinking of buying a Gibraltor mount as my principal mount for several small telescopes I have. I'd like to get digital setting circles for it and was wondering how easy/difficult it is to retroactively install the encoders for Televue's Skytour DSC. Also, has anyone used another brand of DSC with the Gibraltor, such as the Sky Commander DSC? Thanks.

January 26, 2003 07:31 PM Forum: Film Astrophotography - Imaging and Processing

Stacking vs Layering

Posted By David Colton

Is the term stacking the same as layering when using digital processing software like Photoshop? Any resources as to where to find information about how this is done?

February 4, 2003 12:55 AM Forum: TeleVue

Gibraltor vs. Panoramic Mount

Posted By David Colton

Could someone explain to me what the differences are between these two mounts. I realize that the Gibraltor is heavier, but when I compare the pictures on Televue's website, I can't make out a difference in the tripods and see only a slight difference in the yoke assembly.