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Posts Made By: Steve Lathrop

July 3, 2003 01:25 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Finding Dark Skies

Posted By Steve Lathrop

I can vouch for the Long Lake area. I have observed there several times. You get very dark skies plus about 2000 feet of elevation! The milky way is about as bright and detailed as you will ever see it, even out west.

One problem though is it's hard to find a good observing site where the whole sky is open, and it's hard to get away from the state campgrounds at the lakes, where the observing conditions tend to be humid, and your neighbors depend on the luck of the draw. On one visit I had a neighbor I nicknamed Mr. Megawatts, for the astonishing volume of light he was able to squeeze out of his portable illuminating rig.

If anybody knows of a Cherry Springs-like observing site in the Adirondacks, I would like to hear about it.


July 18, 2003 04:45 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Can O Worms

Posted By Steve Lathrop

I think the advice to get the 9.25 is probably right, with a few cautions:

(1) If your sky is so bright that even large-aperture views of galaxies aren't worth much, then the TV-102 may give you better views of many of the things you can see, except probably globulars. I say "may" because there is a subjective element in judging views that gets belabored heavily in these forums. I don't want to get into that, but you should be aware of it.

(2) If learning the sky is part of the picture, and if you want practice finding objects without using GOTO, then the TV-102 is a better way to start with that, because you can find things much more easily in its wider views.

(3) Wide views have their own virtues, and the TV-102 is a versatile scope with potential stretching from 3-degree true fields to 300x planetary power...but of course it's not the best for deep sky. For me, the hardest choice would be if you had a pristine dark sky. The wide-field views of the milky way you get through the TV-102 are so staggering I would be reluctant to give them up for anything but more APO aperture.

Hope this is helpful,


July 22, 2003 02:00 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

high altitude airplane observeing

Posted By Steve Lathrop

I get almost the same effect by living right near an airport. Better sound, though, and I don't even need a scope.


August 1, 2003 01:33 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Attempted Fraud - Asking for PayPal info

Posted By Steve Lathrop

If you use a Macintosh this stuff mostly doesn't happen. Probably not any technical reason. More likely you are just in such a small market segment you don't seem worth harrassing. But it's nice anyway.


August 22, 2003 04:45 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Orion ED80

Posted By Steve Lathrop

Your photo seems to show the scope without a dew shield. Does this go on and off readily, and if it does, what is the length of the OTA without the dew shield. Is it small enough for airline carry on?


August 25, 2003 11:25 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Is it possible to have.......

Posted By Steve Lathrop

Here's an equipment junkie crackpot theory: the most versatile scope is the one that makes constructive use of the largest range of EPs.

On that basis, maybe the new Televue NP 128 would rank right up there. If I had an NP 128 I'd want at least: 41 Panopic; 27 Panoptic; 17 Nagler T4; 11 Nagler T6; 9 Nagler T6; 7 Nagler T6; 5 Nagler T6; 3.5 Nagler T6; and 2.5 Nagler T6. With that setup you could do great wide-field Milky Way sweeps, spectacular open cluster observing, fairly serious planetary observing; and because of the great contrast and nicely graded mid-range EP assortment, you could reel in a fair amount of deep sky detail as well.

That's nine EPs, and you could obviously salt a few more in there (what, no Nagler 22??) without creating serious redundancy. Can anyone think of another scope which could make constructive use of so many EPs?

By the way, no disrespect for Pentax fans, or others. I just happen to be most familiar with Televues.


August 30, 2003 09:45 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Worlds worst atmosphere...

Posted By Steve Lathrop

The only time I ever saw anything that bad was when I spent a few months near Bonners Ferry, Idaho. Wherever you are, just count your blessings it's not anywhere near there.


August 31, 2003 12:31 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Takahashi's, why are they on sale?

Posted By Steve Lathrop

They are discounted so you can buy one without breaking the bank.

As a very happy TV-102 owner I can only ask, "What are you waiting for?" If TAKs had been this inexpensive when I made my decision a few years ago, I probably would have bought one instead of the Televue. Would I have been any happier with my scope? Not possible. But I probably would have been just as happy, and with less expense.

Pay attention to Corrieri. He's been trying to convince himself to get rid of his Takahashi, and he can't do it.


September 4, 2003 04:12 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Minimum magnification to see finest detail

Posted By Steve Lathrop

Allow me to complicate the question further. Does the size of the exit pupil make a difference? If two scopes have the same focal length, they give the same magnification. If one has twice the aperture, can you see more at identical magnification through that one?


September 15, 2003 05:32 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Time for Another Dumb Question.....

Posted By Steve Lathrop

The unity finder advice is right on.

A few of comments to add to its usefulness. Get a planetarium program (Starry Night, etc.) and look up the views you are going to experience before you go out. Pay close attention to scale and geometry. Use the measuring tool to figure out how far things are from each other, and note bright objects which are in simple geometric relationships with your target: i.e. M3 (globular cluster) is midway on a line connecting Arcturus and Cor Caroli.

Use the planetarium program to learn a list of all-purpose signposts: Polaris; the Big Dipper; the "W" in Cassiopiea; the Keystone in Hercules; the Teapot in Saggitarius; Scorpius; the Summer Triangle; Leo; Gemini; Orion; Taurus; Cor Caroli (an unusually useful star); Arcturus; Spica; Procyon; Capella. Add others to taste.

That is not a long list, and you learn an object or two at a time as the seasons change. You will be amazed at the neat things you can find with just that much knowledge of the sky, and a quick reference to your planetarium program to see how your target relates geometrically to something you know.

Hope this helps,