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Posts Made By: James Adams

September 14, 2002 05:34 PM Forum: Off Topic Discussions

Re: Telescope financing

Posted By James Adams

Michael wrotetonguereferences] [Search Forums]

Telescope financing
Posted by Michael on 9/9/2002 10:47:13 AM

I thought I'd introduce a serious topic for this forum for a change ;-)

I'd also like to suggest this is probably not a good discussion for newbies. I'd like to speak to folks who have looked through dozens, if not hundreds of scopes and have given serious thought as to what instrument will bring them to that next level of proficiency and enjoyment. From that observatory-challenging light-bucket, to the pristine APO, to the technical sophistication of a GOTO Cat, you know, given your lifestyle and your passion, what it is that will reward you for this next phase of your life.

But you are also intelligent, responsible folks. Plunking down $3K - $10K is no casual affair. You wouldn't deprive your loved ones of basic necessities. So how do you finance this passion and still keep a balance with the rest of your life?

Let me throw out one yardstick. My other hobby is woodworking, (I'm pretty sure many of you also have that one). I attended a open house at one of the top-of-the-line handtool suppliers some time back and the speaker suggested (as a justification for their prices) that tradesmen are willing to spend a month's wages on a quality tool that will enhance their work and last them a lifetime. We all know you get what you pay for, quality doesn't come cheap. But a month's worth is serious money.

Now I'll hazard a guess that no one on this list is a professional astronomer, so the comparison isn't perfect. But it's a starting point.

What "formula" do you all use? Personally, I'm going the savings route. After meeting all my monthly obligations I save whatever extra I can set aside. After one year of saving, what I have in savings is what I can afford. I'm in it about 6 months now and I'm on track for my goal, (but Christmas is right around the corner, ouch).

Anyway, I'd be curious to hear other strategies.

mike s
As a professional woodworker, camera nut, and amateur astronomer I'm well aware of the Gottahavits Syndrome, as well as the IfIonlyhadthatpieceofequipmentIcould...Syndrome.
Both are about keeping the focus off doing and on having/getting.
Personally, though, don't you think the expensive obsessions are the most satisfying to pursue? Don't we live to have some of the things we want? So you spent the mortgage payment on two eyepieces and a Barlow. So you lose the job because you were up 'til 5:30 AM startesting your latest acquisition and didn't make it in.[LOL]
Seriously, I've had to rein myself in so hard on tool/scope purchases I no longer buy anything unless I can absolutely justify it, which means that it either will clearly make me money NOW [woodworking tools] or it will advance my observing ability substantially.
And, John, there any more like her at home?

September 14, 2002 05:39 PM Forum: Off Topic Discussions

Re: Telescope financing

Posted By James Adams

Sorry, in that last post I didn't know how to quote the post to which I was referring; beg your pardon, I'm barely digital.

September 25, 2002 12:45 PM Forum: Binoviewers

BV equipment

Posted By James Adams

Hi, folks
I use the Orion [U.S.] BV, which they no longer offer, on my Meade 10" f 6.3 SCT. My eyepieces of choice are the Meade 26 mm Plossls.
The narrow lightpath doesn't seem to be a problem, as planets and the moon are quite bright with this combination.
When Shoemaker-Levy hit Jupiter I got some stunning views.
For Lunar viewing I put ND filters on the eyepieces, and the view is stunning.
For star parties this BV is problematical because a change in intraocular distance changes the focus.
I'm intrigued by the Denkmeiers, and hope someone local gets a pair I can look through.

October 6, 2002 04:31 AM Forum: Binoviewers

Binoview Collimation Needed?

Posted By James Adams

Tonight, with my binoviewer on my SCT I noticed that out of focus star images showed the central obstruction shadow severely off center, similar to secondary miscollimation problems in SCT's. I had just collimated my scope.
Could it be that the eyepiece I had in when I collimated the scope was itself miscollimated? Or, is it likely the BV is off? I notice very slight problems merging the images from the left eye and the right eye [YES, in the bino, and I wasn't drinking at the time ;].
I'll try some other combos of telescope/BV/eyepieces and see if the problem persists. If it does, who can fix it?
I talked to someone once who said he had collimated his BV with a laser directed into the distal end, but I'm not techie enough to feel confident messing with optical innards. Any thoughts?

October 9, 2002 06:38 AM Forum: Solar System Observing

Re: The giants!

Posted By James Adams

Got up yesterday morning at 5:00 A.M. and set up in my back yard. Seeing was excellent for Calif. central coast [it's dark here, but Mr. Marine Layer is always about].
Saturn was awesome in my 10" f 6.3 SCT, which is not maybe the best planetary scope, but I was seeing cloudbands in some detail with a pair of 16.8 mm. MegaVistas in the BV. The 10.5 mm's were a bit mushy.
Jupiter took my breath away! The air was still, except for a minor amount of thermal activity, with crystal moments. It was shirtsleeve weather, and looks to continue for a few days. I'm stoked! Guess I'll double my efforts to complete that folded refractor project!

October 20, 2002 10:42 PM Forum: Telescope Making

Re: Telescope Menagerie

Posted By James Adams

Nice scopes, good looking woodwork.
As a cabinet/furnituremaker I appreciate the skills apparent in your photos. I'm sure you get a lot of satisfaction from your work.
James Adams

January 3, 2003 08:13 AM Forum: Zeiss

Another Eyepiece Question

Posted By James Adams

I picked up a pair of Zeiss eyepieces on Astromart for binoviewing. On the side it says: 46 40 42-9903 Kpl 10x/18, and: Zeiss West Germany. They have 1.25" polished barrels.
Can anyone tell me what these are?

January 13, 2003 10:00 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Re: Public observing and expensive equipment

Posted By James Adams

OTOH, I was setting up my 10" Meade LX 6 at our Elementary school. I was talking to some fifth graders as I put the scope on the wedge when the scope broke loose and dropped. One of the kids caught it! Disaster averted, I discovered that the adapter plate [peculiar to certain LX 6's]attached to the scope with a flimsy plastic knob, which had broken, leaving the adapter firmly attached to the wedge. What a brilliant design! Three bolts holding a fifteen dollar plate, and a 1/4-20 plastic headed bolt holding the scope.
But for the quick reactions of a kid, I'd be scopeless, so they're not all horror stories.

March 4, 2003 01:25 PM Forum: Telescope Making

Pouring Lead Counterweights

Posted By James Adams

I want to make lead counterweights using cylindrical aluminum-bronze Acme nuts at the center. Can I pour melted lead into a form in which the Acme nut is centered and get the lead to bond to the bronze nut? How about pre-heating the bronze and/or using soldering flux?
I have two Acme nuts 3" long and was going to slice them into 1" long sections with a final weight diameter of 8" or 9".
The mount capacity is about 300#, the Acme counterweight shaft is 1.5"-5 thread.

March 22, 2003 09:06 PM Forum: Telescope Making

Re: About secondary mirrors

Posted By James Adams

I'm building a planetary Newtonian for the Mars opposition around an 8" f 10 full-thickness mirror. If I use a 9" or 10" tube with a 1.25" low profile focuser, what would be the optimum size for the diagonal mirror? I have a 3 curved vane spider and 1.25" M.A. 1/20th wave diagonal, but would it be advantageous to use a smaller one? This is going to be a dedicated planetary scope.