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Posts Made By: David Colton

July 18, 2003 01:31 PM Forum: TeleVue

TV102 - First Light

Posted By David Colton

I was finally able to use my TV102 this morning to look at Mars and the Moon. This was the Televue’s first use and my first time observing in many months, due primarily to poor weather conditions here in the east. I was out by 5:15 a.m. and was able to obtain a great view from across the street on my neighbor’s front yard. My house is surrounded by large (75+ foot) trees, but the Moon and Mars were nicely framed between them directly over my house.

Mars was first up, using my set of Meade 4000 Super Plossl eyepieces. I readily found it using the 26mm (I haven’t gotten a finder yet) and then I quickly switched to the 6.4mm, my highest power ocular. Mars appeared as small rusty globe with some darker (olive drab?) splotches. I couldn’t make out the polar cap at first, but when I switched to an Orion 7.5mm Plossl it was apparent.

So far, everything I’ve read about this scope (and believe me, I’ve probably read everything that’s been written as part of my research before buying it) is true. Contrast is great. When I slid over to view the Moon, it was primarily black and whites, with terrific contrast and definition. This scope was made for lunar observing. And there was absolutely, positively no false color/fringing around the moon. My ETX90 RA, which I sold to help finance this scope, had difficulty taking power. Above 75x, things began to get mushy. Not so with the TV102, which easily took the 138x the 6.4mm produces. If anything, I desperately need a Barlow lens to take advantage of this scope’s optics.

On the down side, the Gibraltor mount is not the most steady platform for high power observing (a criticism I had read about before purchasing it). Each time I adjusted the focus or nudged the scope, Mars would rock back and forth like a pendulum. I prefer Alt-az mounts for portability. The Gibraltor is not that light, but its also not as heavy as a GEM. So, I’m not displeased with it and in all fairness this was my first use, so I probably need to get more familiar with it.

All in all, a great scope, great morning, and great way to start the day.

July 22, 2003 12:10 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Crayford focuser for SCT

Posted By David Colton

Could someone explain how a Crayford focuser for a SCT works? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Is it worth the expense, i.e., does it significantly improve fine focus?


August 1, 2003 01:03 AM Forum: Eyepieces

Experience with Orion Epic ED-2?

Posted By David Colton

I'm thinking about getting an eyepiece with a short focal length for my refractor later this year. It would have to be economical (under $75) and I noticed that Orion offers their Epic ED-2 eyepiece in a 5.1mm and 3.7mm. It also appears that they have a fairly wide lens. Does anyone have experience with this series of eyepieces, particularly the ones with a shorter focal length?

August 13, 2003 11:55 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Wanted: Clear Skies

Posted By David Colton

Since there isn't an appropriate section in the classified section of Astromart, I thought I'd post my ad here.

Wanted: Clear Skies. Amateur astronomer living in mid-Atlantic states (Virginia's Shenandoah Valley) is desperate for decent weather. Has not seen a star for nearly a month and didn't even realize that there was a full moon until he checked the astro-calendar in S&T. Solar observing is out of the question due to heavy cloud cover and nearly constant precipitation (if I remember right, its big, round, and kinda yellowish). This demoralized observer is the proud owner of a new TV 102, which has only been used twice since it was purchased due to the adverse (crappy) weather conditions. I want to try my new barlow. Please help this poor individual. Will consider selling soul (but not eyepieces) for a few decent nights of viewing.

August 21, 2003 11:27 PM Forum: TeleVue

TV102, Mars, and Gibraltor Mount

Posted By David Colton

We had the first half-way decent weather in the Shenandoah Valley this morning, although there was a lot of dew and haze coming off of the Blue Ridge Mts. I was up at 2:15 am to take advantage of the clearing conditions and was able to use my new Orion 2x barlow with the TV102 and Meade Plossl eyepieces. Although it wasn't the best of seeing conditions, Mars snapped into focus easily. What a view.

I knew from reading reviews of the Gibraltor mount that its not the most steady at high powers. Its a very smooth mount and I'm learning how to adjust it so it doesn't wiggle that much. However, I have to take exception to a statement made by Al Nagler on the FAQ section of the Televue website. Al notes that slow motion gears aren't necessary due to the smoothness of the mount. I totally disagree and think that the Gibraltor begs for (manual) slow motion control.

First of all, its difficult to adjust the mount so that nudging it doesn't move it too far in either direction. And at high powers a light nudging of the mount sets up significant vibrations, which fortunately damper down quickly.

So, if Televue is really customer oriented I strongly recommend that the reconsider and develop slow motion controls for the Gibraltor. If not, perhaps an after-market company could come to the rescue. I like an alt-az for portability, so I'd be willing to shell out a little extra for slow motion control. Whatya say Al?

August 22, 2003 04:45 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

Sony Digital Camera

Posted By David Colton

Sony has introduced a new camera, available this fall that may prove to be very adaptable to astrophotography. The Sony F828 is an 8 megapixel camera that will retail for about $1200. It’s not very pretty as half of the camera is a large lens. Here are some of its features:

* 8 megapixel, 4 color CCD for enhanced resolution and color accuracy. Instead of just RGB, it is RGB+E for another level of color saturation.
* Fast startup with very little time lag between pressing the shutter button and taking the picture.
* 7x optical zoom
* 640x480 VGA video. With a 1GB memory card it will hold up to 13 minutes of video.
* Enhanced noise reduction for long exposures and shutter speeds up to 30 seconds.
* Multi-burst mode will take up to 16 images at a time.
* Records in uncompressed TIFF and raw formats as well as in JPEG.
* Night-shot and Night-framing which work as an image intensifier to allow better focusing of images in low light situations.

For more details check

August 27, 2003 01:27 AM Forum: TeleVue

Solar Filter for TV 102

Posted By David Colton

The only accessory I feel I really want/need (for now) is a solar filter. I had an Orion glass solar filter for my ETX90 (sold both) that I really liked, so I want to stay with a glass filter. (I know some people prefer the 'fabric' filters, but I prefer the feel of a glass filter.)

Does anyone know if the Orion 4.5" glass filter fits the TV102? The diameter of the TV's dew shield is 4.75", but in some cases the size given is in reference to the objective lens.

If the Orion doesn't fit, are there any preferences regarding the Thousand Oaks Type 2 Plus versus the JMB Type A?

September 5, 2003 06:57 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Crayford Focuser for an SCT

Posted By David Colton

I am thinking about buying a Crayford focuser for my LX90.

My first question is whether a motorized fine focuser would be worth the additional cost. As I don’t want to invest a lot of money in accessories for the scope, is there a significant advantage to a motorized unit over a manual focuser?

Second, I’ve identified the following Crayford focusers and would like some feedback about each one. Thanks.

Apogee 2” ($130)
Williams Optics Crayford Focuser for SCT ($150)
Meade motorized microfocuser ($250)
JMI Next Generation Focuser $169 (manual) $279 (motorized)

September 15, 2003 06:26 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Digitec SCT Collimation Equipment

Posted By David Colton

Has anyone tried the Digitec (an Astromart vendor) SCT Collimation equipment? They make a eyepiece with calibrations and an artifical star as well as a laser collimator. I'd not read very positive reviews of laser collimation for SCT's so it would be interesting to hear from someone who has used either of these products. Thanks.

September 19, 2003 11:44 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

What's the big deal?

Posted By David Colton

I see where you can now buy a GPS unit for an older LX200 or LX90. Since it only takes about 30 seconds to punch in the date, time, and location, what benefit is there in spending the additional $169 for one of these?